Despite being set on opposite sides of the country, Dublin is just 129 miles (208 km) from Galway. And because they’re connected by a main highway, visiting the two cities on the same trip is quick and easy. The most convenient way to make the journey is by car—rental or private transfer—in about two hours.
Public transportation is another great option. Private buses and regional trains offer several routes per day and make the trip in 2.5 hours. Regional buses also offer daily departures, but take a bit longer at 3-3.5 hours.
By Rental Car or Private Transfer
Duration: 2 hours
The quickest and most convenient way to reach Galway from Dublin is by rental car or private transfer. The route follows two major motorways—M4 and M6—straight through the center of the country, including the well-known Midlands Region and the scenic county of Galway. The drive isn’t particularly beautiful, but on a clear day you may catch glimpses of the Wicklow Mountains as you leave Dublin, and plenty of rolling green hills along the way.
Athlone makes for an excellent midway stopping point. The town is set on the River Shannon, so there are many spots to enjoy views of the old town and castle. Dalkey is a nice coastal town south of Dublin and worth the initial detour, as is the heritage town of Birr and the small village of Kildare.
Duration: 2- 2.5 hours
Ireland’s train network isn’t large, but the route between Dublin and Galway is quick and efficient. You’ll leave from Dublin’s Heuston station on the western end of the city center and arrive in Galway 2-2.5 hours later. Although not mandatory, seat reservations are available. If you can grab a seat next to the window, you’ll especially enjoy the views of the Irish countryside.
Duration: 2.5 - 3.5 hours
If you prefer to take the bus, private companies are your best bet. They offer onboard wifi and toilets, lower fares, and central departure/arrival locations. Similar to driving, companies like Citylink and GoBus also follow the M4 and M6 motorways and take about 2.5 hours. The views aren’t quite as scenic as the train, but you’ll still enjoy the green hillsides throughout the journey.
Bus Éireann—Ireland’s regional bus service—also offers departures, but fares are higher and routes are longer. You’ll arrive in Galway in about 3-3.5 hours.