The four most common ferry points in the UK that take passengers to Ireland are as follows.
(1) Fishguard (South Wales) to Rosslare, Wexford (50 miles south of Dublin)
If you are travelling to Ireland from the south-west of England – for example from Bristol or Bath – or from the Midlands, then the Fishguard-Rosslare ferry is an excellent, convenient choice. The ferry from Fishguard to Rosslare travels twice a day with a twelve hour gap between sailings.
With a car
You can book a return journey, including your car, for one person for around £230. This can be done via the Stena Line website.
When you arrive in Ireland you will have to go through some quick and simple customs procedures – you will have your driving license checked, etc. Then you can take the final leg of your journey from the UK to Dublin: drive on the N11 North through beautiful Wexford and Wicklow then on into Dublin county and finally Dublin city itself.
Without a car
You can board most ferries to Ireland as a foot passenger. However, getting to distant Fishguard in Wales could be a problem unless you are prepared to take one of the coaches that go regularly from the South West and the Midlands to Rosslare via Fishguard.
You can catch a coach from Bath, Bristol or Birmingham coach stations and it will take you to Fishguard, Wales. The coach will then board the ferry. When the coach has parked up on one of the boarding decks on the ferry, you can get out of the coach and climb to one of higher decks. Once the ferry docks in Cork (Wexford) you will need to get back on the coach. The coach will then leave the ferry and take you all the way to Dublin where the fun begins.
- The coaches arrive very early in the morning – about 6am – so ensure your hotel knows that you will be arriving very early, or you may find yourself outside your hotel, sat on your suitcase, waiting until they can check you in!
(2) Holyhead to Dún Laoghaire
For those living in a city in Northern England (for example Leeds, Manchester Liverpool, Bradford or Chester) or in North Wales (for example Bangor) the Holyhead to Dublin ferry is a convenient choice. Presently there are two major ferry companies that operate ferry crossings from Holyhead to Dún Laoghaire on a daily basis: Irish Ferries and Stena Line. Every day, both Irish Ferries and Stena Line offer four crossings.
If you are making your own way to the ferry point and not taking a car, you can book a return ticket on Stena Line for £58. Irish Ferries is slightly more expensive with prices ranging from £68 to £73 for a return crossing. P&O does not accept foot passengers. Both Virgin Trains and British Rail have trains that serve this Northern Welsh town, and the train station is within walking distance from the ferry port. If you decide on this route, you will have to change trains at Chester or Crewe as there are no direct trains from major cities.
With a car
For one person travelling from the UK to Dublin and back with their car, the price via Stena Line will be around £230. Irish Ferries are slightly more expensive at around £250.
Without a car
If you are travelling to Dublin without your car from major northern English towns such as Manchester, Liverpool or Newcastle; you can book a ticket through National Express’s website. A return ticket for one adult, including insurance, is just under £100. If you want to extend your trip, you can also change the return date by telephone for a small administration fee of 10 Euros. I usually travel to Dublin by ferry and I have extended the return date almost every time I have travelled over.
- If you choose the overnight crossing, you will arrive in Dublin very early – around 6am. Be sure your hotel is aware that you will be arriving very early, and that they can accommodate this, else you may find yourself stranded at the coach station until the hotels, shops, cafes and restaurants open – not a good start to your holiday.
(3) Liverpool to Dublin
P&O Ferries run the ferry crossing between Liverpool and Dublin. This crossing is particularly convenient for people from Liverpool, Manchester and other cities in the North of England who want to take the crossing to Dublin, because crossing from Liverpool to Dublin will ensure you will not need to travel across North Wales to the ferry port at Holyhead. The crossing from Liverpool to Dublin takes about 8 hours.
With a car
For one adult to take a return journey to Dublin, with a car, it costs just under £300. To book a cabin for both the outward and return journey you will need to add another £70 to the total; taking it to £370.
Without a car
P&O Ferries do not accept foot passengers.
- Cabins are for two people, so you will be sharing a room with a stranger if you are travelling alone. Cabins are allocated as male and female, so you won’t end up sharing with someone of the opposite sex.
- When you arrive in Dublin, you will have to pass through a toll road (the M1). The charge is 10 Euros from Monday to Friday – be sure to have some loose change in Euros to cover this charge.
(4) Swansea to Cork – Discontinued
Due to Swansea Port’s convenient location, at the end of the M4, the Swansea-Cork ferry is a very popular crossing for people living in the South of England and South Wales. This crossing was organised by Fastnet Ferries for many years, however they have ceased providing crossings for the foreseeable future. We will keep you updated with information regarding this popular crossing to Ireland as it becomes available.