What Is the Best City in Ireland to Visit Without a Car?

Driving in Ireland's cities ... it isn't such a pretty sight from the driver's seat, I'm tellin' ya!
••• Driving in Ireland's cities ... it isn't such a pretty sight from the driver's seat, I'm tellin' ya!. © Bernd Biege 2015

What is the best city in Ireland to visit without renting a car? This question recently came in from a reader, and here I'll try to answer it ...

What are the Best Irish Cities to Visit Without a Car

Any of them, really - first and foremost Dublin (I have detailed my love-hate-relationship to driving in or even into Dublin in another article), but any of the twenty largest cities and towns in Ireland do not really need you to bring your own wheels.

Either to get to them, or to get around in them. And I'll tell you the reasons below (leaving out those places that are not really tourist magnets, which leaves us with a list of ten):

  • Dublin

    Getting here: You can reach Dublin by plane (plus a bus ride), by ferry (plus a bus ride), by train, or by bus. Not all may be easy and convenient, depending where you set off from, but you do not need to come by car.
    Getting around: Dublin has a good public transport system with buses, trams, and trains. Add to that the small size of the actual city centre, and the wide variety of tours on offer, and you need no car to get around.
    Verdict: No car needed at all!
  • Belfast

    Getting here: Again, you can travel to Belfast by plane, by ferry, by train, or by bus.
    Getting around: Belfast has a very good public transport system, consiting mainly of buses and trains. And the city centre is small enough to be explored on foot. Yes, it is safe enough too.
    Verdict: No car needed!
  • Cork

    Getting here: Cork can be reached by plane, train, or bus.
    Getting around: Cork does have a public transport system comprising buses and trains, but you can explore the city easily on foot.
    Verdict: No car needed!
  • Limerick

    Getting here: Limerick is best travelled to by train or bus.
    Getting around: Limerick has a public transport system, mainly buses, but the city is small enough to be easily explored on foot.
    Verdict: No car needed!
  • Derry

    Getting here: Derry can be reached by plane, train, or bus.
    Getting around: Unless you need a ride from the airport to the city, you can do everything on foot.
    Verdict: No car needed!
  • Galway

    Getting here: You can travel to Galway by train or bus.
    Getting around: Galway is small, a walk from one end of the city centre to thye other will take you about ten minutes. Though you might want to take the bus if you head for Salthill.
    Verdict: No car needed!
  • Waterford

    Getting here: Waterford can be reached by train or bus.
    Getting around: Another small city, even the walk from the railway station to the city centre will take less than five minutes, in another five you will have traversed the latter.
    Verdict: No car needed!
  • Drogheda

    Getting here: Drogheda is on the main route between Dublin and Belfast, thus you can travel here by train or bus.
    Getting around: Walking from the railway station to the centre is a drag (and back even more, going uphill), but the town itself is small enough to be explored on foot.
    Verdict: No car needed!
  • Bray

    Getting here: Bray can be easily reached by train or bus from Dublin.
    Getting around: On foot is the only option - as the main attractions (like the promenade or the cliff walk to Greystones) are pedestrian only anyway.
    Verdict: No car needed!
  • Swords

    Getting here: From Dublin, travel to Swords by train or bus.
    Getting around: Again, this small area is best explored on foot.
    Verdict: No car needed!