Getting Around Using the DART in Dublin

A commuter train makes for a great public transportation option while in Dublin

Local train near the sea in Ireland
DART along the coast outside Dublin.

 Rail Photo/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

DART (which stands for Dublin Area Rapid Transit) is one of the most convenient forms of public transportation in Dublin if you plan to travel from north to south (or vice versa) along the coastline of Dublin Bay. The light railway began service in 1984 and primarily serves the suburbs. Taking the train is a much faster journey compared to traveling by bus and is a major lifeline for commuters. While DART might not be all that useful if you never plan to leave central Dublin, the local train system does present a great way to reach some of the most interesting tourist sights just outside of the city.

It is also ideal if you are staying in the towns outside of Dublin and want to come into the city (though be prepared to join the crowds of commuters who have the same idea at rush hour). DART trains connect to the LUAS (Dublin’s urban tram) at Connolly Station and to suburban and intercity services at several other stations as well.

Here is a guide to how to make the most of DART while in Dublin.

How to Buy DART Tickets

Tickets for the DART must be purchased before boarding the train. Tickets for single, return and multiple journeys can be bought at ticket machines in all stations or online before the trip. Manned ticket counters are only available in some of the major stations.

The price of a single ticket depends on the distance between the starting and ending station. A single adult ticket from Connolly in central Dublin to the end of the line in Howth is €3.30 one way or €6.25 for a return trip on the same day.

An all-day adult ticket can be purchased for €12, or if you are traveling as a family you can purchase an all-day ticket for €20 to cruise the rails. Monthly tickets are €154, and make the most sense for regular commuters. For shorter tourism-related trips, there are three-day passes (€17.50) and seven-day passes (€29.50).

The LEAP pass is an integrated pass that offers discounts on all forms of public transportation in Rome, making every single journey a bit cheaper.

Navigating the DART

DART serves central Dublin and the coastal suburbs to the north and south of the Irish capital, reaching from Howth to Greystones in County Wicklow. The trains run every ten to fifteen minutes during the day, and schedules can be found online or posted in each station.

The line runs north and south and splits at just one station (Howth Junction), so there is no need to worry about overly complicated transfers, simply be sure to pay attention to the final destination of the train to ensure that you are headed in the correct direction.

Be sure to have a valid ticket before boarding the train as they are not for sale on board.

DART Stations to Know for Your Trip

If you are planning to explore Dublin city center, the best DART stops are Pearse, Tara or Connolly stations. Every stop (not only these central stations) also has bus connections to help you navigate the capital.

Hoping to take a mini-city break or a day trip? Here are some of the best DART stations to know:

  • Head to the Malahide DART station to visit Malahide Castle (one of the best castles in Ireland) as well as the botanical gardens.
  • Disembark at Portmarnock for an Irish beach day. The DART stops close to Velvet Strand – the area’s most popular beach.
  • Take the DART to Dun Laoghaire for a walk along the pier and visit the James Joyce Museum.
  • For the best view of Dublin Bay, plan to stop in Killiney (or at least have your camera ready as you approach the station from the north).
  • For a taste of the Irish seaside, take the DART to the end of the line in Howth (switching trains at Howth Junction). The coastal town is a perfect day trip where you can enjoy lunch by the ocean or walk through the ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey.

Want the full DART experience? A map is available from Irish Rail. All 31 DART stations are as follows:

DART Route Northbound from Connolly Station:

·      Connolly Station (interchange with LUAS, Suburban Rail, and Intercity)

·      Clontarf Road

·      Killester

·      Harmonstown

·      Raheny

·      Kilbarrack

·      Howth Junction (interchange with Suburban Rail)
Note that the northbound DART route splits at Howth Junction (that's why it's called a junction, after all) and continues as follows ...

DART Route Northbound from Howth Junction to Malahide:

·      Howth Junction (interchange with Suburban Rail)

·      Clongriffen (interchange with Suburban Rail)

·      Portmarnock (interchange with Suburban Rail)

·      Malahide (interchange with Suburban Rail)

DART Route Northbound from Howth Junction to Howth:

·      Howth Junction (interchange with Suburban Rail)

·      Bayside

·      Sutton

·      Howth

And the southern journey ...

DART Route Southbound from Connolly Station:

·      Connolly Station (interchange with LUAS, Suburban Rail and Intercity)

·      Tara Street (interchange with Suburban Rail)

·      Pearse Station (interchange with Suburban Rail)

·      Grand Canal Dock

·      Lansdowne Road (Aviva Stadium)

·      Sandymount

·      Sydney Parade

·      Booterstown

·      Blackrock

·      Seapoint

·      Salthill and Monkstown

·      Dun Laoghaire (interchange with Suburban Rail and ferry service)

·      Sandycove and Glasthule

·      Glenageary

·      Dalkey

·      Killiney

·      Shankill

·      Bray (interchange with Suburban Rail)

·      Greystones (interchange with Suburban Rail)

DART is a convenient and modern way to travel by train in Ireland, but here is our guide to Irish rail museums for the true train enthusiast.