Iarnród Éireann (or Irish Rail), a subsidiary company of a State-owned company, Coras Iompair Éireann (CIÉ), is responsible for operating rail services. Iarnród Éireann falls under the remit of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. The company operates passenger rail services nationwide and provides commuter rail services, including the DART service in Dublin.
Many stations have park and ride facilities to encourage commuters to leave their cars in station car parks and reduce the volume of traffic.
Free travel on State rail services is available to everyone permanently living in Ireland that is aged 66 and over. Certain people under that age are also entitled. Read further information about Free Travel here.
Smoking is illegal on all public transport in Ireland. Read more about the Smoking Ban in Ireland here.
The DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transport) runs along the east coast of Ireland from Malahide in county Dublin to Greystones in county Wicklow. Details of the facilities available in all DART stations and DART timetables are available on the Iarnród Éireann website. DART fares can be paid in cash or passengers can buy pre-paid tickets to avail of discounts on their journeys. You can also use Leap Cards.
Commuter services operate in the Dublin area between Dundalk, Dunboyne, Longford, Portlaoise and Gorey. There are also commuter services in the Cork area between Mallow, Cobh and Midleton. Commuter rail network maps, commuter rail fare information and commuter timetables for all services are available on the Iarnród Éireann website. You can use Leap Cards on commuter services.
Iarnród Éireann's InterCity services provide rail links between main towns and cities. InterCity services depart from Dublin's Heuston and Connolly Stations and serve the following destinations: Belfast, Sligo, Ballina, Westport, Galway, Limerick, Ennis, Tralee, Cork, Waterford and Rosslare Europort. The Enterprise service operates between Belfast and Dublin and is jointly run by Iarnród Éireann and Northern Ireland Rail.
Other InterCity services run between Rosslare Europort and Limerick; Cork and Tralee; Cork and Limerick; and Limerick and Galway. The InterCity service has carriages divided between first class and standard class.
You can find information about tickets for UK rail services and for European rail services on Iarnród Éireann's web site. Registered blind passengers travelling by rail or sea to Europe are entitled to buy one full fare ticket and receive another one free of charge. You must produce your Companion Free Travel Pass when booking to avail of discount. Details are available directly from Iarnród Éireann (see where to apply), below.
Services for passengers with disabilities
Special arrangements can be made for passengers with disabilities but it is recommended that you contact the relevant station or Iarnród Éireann's Mobility Impaired Liaison Office at least 24 hours before your journey and give them some details of your travel plans. These details should include:
- When your train is scheduled to depart from
- Where you are going and if you need to change trains on your journey
- The nature of your disability
- Whether you will be travelling alone or with a companion
- Whether you need help arriving or departing from the station.
If there is a change or cancellation of your journey you should notify the relevant Iarnród Éireann staff.
Some stations can arrange for a car-parking space for wheelchair users and all stations have disabled access to at least one platform. Portable ramps are available at most stations for wheelchair users travelling on intercity and commuter trains to enable them to board from the platform to the carriage. If a group of people using wheelchairs are travelling together, Iarnród Éireann will need to be notified in advance so that the necessary accommodation can be provided.
DART trains can be accessed directly from platforms and the trains have wide doors and a large area to accommodate wheelchairs.
Most mainline and suburban and all DART stations have public address systems giving details of trains and services for people with visually impairments. Tactile tiles have been put in place in some stations to help people with visually impairments and Braille-coded buttons and a talking lift mechanism are features of newer station lifts. You can check the facilities for disabled passengers available at any station in the Iarnród Éireann network by checking its web site. You can also find a guide for rail passengers with disabilities on its website.
Guide and assistance dogs are permitted to travel on all services without restriction. Pets are allowed to travel on DART or commuter trains provided they are properly restrained. Dogs can only travel on intercity trains in the guard's van (non-passenger compartment).
Luggage should be placed in the specially provided luggage racks, overhead racks or in-between seat spaces. You must also make sure your luggage is not causing inconvenience for other passengers. Information on carrying bicycles on trains is available on the Iarnród Éireann website.
If you have complaints about Iarnród Éireann services, you should bring them to the attention of the relevant station manager. If you want to take your complaint further, you can contact Customer Relations, Connolly Station, Dublin 1. It is recommended that you write a letter of complaint, including as much detail as possible (date and time of travel, where you were travelling from and to and a phone number). You should also send your ticket, if you still have it. You may get an immediate response to your complaint but if not, you will get an acknowledgement within 3 days and you should have a full response within 15 days. You may also make complaints or raise customer services issues online.
Compensation and refunds
If your service is seriously delayed for any reason within the control of Iarnród Éireann, you could be entitled to a discount voucher. The value of discount voucher is based on the length of delay and the fare you have paid for your single journey (that is, approximately half the value of a return fare).
Refunds in discount vouchers are also given if your seat reservation is not honoured and no seat of the same standard is available to you.
If the train you planned to catch is delayed or cancelled and you decide not to travel, you will be given a full cash refund if you return your unused ticket immediately to the ticket office where you bought it.
If you decide for some other reason not to use a rail ticket you have bought, you can apply for a refund at any main InterCity station, the Dart office in Pearse Station or any Travel Centre. There may be an administration fee. If you did not buy your ticket from Iarnród Éireann, you should return it to the place where you bought it. The ticket issuer will arrange any refund due and may make a reasonable administration charge.
Each train station has a lost property office where items found on trains will be handed in and kept for collection. For more details, you should contact the relevant station directly.
Obstructions on railway lines and bridges
Section 14 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 makes it an offence to endanger rail traffic. This includes throwing any dangerous obstruction on a railway, tampering with any railway machinery, etc. The Act also prohibits tampering with any signalling equipment, or devices used to control railway traffic.
If these offences are tried in a Circuit or Central Criminal Court, the maximum penalty is a fine or 7 years imprisonment or both.
Tickets vary depending on the service you use and you can get full details of leisure fares , commuter travel fares and UK and European rail fares from the Iarnród Éireann web site. Prepaid tickets can be bought from ticket offices, ticket machines and online. Discounted fares are available with the correct identification card.
Leap Cards can be used on DART and commuter services.
The Student Leap Card allows students to get substantially discounted fares on Iarnród Eireann services. It is only available to full-time students in second and third level education.
Those claiming free travel must be able to produce a valid Department of Social Protection Travel Pass.
How to apply
You can find passenger timetables on the Iarnród Éireann website.