Transport in Northern Ireland

Getting There
The vast majority of those arriving in Northern Ireland by air will fly into Belfast International Airport which is located about thirty five kilometres northwest of the city centre. From Belfast there are direct hourly flights to Heathrow, six daily flights to Gatwick, four to Luton and four to Stanstead. In addition, there are also frequent direct connections between Belfast International and all the major UK regional airports and between Londonderry and Glasgow and Manchester. Finally, Belfast International is also the main hub for flights to Northern Ireland from the Republic, Amsterdam, Brussels and New York.

It is worth noting, however, that Dublin Airport is only two hours away by rail so if you do fly to Dublin, making your way to Belfast should not pose any great problems. There are eight trains daily in both directions (five on Sundays). Furthermore there is an express coach which runs six times daily to Belfast directly from Dublin Airport and only takes an hour thirty minutes.

If you are arriving by ferry, the quickest and most popular crossings are the high speed ferries from Scotland to Belfast and Larne but there is also an overnight crossing between Belfast and Liverpool as well as two more between Holyhead and Dun Laoghaire in Dublin and Fishguard and Rosslare in Wexford.

Getting Around
Northern Ireland has an excellent and efficient public transport network with express bus connections between any town and city not served by a rail link.

From Belfast Central Station there are four main rail routes. Travelling north there is a direct connection to Londonderry via Ballymena and Coleraine, to the northeast there is a direct service to the port at Larne, east to Bangor and south to Dublin via Newry. For the best value when travelling by train in Northern Ireland a rail runabout ticket is recommended. This will give you seven days of unlimited travel and can be purchased at any of the main Northern Ireland railway stations.

The bus network is much more extensive and from Belfast it serves a vast number of destinations both north and south of the border. If you do intend travelling quite a bit using Ulsterbus, and particularly if you intend travelling to the Republic, an unlimited travel bus ticket is an extremely worthwhile purchase and is available at any Ulsterbus depot. As well as the main connections there are a variety of day and half day coach tours which travel to the Glens of Antrim, the Giant’s Causeway, the Lakeland in Co. Fermanagh and the Sperrin Mountains and Mourne Mountains. These are mainly in operation in summer months. Again, ask in any Ulsterbus depot for information.

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