Talks about the metro line connecting Dublin City to the airport have been going on since the dawn of time, and we are profoundly sorry that you have to start your Irish journey trying to figure out the cheapest way to get to the city center.
the original building of Dublin airport: many things have improved since – photo courtesy National Library of Ireland
Taxi, of course, is not one of these, if you are traveling alone. On average, taking a cab from Dublin airport to the city center would cost you €25-30, which is quite reasonable if you split it within a group of 3-4 people. No hassle with the luggage, no waiting, no getting lost on the way to your hotel. Download the Lynk App or Hailo App (use this link to get a €10 credit as our friend!)
Aircoach connects different parts of Dublin with the airport around the clock, every 15 minutes during daytime and every 30 minutes during the night. It goes to major city hotels and down south as far as Bray. If you pre-book the ticket on their website, one-way journey to Dublin city center from the airport costs €6. There is also a service Cork-Dublin Airport and Belfast-Dublin Airport several times a day.
Airport Hopper serves remote locations west of Dublin, like Maynooth, Tallaght, Leixlip, directly from the airport.
Dublin Bus offers Airlink service to Heuston Railway station, number 747 that runs until 23:30. It also costs €6, and if you are using the Dublin transportation Leap Card, airport fee is not included in the daily cap (see explanation below).
Dublin city buses also run regular non-express routes to other parts of the city – if you want to go directly from the airport to one of the southern or northern suburbs. These buses are slower but operate under regular fee (€3.30). Number 16 passes through O’Connell street and goes on to southern parts of Dublin, Ballinteer. Number 41 serves northern side of Dublin. These buses also stop not far from Drumcondra railway station that serves Maynooth – if that is your final destination. Number 102 connects Sutton Station (northern suburb of Dublin, Howth) with the airport. Although luggage space on these buses is limited, they are best to avoid downtown traffic if you are heading to one of Dublin’s suburbs.
If you are going to use Dublin transportation a lot, consider buying Leap Card. It will cost you €10, and the card has a daily cap of €6.90 (€5 student) after which you can travel for free for the rest of the day! There are, of course, more intricacies of how this complicated piece of plastic works, all of which you can study on the official website. Without the Leap Card, you might have to face one of the saddest phenomenons in the history of public transportation in Europe: Dublin city buses only accept coins and do not give change. You will soon learn to carry a pocketful of euros at all times.
Finally, one can always try walking and/or hitchhiking from the airport to Dublin city. While walking those 10 kilometers you may contemplate the meaning of life, universe and everything, and watch how gray industrial northern suburbs gradually turn into the Dublin city you will come to love during the course of your trip.