Getting around Dublin
Like most European cities, Dublin is best experienced and best navigated by walking. O’Connell House is located just ten minutes from historic Trinity College, a popular and convenient landmark in the centre of the city. From there it is five minutes in either direction to Grafton Street and O’Connell Street, the main shopping thoroughfares on the south and north side of the city respectively.
The Dublin Bus service operates from six am to midnight seven days a week and serves the entire city. The 39a stops two minutes from O’Connell House and goes directly to UCD where the majority of our students reside. UCD on a number of other frequent bus routes which stop on Nassau Street beside Trinity College. The (free!) Dublin Bus app provides clear bus routes and timetables, with accurate real time schedules and helpful route planners. hittheroad.ie is an extremely useful website that shows the user to get from A to B anywhere in Dublin using a combination of bus, DART, luas and Irish rail services, and tends to be more accurate than Google Maps which can often neglect the complicated side streets and one way systems that make up Dublin’s transport network.
The best way to use the bus is to purchase a Leap card. These can be bought from any convenience store in Dublin. The card is electonically loaded with a credit value of your choice (eg., €20). When boarding a bus, state your destination to the driver who will scan the card and take off the appropriate fare. Using a Leap card provides you with an automatically cheaper fare than paying with cash (be warned: Dublin buses require exact change if you do not have a Leap Card!) A €20 Leap card gives the user enough credit for about ten journeys, so is plenty for anyone visiting for just a short while. For those here as part of a longer stay (such as our students), a thirty day ‘Rambler’ is the best option, as it allows unlimited travel on Dublin Bus for thirty non-consecutive days. Cards can be topped up as needed in any convenience store.
The DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) is an electric rail system that runs along the coast of Dublin. It provides quick and easy access to the many picturesque fishing villages dotted along the coastline, and in half an hour one can be out of the city and on a sandy beach or on a beautiful hike. Howth and Killiney (southbound) and Bray and Greystones (northbound) are lovely destinations for daytrips, for walks and climbs as well as fresh fish and icecream! The DART runs every fifteen minutes from Pearse Station which is a ten minute walk from O’Connell House.
The Luas is the light rail system in Dublin. Although mostly servicing residential areas, it provides convenient access to the Lighthouse Cinema, which specialises in arthouse and retro film screenings, Collins Barracks, the decorative arts and military history museum. The Abbey Street stop on the red line (servicing these destinations) is a twelve minute walk from O’Connell House.
Taxis can be hailed off the street, but it is advisable to get one either from a designated taxi rank (a signposted area where registered cars line up). There is a taxi rank located two minutes from O’Connell House at the Merrion Hotel. Far more convenient is the Hailo app, compatible with Apple and Android. This free app automatically connects the user with the nearest available cab, which means that in the city centre the wait is never longer than three minutes, and farther out (such as at UCD) the wait will not exceed ten minutes. The app sends the user the driver’s details, including the car registration and the driver’s name and number, and shows a map of the route being taken, all of which are reassuring safety features. All drivers are vetted and registered by the company, and user reviews allow Hailo to ensure a top quality service. There is also an option to pay by card which adds to the convenience.