The Most Convenient and Cheapest Way to Travel around Dublin
Tourists and visitors to Dublin can now avail of the Leap Card travel pass program from Dublin Airport. This prepaid pass covers three days, and is ideal if you plan to spend a few days in the city. You’ll get to travel around the city like a local as you swipe the card at the readers on buses and at train platforms.
You’ll also save money, as Leap Card travel is cheaper than paying cash fares.
There is another alternative for transport from Dublin Airport however, if you stay at Paddy’s Palace in central Dublin, we’ll include free airport transfers if you take any of our tours and the bus operates nine daily round trip journeys.
How it Works
When you arrive in Dublin Airport, pick up your three day Leap pass for €19.50 (around $26.50). At present, the airport is the only place to buy the card, but there are plans to make it available for sale online and have it delivered to your home address prior to your vacation. Once you have the card, follow the signs for the bus transportation area which is located outdoors, but there will be a roof above you the whole way.
There are two options for reaching the city centre from Dublin Airport using your Leap, the AirLink 747 and the route 16 bus. The 747 is more expensive but faster, as it takes you through the Port Tunnel which avoids most of Dublin’s sometimes severe traffic. If you have more time on your hands and would prefer the cheaper option, board the 16. This bus navigates an indirect route to the city centre, and may get caught in traffic, especially during rush hour.
No train services are available from Dublin Airport to the city centre. There’ll usually be an attendant in the bus transportation area to address any questions you might have, and advise you on your travel options. You can also ask the driver when you board for information on the best stop to get off for your destination.
When you board any Dublin Bus service, look for the Leap Card scanner to your right as you get on. Simply hold the pass up to the scanner for a second or two and you’ll be good to go. If you use your Leap on the Luas tram network of DART rail service you’ll need to tag-on at the platform and tag-off once you reach your destination. It’s important to remember to tag-off, otherwise you’ll be charged for a full length journey, even if you’re only going a few stops.
There’s no need to tag-off on the buses, but if your journey is short you can tell the driver where you’re going and place it on the scanner beside their cabin for a more accurate fare reading (the scanner to the right as you board will charge you full price).
Where You Can Use Your Leap
The Luas system consists of two routes, Red and Green, which are currently not connected (it’s a 15 minute walk or so between the two lines) and while a link-up is being constructed at the moment, it’s still a few years off. The Red line is useful for visiting different parts of the city centre and the Guinness Storehouse, while the Green line is mostly a suburban commuter service but it is handy if you want to shop in Dundrum Town Centre.
You can use your Leap on the DART, which hugs the coast for much of its journey and is useful for visiting the Aviva Stadium and coastal towns including Howth and Bray. Dublin Bus offers a comprehensive network across the city.
The Leap Card can only be used in Dublin, and is not currently usable on Irish Rail or Bus Eireann services.
Seeing More of the Irish Capital
The Leap Card is useful not only for exploring Dublin city centre but the greater Dublin region as well. You can use it to visit the likes of the Botanical Gardens and adjacent Glasnevin Cemetery, the Casino in Marino (one of the finest neo-classical buildings in Europe and not, in fact, somewhere you can gamble), Clontarf’s Bram Stoker Dracula Experience, Kilmainham Gaol (where the leaders of the 1916 Rising where held before their execution and a filming location for the original Italian Job movie), and Phoenix Park (Europe’s biggest walled park and one of the biggest parks in a city in the world. The Park is home to Dublin Zoo, and the Irish President’s House, which can be toured on Saturdays for free).
It’s also useful for visiting the Guinness Storehouse (get the Luas to James’s or 123 bus) and the harbour town of Howth on the DART. For a particularly exhilarating journey, take the DART southwards towards Bray and watch as the train passes just inches from the cliff edge as it follows the route of the world’s oldest purpose built commuter rail line, which was constructed by the great British engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Paddy’s Palace hostel is located in the middle of Dublin, just around the corner from Connelly train station where you can get the DART and next to the Busaras Luas stop. Many Dublin Bus services have nearby stops, and we offer free airport transfers to those who stay with us.