The combined ferry and train tickets that take you from UK to both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are travel jewels, fitting for a country renowned for its emeralds. Their bargain prices always have our eyes smiling too.
Also known as rail and sail tickets, or sail rail, whatever floats your boat, the prices from main stations in the UK all the way through to Dublin and Belfast ports are fixed all year round, with no hikes for public or school holidays. Which definitely floats our boat. You can book your ticket to travel from UK mainline stations to the UK ferry ports of Holyhead, Fishguard or Cairnryan, hop on the ferry to Dublin or Belfast respectively, and then travel on throughout the island to other train stations. All on one ticket.
Ticket examples on this route are as follows:
- £49* one-way from London Euston to Dublin ferry port, with 50% off for 5-15 year olds and 0-4 year olds travelling free.
- Leeds to Belfast for £48 one-way
- Edinburgh to Belfast for £33.
Note that if you book from, say, Dulwich to Dublin or Swansea to Sligo, the fixed fare only applies from UK’s largest city stations. The extra leg will be an additional charge. These journeys do take some time. However, in many cases, you are travelling across three countries as well as the Irish Sea. You are also traversing some fantastic landscapes along the way, have plenty of time to chill out and are making a huge saving on your carbon footprint too of course. In addition, you can bring as much luggage as you want. Leave London’s Euston Station at 9am, for example, and be in Dublin’s city centre by 6pm. Or in Galway just as the trad music band is warming up in one of many lively pubs. Galway is also gateway to Connemara and the Aran Islands.
Other Irish stations other than Dublin and Belfast that you can book through to on these rail and sail tickets include: Westport, the cultural capital of the north-west of Ireland; Tralee to discover all of County Kerry’s wild beauty or Sligo for serious surf and seaside solace. At present, we don’t sell through tickets to all stations on the island of Ireland, but this is improving all the time, so watch this space. You can always book to Belfast or Dublin ports, however, and then book your onward journey locally for now if your Irish station of choice isn’t listed.
Rail and sail tickets can be purchased 12 weeks in advance, or you can buy them the day before if there is availability. Always at the same price. Depending on the times you want to travel, some of these train journeys are direct to the ferry ports, others require a change, but you can see a clear breakdown of the journey when you book it with us. You will also need to pick up your rail and sail tickets at a UK train station. What’s clear to us is that this is an easy, accessible and relaxing way to travel to a country that boasts all these same characteristics.
Photo credits top to bottom: Main image and thumbnail: Poolbeg Lighthouse, Dublin by Michael Foley | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 , Bray to Greystone railway iStock ©rodrigobellizzi , Connemara Lakes iStock ©elementals
The best train station restaurants
We love trains and we love to eat, so we've gone in search of Europe's finest train station restaurants.
Steve McCurry's epic train photography
Inspiring images from Steve McCurry's journeys on the Indian railways