Europe

Dublin Airport’s First-Timer Guide: How To Navigate Like a Pro!

Updated on:  
July 25, 2021
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Chloe Lay
Chloe Lay
Contributor
https://chloelaywrites.co.uk/Follow us on Linkedin
Here's all the info you'll need about the Dublin Airport, including transportation, accommodation, and all the other important info to help you get around!

Let’s be real: Finding your way into, out of, and around an airport can be a total nightmare. When you’re busy planning a trip, it’s so easy to forget to organize how you’ll get from the airport to the city center — even if you’re a seasoned traveler. For many of us, navigating airports can be an unnecessary addition to the enormous stress that traveling can bring.

Well, if you’re planning a trip to Dublin or elsewhere in Ireland, you’re in luck. We’ve put together a complete guide to Dublin Airport to help you breeze through the airport and make your trip way simpler.

Airport stress? Never heard of it!

Dublin airport entrance
Photo by Ian Peterson on Wikimedia Commons

Dublin Airport’s Layout

Dublin Airport, airport code DUB, has two terminals, creatively named Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. Almost all airlines fly out of T1, but all flights into and out of the US come through T2 instead. The terminals are pretty close together, so there isn’t a shuttle to take you from one to the other, just a covered walkway.

Check-in desks in T1 are on the second floor of the building, and check-in desks in T2 are on the first floor. Once you’ve checked in and made it through security, you’ll find yourself in the departures area, where there’s plenty to do in both terminals.

The Dublin Airport website has a great interactive map to help you navigate around the check-in desks, stores, bars, restaurants, and boarding gates. Use the airport’s free Wi-Fi to load this up, then use it to find what you need — simple!

Things to Do at Dublin Airport

If you find yourself with time to kill at Dublin Airport, you’re in luck — there are lots of shops, bars, and restaurants to keep you busy while you wait for your flight.

If you’re hungry, there’s a wide range of choices, from fast-food options (a McDonald’s before security and a Burger King after) to cafés, restaurants, and even a juice bar.

If you haven’t had your fill of beer during your stay in Dublin, you’re in luck! The Garden Terrace in T1 and The Slaney in T2 are great choices if you want one more pint of Guinness before you board. There’s even a Guinness Export House in T2’s shopping district, The Loop, which will teach you about the brewing process and the unique flavor of Ireland’s best-known beer— there are definitely worse ways to pass the time!

Dublin Guinness local beer.
Photo by Erik Jacobson on Unsplash

You’ll also find several stores and shops to keep you busy and stocked up on provisions in both terminals: electronics stores, gift shops, duty-free, newsagents, and drugstores. Whatever you need, you’ll probably find it somewhere in the airport.

How to Get from Dublin Airport to the City Center

If you’re arriving in Ireland on an international flight, you’ll need to know how to get to the city center from the airport. Once your flight lands head through passport control and customs — this is all well signposted to make things nice and straightforward!

Dublin Airport is around 10km (that’s just over 6 miles) from the city center. To arrive in the city, you have a couple of options.

Travel by Bus

If you’re traveling by public transport, you’ll have to take the bus or a coach, as there are no trains from Dublin Airport into Dublin itself. There are four bus companies that run services between the city center and the airport, so you probably won’t have to wait too long. The bus and coach numbers are:

-     The 16 and the 41, by Dublin Bus

-     The 102 and the 33A, by Go-Ahead Ireland

-     The 700, 704X, and 705X, by Aircoach

-     The Dublin Express

The Dublin Express claims to be the fastest coach service, but the Aircoach offers 24-hour service and the other buses may be more convenient — it all depends on what time your flight lands. Aircoach also offers routes from Dublin Airport to elsewhere in Ireland, including Cork, Belfast, and Galway.

The buses and coaches all take 30–40 minutes, depending on the traffic, and prices vary. Dublin Bus and Go-Ahead Ireland single tickets cost €3.30 for an adult rider, while the Dublin Express and Aircoach are a little pricier, at €6 and €8, respectively. This higher price is probably because these two are coaches rather than public buses; this means your journey will be more comfortable and there’ll definitely be enough space for your luggage!

If you’re taking the bus both ways, you can turn your ticket into a return ticket with either coach company for just €1 or €2 extra, so it’s a good money-saving choice if you’re traveling on a budget.

Dublin airport transportation and bus services map.
Image courtesy of Dublin Airport

By Taxi

If you’re traveling in a group, it might be worth getting a taxi into the city center instead. This will probably only set you back around €25–30, so it could end up costing the same as the coach anyway, and it will definitely be quicker — taxis usually take around 20 minutes if there’s no congestion.

There are taxi ranks outside the T1 and T2 buildings, so you can just hop straight in a cab without any fuss. Easy!

Car Rental at Dublin Airport

Another way to get to the city center from the airport is to hire a car. There are car hire desks at both terminals in Dublin Airport (but right now, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they’re only operating in T2).

You need to be 21 or older to hire a car in Ireland, but many companies will also set their minimum rental age to be higher than this. That’s why it’s always important to do your research before you travel!

The car hire companies with desks inside the arrivals areas of Dublin Airport include:

-     Avis

-     Budget

-     Enterprise

-     Europcar

-     Hertz

-     Sixt

There are also lesser-known companies offering car rental services, like NewWay, National, Dooley, and Alamo. It’s definitely worth comparing prices before you travel to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.

If you’re hiring a car in Dublin, don’t forget that they drive on the left here, just like in the UK. This means your car will be a right-hand drive, so be prepared!

Where to Stay Near Dublin Airport

Since the airport is pretty close to the city center, staying near the airport can be a good option for travelers, especially if you’re arriving or leaving in the early hours of the morning. If you want to stay close to the airport, try one of these hotels.

Radisson Blu Hotel Dublin Airport

-     Free 24-hour shuttle to the airport, or a 10-minute

-     20 minutes from the city center

-     Car parking available for a fee

Maldron Hotel Dublin Airport

-     Free 24-hour shuttle to the airport, or a 3-minute walk

-     20–25 minutes from the city center

-     Car parking available for a fee

Carlton Hotel Dublin Airport

-     Free 24-hour shuttle to the airport, or a 5-minute drive

-     20–25 minutes from the city center

-     A 4-star hotel!

-     Car parking available for a fee

Holiday Inn Dublin Airport

-     Free shuttle to the airport, or a 5-minute drive

-     15–20 minutes from the city center

-     Car parking available for a fee

Where to Sleep At Dublin Airport

When you’re traveling, sometimes, things don’t go to plan. Maybe your flight’s been delayed or canceled, or maybe you missed the last bus out of the airport and don’t have the spare cash for a late-night taxi.

Whatever the reason, sometimes you just need a place to put your head down and get some shut-eye for a few hours, without going to a hotel. It’s hard finding a place to sleep at an airport, but there are a couple of options.

If you haven’t been through security yet (or you’ve already made it through customs on your arrival), try the food court area. You’re more likely to come across comfy chairs here — but if it’s daytime, you’ll probably be taking up space for someone who wants to eat!

Inside terminal 1, after security is a rest area that’s a great option for anyone looking for a nap spot. There are plenty of comfortable couches and cushioned chairs, and a few pod-style seats built into the wall.

places to sleep near Dublin.
Photo by Gregory DALLEAU on Unsplash

Fly into Dublin's airport with Pilot!

So, now that you know how to get in, out, and around Dublin Airport, you can plan the rest of your trip! Dublin has so many things to do, and it’s a great destination for a city break with friends or a partner.

Fully enjoy and look forward to your next trip to Dublin without the worries and hassle by choosing Pilot. Pilot is a social travel planner that lets you plan trips and make meaningful experiences together with friends, family and even work colleagues. Why not give it a try?

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