On Trains & Buses

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Irish Bus Companies

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AirCoach vehicle in Dublin, Ireland

Though not an exhaustive list of all the bus companies operating in the Republic of Ireland, this hopefully sends you to the right places for more information on services that are being operated. Only, companies operating scheduled services are listed here, and the compilation is bound to change over time; not only do companies come and go, but I also discover new ones on an ongoing basis. If you are looking for Northern Irish companies, they are included on the British Bus Companies list, but there may be a time when I turn this one into an all-island list.


Formerly a home-grown Irish company, this First Group subsidiary has moved on from its days of getting passengers between Dublin’s city centre and from its airport to serving Galway, Cork and Belfast as well as having several routes operating around Dublin and Wicklow.

Bus Éireann

The company that runs the majority of the Éire’s bus services outside Dublin as well as maintaining all the Republic’s bus stations. Besides services that run between different towns and cities, Bus Éireann also runs bus services within the other cities in the Republic.

Bus Feda

The name that actually appears on these coaches is that of Feda Ó Dónaill, but it is easy to see that we would be talking about the same operation. There is a bi-daily route between Donegal and Galway via Sligo and Mayo that was the cause of my realising this operation existed and there is a Donegal to Glasgow route as well. Otherwise, private hire and excursion services complete what is on offer.

Cobh Connect

Frequent daily coach services linking Cobh with Carrigtwohill, Little Island and Cork city centre are the mainstay of this operation. There are two routes: a seven-day one between Cobh and Cork city and a Monday to Friday one linking Cobh with Carrigtwohill and Little Island. The first of these might have had a use for a recent evening visit to Cobh, but I stuck with rail travel instead. Otherwise, they really are a good offer to commuters.

Cork Connect

To my eyes, this looks like a sister operation to Cobh Connect, yet there is no admission of that on either website. The service here is a Monday to Friday offering that links Holyhill, Cork city centre and Little Island. Again, commuters possibly make up the target market for this though other travellers could find this useful too, and I wonder it connects with a Cobh Connect service as well.

Dublin Bus

Even after tendering of some of their routes to another service provider, this state-owned subsidiary still runs most of the bus services in the Irish capital together with numerous commuter counterparts linking the city with areas surrounding it.

Dublin Coach

2009 wouldn’t have struck me as the best time to be starting up an hourly coach service in Éire, but that is what this operation is. Looking again at the website, it would appear that this is an enterprise founded by the founder of Aircoach who has gone on to other things since that enterprise was sold to First. The appearance of Quickparks on the site footer would suggest that and there also is a coach touring company catering for visitors to Ireland too.

With the start date for the new company, one had to wonder if it would succeed. It would appear that they are doing OK because they now have two routes: the M7 between Limerick and Dublin and the original N7 from Portlaoise to Dublin Airport. Frequencies are hourly on both and look very good services to be offering too, particularly given that they use coaches.

Dublin Express

This National Express currently limits itself to just one thing: running coaches between Dublin’s city centre and its airport, much as Aircoach did in its early days. The service frequency is half-hourly and even includes the city’s Heuston Station, its western train terminus, as one of its stops along the quays together with Tara Street Station for connecting with suburban and east coast train services.


Though primarily a private hire operation across Ireland and Scotland, their Swords Express and Fingal Express routes are enough to get them mentioned here. Both are commuter services to and from the city centre with the purpose of the first of these being self-explanatory. The second one serves such localities as Skerries, Rush and Lusk at peak times on working weekdays while the first is a seven-day service offering at least a half-hourly frequency throughout the day.


During a previous trip to Ireland, I noticed a sign at a Dublin Airport bus stance for this company. Curiosity took me online, and I later heard about them from others. At the time of writing, they operate coaches between Dublin Airport and Killarney every day of the week from early until late. There are five journeys in each direction that call at Farranfore, Abbeyfeale, Newcastle West and Adare along the way. These will be complemented by routes operating between Dublin Airport and Limerick, and between Dublin Airport and Ennis. These will add to the travel options that are available today, so it will be interesting how things go for this Limerick-headquartered company.

Go-Ahead Ireland

There was a time when Dublin Bus operated nearly all the Irish capital city’s metropolitan bus services as well as many extending into nearby counties where commuters live. The tendering of 25 Outer Dublin Metropolitan Area (ODMA) routes changed that and Go-Ahead became the sole beneficiary. In addition, they also operate 5 Dublin Commuter routes. The state owns most if not all the vehicles used in both contracts and Go-Ahead needed to set up new depots as well as recruiting a new team of staff.

Irish Citylink

This is the Irish cousin of Scottish Citylink and providers of services to places such as Ballina, Clifden, Cork, Dublin, Limerick, Shannon Airport, Galway and Dublin Airport. For a time, they directly owned many if not all of their coaches, but that has changed to a franchising model. Unlike in Scotland where there are several contractors operating Citylink services, there is only one in Ireland and that is based in Galway. The result is that Citylink feels like a Galway headquartered organisation from the information presented on its website. It certainly is a counterpoint in a country where so much is headquartered in its capital city, so it’s good to see that success doesn’t need it either.

J. J. Kavanagh & Sons

When I was at university in Cork, I saw coaches from this long-established (since 1919, apparently) family-owned operation quite a lot. Even so, they seem to have expanded from their original Urlingford base since then to amass a not inconsiderable number of routes served by a fleet of coaches. Private hire is part of their business too, but it’s the services to places like Dublin Airport and Clonmel that earns them their place in this list.

Kilbride Coaches

In addition to their private hire work, this company also operates rural routes between Kilkenny, New Ross and Graiguenamanagh so that gets them an entry here and makes local explorations all the more feasible. It was a section of an Irish outdoor adventure guidebook that brought this to my attention while highlighting water sports possibilities in the area.

Local Link

Probably more of a transport network than a bus company, this organisation complements other Irish operators by offering additional rural bus services to be used by local people. Kerry is one stronghold and there are routes in numerous other counties, with one bus travelling from Skibbereen to Kinsale looking well patronised when I saw it. One of their routes in West Limerick has been especially useful for me too.

M & A Coaches

It was the dropping of some stops from Bus Éireann’s Cork-Dublin Expressway coach service that was the cause of this Kilkenny-based (Ballyragget, actually) coach hire operator providing a local service to cover for the omissions after securing a contract to do so from the National Transport Authority. That was the 828 between Urlingford, Abbeyleix and Portlaoise and a newer service 828X began between Cashel, Urlingford and Portlaoise. Timetables for both of these are on the website and offer several departures a day with a more extensive service offering from Monday to Saturday than on Sundays. The main focus is on daytime services with none early in the morning and later ones on Fridays and Sundays, possibly because of folk travelling home from elsewhere, more likely Dublin, for weekends. Sometimes, a focus on faster journeys can cut out others while making opportunities for more.

Matthews Coaches

On forays via Dublin Airport, I have noticed coaches operated by these people working what appeared to be scheduled services. Their website confirms that impression with places such as Dundalk, Drogheda and Bettystown being connected with Dublin’s city centre.

West Cork Connect

This family-owned operation came to my notice while planning a summer day trip to Bantry from Cork city. They also operate a service linking the city with Skibbereen, and there are plans afoot for a Kinsale service. The Skibbereen service is the more frequent and that is their home base too. Even so, the service frequencies are not as extensive as those offered by Bus Éireann. Still, the promise of lower fares and the ability to book ahead of travel time makes them worth noting.

Wexford Bus

Not only does this operator run services around Wexford town and county, but they also connect the county with Dublin and Cork too. Until the Christmas 2010 arctic weather, I hadn’t heard of them, yet their service frequencies look impressive for most of what they provide.