The Airlink Express is Dublin Airport’s main express airport bus transfer between the airport and Dublin City Centre. While local buses do serve the airport too, the Airlink Express takes the Dublin Port Tunnel traveling directly into the city. As I had just over 24 hours in Dublin, I made use of this express service with a little lesser-known travel hack which I’ll let you know below.
For tourists, there are a variety of attractive tickets that are always promoted by DoDublin, Airlink Express, Dublin Bus and even Transport For Ireland. You can pre-purchase such discounted tickets online from Klook if you like, which are cheaper than getting it directly:
- Airlink Express Bus Transfer Tickets in Dublin – 1 Single or Round Trip Airlink Express ticket
- DoDublin Hop On/Hop Off Bus Tour in Dublin – 24 or 48 Hours Hop on Hop off Tour
- 48-Hour DoDublin Hop On/Hop Off Bus Tour and Airlink Express Bus Transfer Tickets in Dublin – 1 Single or Round Trip Airlink Express ticket and 48 Hours Hop on Hop off Tour
- DoDublin Card – 72 Hours Unlimited Airlink, Hop on Hop off Tour and all Dublin Bus public buses
At Terminal 1, there is a Bus & Travel Information Counter located at the Arrival Hall, which makes it very easy to purchase tickets.
Oh, what is this magic card which I bought for €10 (~S$15.40)?
Instead of the usual promoted tourist passes, I bought a TFI Leap Visitor Card which is valid on key public transport but not Hop on/Hop off tour or other special tour services. This includes unlimited travel on Airlink, Dublin Bus, Go-Ahead Ireland routes in Dublin, Luas, DART and Commuter Rail.
A 1 day (24 hours) Leap Visitor Card costs €10.00, 3 days (72 hours) costs €19.50 and 7 days (168 hours) costs €40.00. The 1 day (24 hours) Leap Visitor Card for €10.00 offered excellent value for my trip since it includes unlimited use of the Airlink Express too, which alone for a return trip would already cost €12.00. I would have already broken even with this card if I didn’t use it for any other public transport, so it was a no-brainer to buy it.
This card doesn’t seem well-promoted, but probably for good reason since people won’t get on the DoDublin Hop On/Hop Off Bus should they know about this card. Even the guy at the counter sold me the Leap Visitor Card with a hushed voice, probably afraid that the rest in the queue might find out about this excellent value card.
But now, you, RailTravel Station reader, know about it and can get around Dublin for cheap. You’re welcome.
As I had time before activating my 24 hours Leap Visitor Card in order not to make it expire too early the next day and lose my Airlink Express trip back to the airport, I took a walk to Terminal 2 to check out the terminal and buses.
The Airlink Express bus berths are just at the foot the escalator.
No in-terminal ticket counters at Terminal 2, just this makeshift standing kiosk. It would have provided the same services at the counter at Terminal 1 I would assume.
Live bus arrival times featured at Terminal 2 Airlink Express berths.
Ticket kiosks are available beside the bus berth, which were not available at Terminal 1 Arrival Hall.
The route map of Airlink Express Services 747 and 757.
The separate berths for Airlink Express Services 747 and 757.
The modern facade of Terminal 2.
Walking back to Terminal 1, I found the local bus stop which is a slight walk away from the terminal building.
Dublin Bus Service 16 will get you in to the city centre too at a cheaper stage fare, but it will take normal roads stopping at all bus stops en route. Using the Leap Visitor Card, I had no reason to try out this local bus route since the more expensive Airlink Express trips are included anyway.
Route and fare information can be found at the bus stop.
Heading back to Terminal 1 to refill my water bottle before setting out for Dublin City Centre.
Now, rewind back to the ticket counter location.
From the Bus & Travel Information counter, walk away from it towards the left side of the terminal facing the driveway and exit from the last door.
You can cross the road first or later.
This traffic light button looks and sounds oddly familiar.
Turn left and continue straight to the Airlink Express bus bays.
The bus bays for the Airlink Express Service 747 and 757.
Live bus arrival times featured at Terminal 1 Airlink Express berths.
The Airlink Express 747 berths are further ahead.
The next departing Airlink Express 747 bus waiting at the first berth.
Boarding the Airlink Express 747 bus.
Ample luggage space can be found on the lower deck of the Airlink Express bus.
The upper deck of the Airlink Express bus.
The information screen on the Airlink Express bus.
The view of the Airlink Express bus from the last row of seats.
Heading into Terminal 2. Hmm, maybe I should have just boarded from here just now. Didn’t know it would u-turn back.
Picking up more passengers from Terminal 2.
Circle K is not just a petrol station kiosk here, but a full-fledged petrol station in itself.
Heading to the M1 Motorway.
The Airlink Express takes the M1 Motorway into the city, which saves a lot of time.
Heading into the Dublin Port Tunnel.
With high toll rates for cars and free tolls for vehicles in excess of 3,500 kg MLW, or for vehicles capable of carrying 25 passengers or more, this was a very fast journey into the city centre.
Heading past the toll booth in a jiffy through the bus lane on the left.
Passing by the railway tracks leading to Dublin Port.
Turning right to the city at North Wall Quay.
Passing by MV Cill Airne, a European restaurant in a renovated training vessel.
Passing by Samuel Beckett Bridge.
At every bus stop, the information screen switches to the live CCTV footage of the luggage rack.
Stop information is also made by audio and visual announcements.
Making a brief stop at Docklands, Guild Street Jurys Hotel to set down passengers.
Taking some narrow cobbled streets along Sheriff Street Lower.
Turning right at Connolly Railway Station, with a view of the facade of the station from the rear of the bus.
Heading down O’Connell Street Lower.
Looking back at The Spire, the modern city landmark of Dublin. This would be where my tour would start tomorrow.
Crossing over O’Connell Bridge.
Crossing River Liffey over O’Connell Bridge.
In the city, some streets are only for buses and trams.
Traffic has to stop to allow trams to pass by.
Passing by Trinity College Dublin.
Most passengers alighted around the Temple Bar area.
My bus bunched up with an earlier bus at Ushers Quay.
Passing by James’s Gate, Guinness Store.
Looking back at the empty bus interior upon arrival at Heuston Railway Station.
Disembarking from the Airlink Express 747 at Heuston Railway Station. There is no need to touch out from the Airlink Express bus.
The Airlink Express 747 at Heuston Railway Station terminus.
Heading into Heuston Railway Station for a peek before heading to Heuston Luas stop.
The waiting hall before the platform, probably filled with passengers awaiting their platform number to show on on the screen.
The hall is smaller than I thought it would have been.
Satisfied with walking through the whole waiting hall in under 30 seconds, I headed out to catch the Luas to my hostel.
Overall, a comfortable and fast ride into the city with the Airlink Express 747, especially with the great value provided with the Leap Visitor Card. If you don’t need the DoDublin Hop On/Hop Off Bus Tour, remember to buy the Leap Visitor Card instead.