Getting to Ireland has never been easier. Flights from the United States are available from major hubs, while the budget-flight market in the United Kingdom and Europe is saturated with good deals. For those who like to travel traditionally, ferries depart Britain for both Northern Ireland and the Republic.
Flying into Ireland
Most flights coming into Ireland arrive at the Dublin International Airport (01 814 1111, www.dublin-airport.com). The two other major airports are Cork Airport (021 431 3131, www.corkairport.com) and Shannon Airport (061 712 000, www.shannonairport.com).
From the United States, Aer Lingus (via American Airlines) (1 800 474 7424 U.S., 0818 365 000 in Ireland, www.aerlingus.ie) has numerous flights, including departures from Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Boston. Delta Airlines (1 800 241 4141 U.S., www.delta.com) and Continental Airlines (1 800 231 0856 U.S., www.continental.com) both fly into Ireland. Flying into Shannon Airport is a less stressful option if you do not want to explore Dublin.
You can also fly into Dublin from London on British Airways (www.ba.com), Aer Lingus (see above), Air France (www.airfrance.com), and the budget carrier Ryanair (www.ryanair.com).
Other budget carriers include Easy Jet (www.easyjet.com) during peak months and bmi baby (www.bmibaby.com), which have routes that include Cork, Dublin, along with Belfast International and Belfast City airports.
During the summer, expect the highest rates for roundtrip flights to Ireland. The high travel season is July to September. Also, expect to pay higher prices during the Christmas season. This coupled with the fact that numerous monuments, sights, and accommodations are closed on both sides of Christmas and the New Year's holiday means it may not be an ideal time to take your dream trip. So, be sure to check ahead.
In Northern Ireland, flights arrive at and depart from the Belfast International Airport (+44 (0) 28 9448 4848, www.belfastairport.com) and the much closer Belfast City Airport (+44 (0) 28 9093 9093, www.belfastcityairport.com). British Airways (1 800 403 0882 U.S.) flies from London Heathrow to Belfast as does British Midlands (+44 (0) 870 607 0555, www.flybmi.com). Flights also arrive from Liverpool, Stansted, Bristol, and Glasgow. You can even fly into Derry from Stansted, Manchester, and Glasgow.
Ferries arrive from Britain at the Dublin Ferry Port (01 855 2222) and at the Dún Laoghaire Ferry Port (01 842 8864). Irish Ferries (0818 300 400, www.irishferries.ie) travel from both Holyhead (Wales) and Pembroke (Wales) to Dublin and Rosslare (County Wexford) respectively. They also travel between Rosslare and Cherbourg (France).
Stena Line (01 204 7777, www.stenaline.ie) travels from Holyhead in Wales to Dún Laoghaire in Dublin. They also travel from Stranraer (Scotland) to Belfast (Northern Ireland). Additionally, they sail the popular Fishguard (Wales) to Rosslare route.
Brittany Ferries (021 427 7801, www.brittany-ferries.com) has a variety of departures. They sail from Roscoff (France) to the Ringaskiddy Ferryport in Cork. They also operate from Dublin to Holyhead along with scheduled times to Rosslare from Fishguard and Pembroke. They, along with Norse Merchant Ferries (0870 600 4321, www.norsemerchant.com), sail to Belfast as well. Norse Merchant Ferries has services to Liverpool (England), as does P&O Irish Sea Ferries (01 638 333, www.poirishsea.com), who also sail to Cairnryan (Scotland), Larne (County Antrim), Cherbourg, and Rosslare.
All the ports in Ireland have buses, taxis, or trains to various destinations, including city centers. In Dublin, Bus éireann is available at the main port, while the Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) is next to the Dún Laoghaire port.
Train and Bus
Combined train/bus and sea tickets from Britain to Ireland are available at most train stations in Britain or at any National Express (+44 (0) 870 580 8080, www.gobycoach.com) office. Eurolines (+44 (0) 870 514 3219, www.eurolines.ie) and Ulsterbus (+44 (0) 28 9066 6630, www.translink.co.uk) are the most well known companies offering hundreds of destination choices.