Ireland Getting There - International Travel
There are direct flights to Belfast from London’s Heathrow,
Gatwick, Luton and Stansted airports as well as other major regional
Airlines that serve Northern Ireland from the UK include
British Midland, British Airways, EasyJet
From North America, Aer Lingus flys from Boston
and New York to Shannon and Dublin.
Other airlines operate services from the USA and Canada to Belfast
via London, Glasgow and Manchester. There are also charter flights
from Toronto to Belfast.
Airport (BFS): Located 29km or 18 miles northwest of Belfast
city centre. Airport information: telephone: (028) 9448 4848.
Departure tax: None
The facilities include ATMs, bureau de change, duty-free and general
shops, a variety of catering facilities including an food court,
bar and coffee shop, nursing mothers’ room, facilities for
the disabled, children’s play area, and medical services.
There is also an executive lounge at the airport, which costs £6-12,
depending on your carrier.
There is no direct rail link to Belfast International Airport, but
trains run from Londonderry (Derry), Coleraine, Portrush, Ballymoney,
Ballymena and Belfast to Antrim (10km or 6 miles away) from where
a taxi can be hired, or a shuttle bus can be taken to the airport.
There are eight services running daily from Monday to Friday. Trains
to and from Dublin travel via Belfast Central Station, which has
an Airbus stop. A rail timetable display is at the main exit from
Airbus (Ulsterbus) runs to the city centre Monday-Saturday every
40 minutes and Sunday every 30-60 minutes (telephone: (028) 9066
6630). Airporter Derrydirect coaches (telephone: (028) 7126 9996)
travel to the airport from Londonderry (Derry). Taxi: Travel time
to city centre – about 25 minutes.
Taxis are available outside the main airport building. Fares are
displayed at the exit from the terminal or available from the information
Avis, Budget, Europcar, Cosmo Thrifty, Dan Dooley, Hertz and National
Car Rental can be found at the airport.
The M1 provides the link with Fermanagh and the west of the Province
whilst forming part of the journey to and from Dublin and the east
coast of Ireland. The M2 is the airport’s link with the centre
of Belfast and to Londonderry (Derry), 116km or 72 miles to the
There is car parking for short and long stays. Access is from the
M1 and M2 or by train to Antrim and then taxi.
The small Belfast City Airport (BHD) (telephone: (028) 9093 9093;
web site: www.belfastcityairport.com)
at Belfast Harbour is good for flights to most regional airports.
Train and bus services run to the city centre.
In addition to ferry crossings, many ferry companies now offer high-speed
services as well as state-of-the-art craft on many Irish Sea routes.
Fares will vary by season and promotional offers are available.
Routes from Britain and France include:
Liverpool - Belfast (Northern Ireland, travel time 7 hours 30 minutes)
Norse Merchant Ferries telephone: (028) 9077 9090).
Fleetwood–Larne (Northern Ireland, 8 hours) P&O Irish
From the Isle of Man:
Douglas–Belfast (Northern Ireland, 2 hours 45 minutes)
Heysham - Belfast (4 hours) by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s
Cairnryan–Larne (Northern Ireland, 1 hour on fast ferries
and 1 hour 45 minutes on conventional ferries)
Troon–Belfast (Northern Ireland, 2 hours 35 minutes)
Troon and Larne (4 hours)
Stranraer–Belfast (1 hour 45 minutes on fast ferries and 3
hours 15 minutes on conventional ferries)
Fishguard–Rosslare (1 hour 39 minutes on fast ferries and
3 hours 30 minutes on conventional ferries)
Pembroke–Rosslare (3 hours 45 minutes).
Irish Ferries operate at four direct ferry crossings a day between
France and Ireland. The routes are:
Cherbourg–Rosslare (19 hours)
Roscoff–Rosslare (18 hours)
Northern Ireland’s only inhabited island is Rathlin, only
a few kilometres off the north coast. There are passenger boats
between Ballycastle and the island. At holiday times a sailing/regulation
ticket is needed as well as a travel ticket. It is advisable to
book a return journey before leaving home.
There are 4 main rail routes from Belfast Central Station:
North to Londonderry via Ballymena and Coleraine
Northeast to the port of Larne
East to Bangor along the shores of Belfast Lough
South to Dublin, in the Irish Republic, via Newry.
The Belfast– Dublin non-stop express takes about 2 hours.
There are eight daily trains in both directions but only five on
Sundays. The busiest times are holiday weekends and the first and
last trains on Friday and Sunday, when it is best to reserve.
Freedom of Northern Ireland passes for unlimited travel on trains
and buses (cost £12 for 1 day; £30 for 3 days and £45
for 7 days, to be used within eight days of purchase) and are available
from the main Northern Ireland railway stations. For information
on timetables, contact Translink for Northern Ireland Railways Information
Centre, Central Station, East Bridge Street, Belfast BT1 3PB (telephone:
(028) 9066 6630).
Northern Ireland has an excellent bus network and there are good
bus links between those towns which are not served by rail. Translink
operates both Citylink, with services in Belfast, and Ulsterbus,
and is responsible for all other services in Northern Ireland.
Belfast has three main bus stations: Great Victoria Street,
Laganside and Newtonabbey. Centrelink
buses (service 100) offers links between Belfast’s principal
rail and bus stations as well as the main shopping centres and the
Waterfront Hall. Citybus operates over 60 different routes in and
around the capital, and two express services between Glengormley
and Newtonabbey and the centre, and eight nightlink services that
depart from Donegal Square West, Friday - Saturday 01:00-02:00.
Ulsterbus operates a network of services across the rest of the
country including some scenic routes as the Antrim Coaster (Belfast–Antrim
Coast–Portrush–Coleraine), the Lakeland Express (Enniskillen–Belfast)
and the Orchard Express (Belfast–Portadown–Armagh).
For more information on any of these services, timetables or prices
(telephone: (028) 9066 6630).
Traffic drives on the left. The speed limit is
30mph or 48kph in towns and cities unless signs show 40mph or 64kph
or 50mph or 80kph. On country roads the limit is 60mph or 96kph;
on dual carriageways, trunk roads and motorways 70mph or 112kph
unless signs show otherwise.
If the car is a rental, contact the rental company. Members of the
continental equivalent of the Automobile Association (AA) (telephone:
(0800) 887 766) can contact their 24-hour breakdown service. The
Royal Automobile Club (RAC) (telephone: (0800) 828 282) provides
a similar service. They can be contacted from their roadside phones
or from any call box. Non-members should check the Yellow Pages
for breakdown services.
Parking is allowed where there is a blue ‘P’ sign, which
indicates a car park in towns or a lay-by at roadside outside towns.
Drivers can park elsewhere on the street except when there is a
single yellow line, when parking is allowed only at the times shown
on the yellow signs nearby; or when there is a double yellow line
which prohibits all parking. Control Zones, which are in town centres,
are indicated by yellow signs ‘Control Zone. No Unattended
Parking’. An unattended car in a Control Zone is treated as
a security risk. Never park on zigzag markings close to pedestrian
crossings. In some towns the centre may be sealed off at certain
times, usually overnight. Alternative routes will be signposted.
At main stations, ports and Belfast Airport and can also be hired
by telephone in larger towns and cities.
The main firms – Hertza, Avis and Europcar - all operate in
Northern Ireland and have desks at Belfast International Airport.
There is also many smaller firms.
|Useful travel links
and maps within Northern Ireland