- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Dublin Guide (PDF)
Dublin City is split in two by the River Liffey and bordered on the east by the Irish Sea. An old city founded centuries ago, Dublin has expanded gradually and comprises many narrow alleys as well as broad streets.
In recent years, Dublin's transport infrastructure has improved markedly, and getting around in the city has never been easier. Indeed, it is no longer necessary to own a car here, although having one can be useful for families or those looking to explore the city and surrounds.
Public transport in Dublin
Dublin’s transport network includes buses, light rail (Luas) and surface rail (DART). It is cheaper and faster to take public transport than to drive or take a taxi in rush hour. Like most public transport, there are crowds at peak times, but services are clean, frequent and punctual.
It is possible to purchase tickets online, via an app, from the driver or from station terminals for trains, buses and trams. Tickets are generally available with single-, return- and multi-journey options. Different routes start and end at different times, so expats should research routes carefully.
The Leap Card is Dublin’s integrated ticketing system. Although there is no problem buying tickets on the bus or at the station, this is the best option for expats who commute frequently and are looking to save money.
Cards can be bought and topped up at stations, newsagents or online. Leap Cards can be used on Dublin buses, the Luas, Commuter Rail and the DART.
The Dublin Bus Service provides the iconic yellow and blue double-deckers that can be seen all over County Dublin. Most of these are wheelchair accessible. Tickets can be bought from the driver. Designated lanes for buses mean that commuters often beat the traffic.
The DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) is a surface rail service with trains arriving every 15 minutes.
Commuter rail provides a few services out of Dublin, which is handy for day trips and for those who live outside of County Dublin but work in the city.
Dublin also has a light rail service, the Luas, servicing the inner city as well as the south and southwestern suburbs. Luas services are frequent and reliable, with as little as four minutes between each tram.
Taxis in Dublin
Taxis are widely available in the city centre, especially outside large hotels and in designated and undesignated spots along the main city streets. Taxis look like private cars with a yellow light on top, which indicates whether or not they are in service.
Ireland has restrictive laws for ride-sharing services, and unlike many other countries, all drivers for services such as Uber must be licensed taxi drivers.
Driving in Dublin
Driving in Dublin can be a challenge for newcomers, although the implementation of a one-way system, which at first glance seems confusing, has greatly helped the flow of traffic.
Parking in the city centre is expensive and limited, so it is probably easier to catch public transport, cycle or walk, depending on where a person lives. Along with the one-way system, much has been done to discourage the use of private vehicles in Dublin, including tolls, which can become an annoyance if regularly passing through a tolled area.
Expats can drive on a valid foreign driver's licence for up to 12 months in Ireland. After 12 months they must apply for an Irish driver’s licence. Ireland has an agreement with several countries, including EU nations, for licence conversion without testing. Other countries can convert their licences after completing testing.
Cycling in Dublin
Cycling is becoming more popular in Ireland. With the development of dedicated cycle lanes, it is also becoming safer to ride a bicycle.
Cyclists should always wear a helmet, and preferably light clothing and bike lights. Although it is illegal to ride without a helmet, many people ignore this law. Bicycles are required to abide by the rules of the road like any other vehicle. Confident cyclists will have no trouble cycling into town from the suburbs.
Dublinbikes is a growing service with distinctive blue bicycles that can be hired and ridden between specified bicycled parks. There are over 110 stations across Dublin which accept Dublin Bikes Long Term Cards and offer three-day tickets. In addition to the subscription, there is a small fee for rides longer than half an hour.
Walking in Dublin
The city's compact size makes Dublin ideal for walking. In fact, many locals and expats regularly travel to work and do errands on foot. Exploring the city on foot also reveals many hidden treasures that may not be noticed when travelling in a vehicle or by public transport.
►For more on getting around the country, see Transport and Driving in Ireland
Are you an expat living in Dublin?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Dublin. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
If you’re thinking about taking out private health insurance, our trusted partner Cigna Global is very aware of all the difficulties that expats can face when it comes to healthcare in a new location, so they have created a range of international health insurance plans specifically designed for expats, which you can tailor exactly to the needs and ensure access to quality care for you and your family.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.