How to Travel From Dublin to Galway by Train, Bus, and Car.

Illustrated map showing different routes between Dublin and Galway

TripSavvy / Jiaqi Zhou 

Dublin, located on Ireland’s east coast, sits almost directly opposite the city of Galway on the west coast. Dublin and Galway are 129 miles apart (208 km). As the capital of the Republic of Ireland, Dublin is a compact but busy city filled with arts, culture, and great food. Galway is a smaller city that is known for its live music, medieval center, and young population.

The fastest option between Dublin and Galway is to self-drive by car, which takes just over 2 hours on average. The cheapest option is the bus depending on the time of day and the day of the week, though the train is slightly faster. Buses and trains run year-round but tend to sell out far in advance of major events like the Galway Races.

  Time Cost Best For
Train 2 hours, 21 minutes from 18 euros Comfort
Bus 2 hours, 30 minutes from 12 euros Saving Money
Car 2 hours, 15 minutes 129 miles (208 kilometers) Getting around the cities

What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From Dublin to Galway?

Taking the bus is the cheapest, and one of the most popular, way to travel between Dublin and Galway. There are several private coach bus companies that offer multiple daily services from Dublin to Galway. Some of these companies include GoBus. CityLink, and Bus Eireann. The route is very popular and buses leave every 30 to 60 minutes on average. Most buses run between Dublin’s central bus station and Galway’s main bus terminal, but it is also possible to take the bus directly from Dublin Airport to Galway. These airport buses are the best way to reach Galway without needing to actually go into the Dublin city center of the capital city. Public buses are operated only within individual cities, meaning that private coaches are the only buses available for intercity travel. Buying return, and particularly same-day return tickets, can cut the cost significantly but most companies charge around 12 euros for one-way tickets.

The buses leave regularly, have luggage storage, and are equipped with Wi-Fi, which sometimes makes them more comfortable than self-driving and eliminates the need to have a car while in Dublin. However, these routes can become very busy on weekends or when major events are taking place. If you plan to take the bus, arrive at the station early to purchase tickets and claim a space in line in order to ensure you get seats together with your traveling companions.

What Is the Fastest Way to Get From Dublin to Galway?

The fastest and most flexible way to travel between Dublin and Galway is to self-drive by car. The route takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes without traffic. The most direct route is to take the M4 to the M6, which are both well-maintained toll roads. Cars pay a toll of 2.90 euros on the M4 and 1.90 euros on the M6. There is also an additional toll on the M50 if driving directly from Dublin Airport. When approaching a toll point, follow the signs posted above each lane to identify which booths accept cash, and have small change on hand whenever possible to speed things up. Taking smaller side roads will significantly extend the journey time. Sticking to the main highways still offer plenty of opportunities to exit and stop along the way, including in Tullamore or Athlone. Remember that you will have to drive on the left side of the road and follow local laws, so be prepared with our complete guide to driving in Ireland.

How Long Is the Train Ride?

The train journey takes between 2 hours and 21 minutes to 2 hours and 45 minutes, and prices usually range between 18-22 euros each way. Trains run between Dublin and Galway every day and are operated by Irish Rail. Trains depart Heuston Station in Dublin bound for Galway every two hours. Heuston Station is located about 2 miles outside the Dublin city center, but the train terminal is well connected via LUAS for those planning to take public transportation. Luggage racks are available and the journey is airconditioned and comfortable.

When Is the Best Time to Visit Galway?

Given the large student population in Galway, Friday and Sunday tend to be the busiest days to travel between the two cities which means that fares on buses and trains may increase during peak hours.

What's the Most Scenic Route to Galway?

The route from Dublin to Galway isn't especially scenic but Galway is a popular jumping-off point for enjoying a drive along the Wild Atlantic Way or seeing the gorgeous Cliffs of Moher nearby.

What Is There to Do in Galway?

Galway is a small but dynamic harbor city with a large student population. The best area to start exploring is the central Latin Quarter, which dates back to medieval times. This area of the city is widely pedestrianized and filled with tiny shops, local pubs, and great restaurants. The city is well known for its live Irish music sessions in the pubs every night, but you can find outdoor performers (called buskers) playing instruments as you wander through the city as well.

For a longer stroll, walk out to the waterfront area of Salthill and enjoy the beaches along Seapoint Promenade. The seaside area is relatively quiet, except during peak summer weekends. Though, if you do happen to find yourself in Galway in late July, you must make time for the annual event of the year: the Galway Races. The horse races are held around the August Bank Holiday and are the most famous in all of Ireland. The massive well-dressed crowds and convivial atmosphere are absolutely something that has to be experienced in person.

To see even more ideas, here is our complete guide to things to do in Galway, Ireland as well as the best day trips to take nearby.