|County Dublin |
It's more than the city: the coast has a series of old harbours, fortifications and breezy headlands.
|County Kildare |
You're probably here for the races and the National Stud.
|County Laois |
For Emo Court, Rock of Dunamase, Timahoe Round Tower and Slieve Bloom mountains.
|County Longford |
Of all its prehistoric sites, the oddest is the track into Corlea bog.
|County Louth |
This has prehistoric and medieval ruins aplenty, and long sandy beaches.
|County Meath |
Here are Hill of Tara, Brú Na Bóinne, Kells Abbey and Loughcrew Cairns.
|County Offaly |
See Clonmacnoise and the highs and lows of Victorian astrophysics and Georgian aviation.
|County Westmeath |
For historic Athlone on the Shannon, and the dark story of Belvedere House near Mullingar.
|County Wicklow |
Its mountains enfold monastic Glendalough, and form the backdrop to great mansions at Powerscourt and Russborough.
Cities and townsEdit
- 1 Dublin is the lively unmissable capital of Ireland.
- 2 Bray on the Dublin / Wicklow boundary is a resort town with a scenic headland.
- 3 Malahide at the other end of County Dublin has a restored castle.
- 4 Trim has a well-preserved Norman castle and is near sites such as Hill of Tara.
- 5 Drogheda is a historic city and a good base for reaching Brú Na Bóinne.
- 6 Kildare has a cathedral with a fine Round Tower, and is near the Irish National Stud.
- 7 Portlaoise is a workaday place but it's near the bastion of Rock of Dunamase.
- 8 Tullamore is best known for its two whiskey distilleries.
- 9 Athlone on the Shannon has a sturdy castle and a pub dating from 900 AD.
Trains run to Dublin Connolly from Belfast, Sligo and Rosslare ferry port, and to Dublin Heuston from Galway, Limerick, Cork and Waterford.
Ferries sail to Dublin port from Liverpool, Holyhead and the Isle of Man. Dún Laoghaire is no longer a ferry port.
Motorways and bus routes radiate out from Dublin, so you can reach this region within 3 hours from almost anywhere in Ireland.
See Irish Rail for timetables, fares and online tickets. Because the railways radiate from Dublin across lowland terrain, they're a good travel mode between the towns along them.
Dublin Connolly has trains from Belfast stopping at Dundalk and Drogheda; from Sligo stopping at Longford, Mullingar and Maynooth; and from Rosslare stopping at Arklow, Wicklow Town and Bray. Connolly is also the hub of DART suburban services to the coastal towns of Malahide, Howth, Dún Laoghaire, Dalkey, Bray and Greystokes - inter-city trains ply the same track but mostly rush through these places.
Dublin Heuston has trains from Galway and Mayo stopping at Athlone, Clara, Tullamore, Portarlington and Kildare. From Limerick and Cork they stop at Portlaoise, and from Waterford they stop at Kildare. Commuter trains also serve Naas.
Connolly and Heuston stations are 5 km apart so journeys involving separate lines are less convenient. For instance between Wicklow Town and Kildare you'd have to travel into Dublin, take the cross-city tram then travel out again.
Cities and townsEdit
Urban bus networks operate in the following cities and towns:
- Dublin - An extensive urban bus network with over 100 routes operates across the city and its surrounding suburbs. All cross-city and city centre-bound routes are operated by Dublin Bus, while local routes in suburban areas are operated by Go-Ahead Ireland, although both operators share a common fare structure and ticketing system. Buses run every 10 to 15 minutes along all main routes, and less frequently on other routes. Two routes (15 and 41) operate a 24 hour service, while a number of late night routes also run at the weekends.
- Athlone - Bus Éireann operate two cross-town routes, A1 and A2, every 30 minutes, while Flagline operate route Ath1 around the southeast of the town, every 15 minutes.
- Balbriggan - Bus Éireann operate the town service route B1 every 20 minutes.
- Drogheda - Bus Éireann operate three town service routes. Routes D1 and D2 operate every 15 minutes between Drogheda, Bettystown and Laytown, while route 173 operates every hour around the northside and southside of the town.
- Dundalk - Bus Éireann operate town service route 174, every 30 minutes.
- Navan - Bus Éireann operate three town service routes, 110A, 110B and 110C.
Regional, commuter and ruralEdit
An extensive network of regional bus services operate across the region. However, the frequency of routes can vary significantly, from high frequency routes between nearby towns, to rural services running only once a week. The majority of services are public funded and operated by Bus Èireann, Go-Ahead Ireland and Local Link, although in some areas commercial services also play a large role in providing transport.
The main regional bus networks are:
- Bus Éireann operate an extensive network of regional bus services across Ireland. Commuter services are provided along routes into the main cities and towns, while in rural areas there are routes connecting many villages and small towns into their nearest large town or city. Most routes are shown on the Bus Éireann network map. Routes are numbered by region, with the 100's in the east, 200's in the south, 300's in the midwest and southeast, and 400's in the west and northwest.
- Go-Ahead Ireland operate commuter routes between towns in Kildare and Dublin City. These are numbered routes 120 to 130, and use the same fare structure and ticketing system as the Bus Éireann Dublin commuter services.
- Local Link is the brand name for all services funded under the rural transport programme. There are over 1,000 rural bus routes serving nearly all corners of the country. These range from regular scheduled routes running several times a day between nearby towns, to door to door routes running only one day per week. The regular scheduled routes operate like normal bus routes, with fixed routes and timetables, however the door to door routes can vary and may require advance booking, so it's best to inquire with your nearest Local Link office [dead link] the day beforehand.
Other standalone public funded routes include:
- JJ Kavanagh operate route 139 from Naas to Blanchardstown
- Go-Ahead Ireland operate route 197 from Swords to Ashbourne
- Bernard Kavanagh operate route 817 from Kilkenny to Dublin
- M&A Coaches operate route 828 from Cashel to Portlaoise
- Andrew Wharton operate route 975 from Cavan to Longford
The main intercity routes operating within the region are:
- Dublin - Newry - Belfast: Bus Éireann Expressway routes X1/X2a/X5 [dead link], Aircoach route 705X [dead link], Dublin Coach route 400
- Dublin - Omagh - Derry/Letterkenny: Bus Éireann Expressway route 32, Goldline Express routes X3/X4, John McGinley Coaches routes 932/933
- Dublin - Cavan - Donegal: Bus Éireann Expressway route 30
- Dublin - Longford - Sligo: Bus Éireann Expressway route 23
- Dublin - Longford - Ballina: Bus Éireann Expressway route 22
- Dublin - Athlone - Galway: Bus Éireann Expressway routes 20/X20, GoBus route 720 [dead link], Citylink routes 760/761/763
- Dublin - Limerick: Bus Éireann Expressway route X12, Dublin Coach route 300, JJ Kavanagh route 735, Eireagle route  [dead link]
- Dublin - Cork: Bus Éireann Expressway route X8, Aircoach route 704X [dead link], GoBus route 707 [dead link]
- Dublin - Kilkenny - Clonmel: JJ Kavanagh route 717
- Dublin - Carlow - Waterford: Bus Éireann Expressway route 4/X4, Dublin Coach route 600, JJ Kavanagh route 736
- Dublin - Wexford: Bus Éireann Expressway routes 2/X2, Wexford Bus route 740'
Travelling by car around the East Coast and Midlands of Ireland is not the arduous task that it used to be. The road infrastructure is the subject of continuous improvement as many of the main arteries connecting Dublin to the rest of Ireland are upgraded to motorway standard.
The road network in Ireland radiates outwards from Dublin City and the M50 ring road from the N1 to Belfast to the N11 to Wexford.
- N1 - Dublin to Belfast
- N2 - Dublin to Derry and Galway
- N3 - Dublin to Ballyshannon (serving Monaghan, Cavan Town and Enniskillen)
- N4 - Dublin to Sligo
- M7 / N7 - Dublin to Limerick (serving Portlaoise, Cashel, Mitchelstown) and M8 / N8 to Cork
- N11 - Dublin to Wexford
By rental carEdit
Car rental in the East Coast and Midlands area is mainly confined to Dublin Airport and Dublin City although some car rental companies have locations at Dun Laoghaire Port and Rosslare Europort. While all car rental companies in Ireland have rental desks in the arrivals hall of Dublin Airport, the list of car rental companies with inner city locations is far less. Some of the car rental companies will advertise city centre locations, but these locations are mostly only drop-offs for which an additional charge will added.
- Dublin city will take you some time to absorb. The best of it is south of the river, from Merrion Square and Trinity College to the Castle.
- Interesting small towns lie along the coast, easily reached by the DART metro service, such as Howth, Dun Laoghaire and Dalkey.
- Malahide has a fine castle-come-mansion.
- Just outside Kildare town are the Japanese Gardens and the Irish National Stud.
- Castletown is a great Palladian mansion at Celbridge that often hosts events.
- Slieve Bloom Mountains form the border with County Offaly.
- Abbeyleix has a bog that's notable even by Ireland's demanding standards, with a 3.5-km boardwalk.
- Rock of Dunamase is a rocky outcrop and castle east of Port Laoise.
- Emo Court is a 19th-century neo-classical mansion northeast of Port Laoise.
- Gash Gardens are in Castletown, while Heywood Gardens are in Ballinakill southeast of Abbeyleix.
- The Cooley Mountains and Old Mellifort Abbey
- Brú Na Bóinne Archaeological Park is one of Ireland's top sights.
- The site of the Battle of the Boyne is nearby.
- Hill of Tara was the ceremonial seat of the High Kings of Ireland.
- Celtic High Crosses in Kells - but the famous book is nowadays in Dublin.
- The Christian monastic site of Clonmacnoise has large Round Towers and beautifully decorated high crosses.
- Charleville Castle in Tullamore is gothic, set in an ancient oak forest.
- Durrow Abbey is an early monastic complex.
- Moneygall was the home of Barack Obama's great-great-great grandfather, Falmouth Kearney.
- Glendalough is a monastic town with ruins and a Round Tower.
- Powerscourt near Enniskerry has an impressive mansion, gardens and waterfall.
- Kilmacurragh is a botanical garden and arboretum 5 km west of Wicklow town.
- The Wicklow Mountains rise to 925 m, with bog, conifer and gorse, and lots of scenic walking trails.
- Go to the races at The Curragh in Kildare (which hosts the five Irish Classic Horse Races), Punchestown near Naas which is a steeplechase course, or Fairyhouse in Meath.
- Play golf: courses include the K Club (which hosted the 2006 Ryder Cup), Carton House, Castlewarden, and Tullamore.
- Lough Boora Parklands are the closest boglands to Dublin, with firm footpaths and a sculpture park.
- The Grand Canal, and the Royal Canal to the north, stretch from Dublin all the way west to the Shannon. They're navigable and have good towpaths.
- Mountains to climb, none difficult, include Lugnaquilla (3,018 ft (920 m)), Mullaghcleevaun (2785 ft), Tonelagee (2681 ft), Djouce (2379 ft) and Arderin (1,729 ft (527 m)).
- Long distance trails could take 2-3 days, or be broken up into easy hikes, such as the Wicklow Way, Offaly Way and Westmeath Way.
- Dublin has got the lot.
- Wicklow: Good spots are Roundwood Inn in Roundwood, Strawberry Tree in Aughrim, Happy Pear in Greystones and Ashford Oriental.
- Kildare: Naas and Kildare town have the most choice.
- Offaly: There's a good selection in Tullamore and Edenderry.
- Dublin around Temple Bar is tourist-trappy, with raucous hen parties upchucking onto the cobbles. Go a little way west or south for pubs of real character.
- Offaly will satisfy thirsts in Tullamore, Birr and Edenderry.
- All the transport routes radiate out from Dublin, so a few hours on the road will bring you anywhere across Ireland.
- This region stretches to the border at Dundalk, so next stop north is Northern Ireland. Belfast is the big draw, but don't overlook Armagh or scenic Antrim.
- South is Southeast Ireland with attractive Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny.
- West cross the bogs and low-lying fields into Shannon Region and West Ireland, with prehistoric sites, the cities of Limerick and Galway, and the Atlantic crashing against the Cliffs of Moher.