How to get to Dingle, Ireland
January 29, 2012 5:19 AM   Subscribe

Best way to get to Dingle, Ireland from Canada?

I'm currently searching flight/transportation details on how to get to Dingle, Ireland. I will be leaving from Toronto. I've yet to find the best way to get there. Should I fly to Dublin and then take a bus or train?

What makes it best is: ease of travel (the less I have to lug suitcases around, the better), cost, time of travel.
posted by Milau to Travel & Transportation around Dingle, Ireland (15 answers total)
From personal experience: If I was you I'd fly to Dublin and then take the train to Tralee -- from there you can get a bus to Dingle. There's no train service into Dingle. The buses are somewhat seasonal though, so you'd need to check a bus schedule to make sure you don't arrive in Tralee earlier than necessary.
posted by blue_bicycle at 5:38 AM on January 29, 2012

I'm assuming you're planning to stay in Dingle, otherwise you'd have a car rented or something. Because this would be my first suggestion - if you have aeroplan points, look seriously at the possibility of renting a car. That is by far and away the easiest way to get to Dingle, and might not cost a lot at all if you can use some reward points to defray the cost of the vehicle.

If that's not possible, here's what I'd do. Fly into Shannon airport, and grab the shuttle into Limerick. From the Limerick bus station, catch a bus (Bus Eireann) to Dingle. That run is about 4 hours long, but this is the shortest commute with the fewest transfers that I can think of.

Good luck, agus bain sult as!
posted by LN at 5:40 AM on January 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding the plan of flying to Shannon and renting a car, although be prepared for the adventure of driving in Ireland. If you can stomach the narrow highways on the way there, once you get to Dingle, you can then drive the Slea Head Road along the cliffs and really test your mettle.
posted by briank at 5:59 AM on January 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Like the posters above, I recommend renting a car and driving from Shannon. You can see the somewhat related question I had back in the day.

-As long as you are driving, it should be less stressful to fly into Shannon because you won't encounter the Dublin area traffic. It's also closer to Dingle.

-If you don't have a car, the amount of exploration you will be able to do around Dingle will be limited, and while Dingle is a neat town it's quite small.

-I didn't find driving in Ireland to be bad at all. (By contrast, driving in Portugal ALMOST KILLED ME). The roads you'll be driving on are narrow, but generally in good condition, and the signage is better than what people say. The one road that was a little white knuckle was the one over the Conor Pass but it was still worth it.
posted by selfnoise at 6:34 AM on January 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

The closest airport is Kerry Airport - accessible on Aer Arann/Aer Lingus Regional from Dublin and on Ryanair from Hahn-Frankfurt, London-Luton, and London-Stansted.

I can't find a way to book a Toronto-Kerry flight on one ticket online at all, or to Shannon for less than $1000CAD for random dates in late February; when are you wanting to fly?

You might have to do a two-ticket thing, where your Canada-British Isles tickets are one transaction, and your British Isles-Dingle tickets are totally separate. Doing this means, obviously, if you miss your first connection the other connection owes you nothing if you miss it, so schedule enough downtime between flights carefully.

The Aer Arran connection from Dublin to Kerry and back, with taxes/fees, is about €70 for a round-trip ticket on a few random days in February I looked at. Hahn, Stansted and Luton are also an absolute hassle to get to from wherever you would land from Toronto and the other delights of the Ryanair experience (hefty baggage fees, often-terrible flight timings) would be miserable after a red-eye.

Shannon is far better connected to the UK than Kerry. Look at whether you can get to Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, or Edinburgh from Toronto and then think about flying there instead of Kerry.

I would do this:

- book Canada-UK/Ireland tickets, choosing to land at an airport with flights to Shannon/Kerry that day
- book UK/Ireland-West of Ireland tickets
- book transport to Dingle (car, bus, etc)

On departure day:

- fly to the UK/Ireland from Toronto
- land in the UK/Ireland, go through arrivals
- head to the departures area of the same airport - UK/Ireland flights are treated as one "domestic" space for the purposes of flights so you won't go through immigration again
- check in for your flight to Shannon/Kerry
- fly to Shannon/Kerry
- rent a car on arrival and drive to Dingle (it's about an hour or so from Kerry and two/three hours from Shannon)

On the return, do this in reverse, BUT allow yourself enough time (maybe get to the place you're departing from the day before?) to check in for your transatlantic journey back even if your incoming flight to your Canada-bound flight is late.
posted by mdonley at 7:13 AM on January 29, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks everyone - you've been incredibly helpful. I talked to my travel partner and we've decided to rent a car. We don't know if we'll rent it from Dublin and take advantage of touring Ireland or from Shannon or Kerry airport. We'll fly to Dublin with one airline and then switch to national airlines. We plan on staying in Dublin a few days anyway, so we can definitely make sure we don't miss any flights.

Go raibh maith agaibh (Or so says Google translate thank you plural).
posted by Milau at 8:23 AM on January 29, 2012

I recently bought a ticket from Ottawa to Dublin via Philadelphia and I plan on renting a car once landing. Yeah, I suppose that you could fly to Shannon or Kerry, but that would mean more of a layover in Dublin or flying further to Heathrow and would just add a lot more time to your trip. Likely easier to just get to Ireland and get in a car.
posted by fso at 9:03 AM on January 29, 2012

Ireland is so small I can't imagine it being worth while to take an internal flight if you're planning to fly into Dublin anyway. Expensive, time consuming, annoying.

I haven't taken the train to Tralee but the one to Cork is very nice, plenty of room for luggage etc and comfortable seats. The main station in Dublin is called Dublin Heuston. Tickets from Irish Rail go on sale exactly 28 days before departure and are much cheaper the further out you book them (so it's worth logging on the day they go on sale if possible). I'm seeing ones near the end of Feb for 10 euros.

Then you can either take a bus from Tralee, book a car from Tralee, or just book the car from Dublin in the first place. Car hire is very reasonable compared to what I'm used to, and I generally get the best deals from this place (check for hidden 'airport charges' when booking directly from the car hire companies).
posted by shelleycat at 9:10 AM on January 29, 2012

I'd fly directly into Cork. It's cheaper than Dublin anyway, and it's the closest major airport. Failing that fly into Shannon and follow LNs advice or rent a car.

If you fly into Dublin you can take the shuttle bus into town (8 euros) and then the bus to Cork. It is both faster and cheaper than the train ime.

Dublin to Cork is many hours drive. It can easily take 6. So yeah it would be well worth taking a 30 minute flight to avoid that.
posted by fshgrl at 12:03 PM on January 29, 2012

Last time I drove between (central) Dublin and Cork it took just over 2.5 hours. The train takes three hours, my friends took a bus recently and it took over four (because it didn't stick to the motorway) and cost more than I've ever paid for on the train. And there are no flights between Dublin and Cork right now. But Dingle isn't in Co. Cork anyway so I'm not sure it's relevant?
posted by shelleycat at 12:54 PM on January 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've traveled to Ireland 4 times, two times into Dublin, out of Shannon, the last two in/out of Shannon.
Dublin is worth visiting, but do *not* drive while in Dublin, if you value your safety/well-being!
Flying across Ireland just to get to the west is a waste of money, IMO. Instead, when you're ready to go west, catch the Air Coach (7 euro) to the Dublin airport, and pick up your (already reserved) rental car there. Then you can figure out how much sightseeing you want to do on your way to Dingle. Be advised to not try to drive more than 150-200 miles in a day - much less if possible. Roads are narrow and slow for a number of reasons (unless you're on the "M" roads - and who goes to Ireland to drive on freeways?) - tractors and sheep among them. So slow down and enjoy the countryside/towns along the way.
If you want to get west as fast as possible, take the main M road to Galway - you'll be there in about 2 (boring) hours, and then you can go south to Dingle.
Fodor's and Frommers websites both have travel talk sections that can provide very detailed advise.
The only other thing I'd recommend is buying an Ordinance Survey Official Road Atlas Ireland map book (available at most bookstores, and the best 9.99 euro you'll spend) before you set out - far more accurate than a GPS!
Have a great time, and me-mail me if you want more info.
posted by dbmcd at 1:23 PM on January 29, 2012

Dingle isn't in Co. Cork anyway

It's almost always cheaper to fly into Cork from N America than Dublin, in my experience. I usually fly into Knock or Cork for that reason, sometimes Shannon. I only fly into Dublin if it's my final destination.

And I meant the drive from Dublin to Dingle, not Cork sorry. Dublin to Dingle is a long drive for people who are not used to driving on the left or following Irish road signs. It's going to take all day long.
posted by fshgrl at 4:35 PM on January 29, 2012

Irish person here living in Dublin. If it was me, and I was planning on staying in Dublin for a couple of days anyway, I would fly direct to Dublin, then get the train to Tralee (relax, watch the fields roll by), then hire a car in Tralee to get to Dingle. It's a 45 minute drive. Some other points that I agree / disagree with here:

1] You will need a car around Dingle anyway. As someone says above, while it is charming/fun, it is really pretty damn small and you will want to see other sights, Slea Head etc, for which you'll need a car.

2] Ireland is indeed small, and I would not consider a getting an internal flight unless i was heading to the arse end of donegal and i was in a huge rush. The delays at each end of the flight just make it a painful, tedious process; just hop in a train or car and get going.

3] Driving from Dublin to Cork should never take 6 hours. The drive is usually between 2.5 and 3 hours.

4] If i wanted to get to Kerry by car, I would never in a million years consider driving to Galway then driving South. Please don't do that. It's 3.5 hours driving direct to Tralee, and 5.75 hours going via Galway.
posted by kev23f at 10:12 AM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Consider renting an automatic unless you feel confident about driving a manual with your "wrong" hand.

Also, your sense of scale is totally wrong for Ireland. :7) You can pracically throw a rock across it, compared to Canada, so don't sweat the time required to drive. Also, it's gorgeous country and you will want to just stop a lot.

Have fun!
posted by wenestvedt at 7:05 AM on January 31, 2012

fshgrl: It's almost always cheaper to fly into Cork from N America than Dublin, in my experience.
Since there has at no point been any scheduled flight between North America and Cork Airport, she's either remembering wrong, or was on a Learjet and 'cheaper' is relative.
posted by genghis at 3:52 PM on February 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

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