I never considered Dublin Airport as an easy travel option from Northern Ireland, opting more for flights from Belfast to London, which really just added an extra flight to most long-haul journeys. But, partly due to crap airports in Northern Ireland, I now prefer flights in-and-out of Dublin, and with simple buses between Dublin Airport to Belfast by Bus travel really is a lot easier now. Anyway, in short, there are three bus firms (Aircoach, Translink and Bus Eireann) running regular buses from Dublin Airport to Belfast Europa Station (Glengall Street) as well as through the night (24/7). The journey takes roughly 2 hours and single tickets vary from £8 when booking online to £18 when not (similar prices in Euros). Fares can also be paid in either currency.
Dublin Airport to Belfast By Bus
There are 3 different Dublin Airport buses to Belfast City Centre, all fairly similar with comfortable coaches, lots of luggage storage underneath, and free wifi on board. Prices are also relatively similar (a few pounds/euros difference) and booking online in advance will always be cheaper (near half the price). All buses to Belfast leave from the bus stops outside Dublin Airport arrivals (T1 and T2) on Atrium Road. To find them, just follow the signs saying “Buses / Coach Park” from arrival in Dublin Airport.
Aircoach (Route 705X)
Aircoach Ireland is the only actual express Dublin Airport to Belfast Bus, as the other coaches make 3 stops along the route in Northern Ireland. It is also the nearest bus stop to the doors of the arrival Terminal where it’s found directly opposite the arrival building at Dublin Airport at Zone 11 (Stop 1). Buses leave every hour or so throughout the day. Official Timetable and Booking Here.
Translink Goldline (Route X1/X2)
Translink is the Northern Irish based coach firm for travel from Dublin Airport to Belfast by Bus. Again, services run every hour or so, departing from Zone 10 at Dublin Airport arrivals (take a left from the main exit) with buses arriving at the main Belfast Europa Station. Along the way, there will be short stops at Newry (Bus Centre), Banbridge (Kenlis Street) and Sprucefields (Shopping Centre) in Lisburn. Full info on their website.
Bus Eireann (Route X1/X2)
Bus Eireann actually run in conjunction with Translink, so the timetable is no different (Official Timetable Here), and, other than the actual buses, the journey is pretty much the same. So I am only really adding this here to clear any confusion between the two. However, if paying in Euros, or if you’re familiar with Bus Eireann and their booking system, then they may be the better option for the Dublin Airport Bus to Belfast.
Belfast Europa Station (Glengall Street)
All Dublin Airport to Belfast buses will arrive to the main Belfast Europa Station (or outside on Glengall Street) in Belfast City Centre. The station is found on the main Great Victoria Street road where it connects conveniently to the main train station (Great Victoria Street station) meaning it’s just very easy for onward travel in Northern Ireland. And regular trains run daily from Belfast to Bangor (Gold Coast Trainline) from early to late (around 06:00 to 22:30). The station is also central to local tourist attractions (Belfast is small), and the City Hall is less than 400 meters by foot, and most Belfast City Hotels are within walking distance (nearby hotels here).
Useful Travel Information
My most recent journey was probably the most awkward, when I arrived at Dublin Airport at night time, with no bus ticket, and not enough money in either currency to pay for the bus to Belfast (I had 10 Euros and 15 Pounds). Fortunately the driver did accept a mix of both currencies and the journey cost me £18 from Dublin Airport to Belfast Europa Station.
What Time do Buses Finish?
All buses from Dublin Airport to Belfast run through the night (24/7) and are even relatively regular in the early hours of the morning. However onward transport and travel from Belfast Europa Station will not be possible as the station closes at around midnight. After hours the buses will otherwise arrive and disembark Glengall Street, behind the station, and taxis are not hard to find. And most hotels are within walking distance anyway (quick list here).
Paying for Tickets? Currency?
Cash cards are not currently accepted on the buses (cash only) but there are plenty of cash machines / ATMs inside Dublin Airport with withdrawals offered in both currencies. Because Dublin Airport is obviously in Ireland (Euros) while Belfast is in Northern Ireland (Pounds) so this can complicate travel for those arriving from outside a Eurozone. Fortunately it is possible to pay in both British Pounds and Euros on the busses as awell as a mix of both (when I tried on Bus Eireann).
How Long Does it Take?
Without traffic, the journey should take almost exactly an hour. The first hour follows the main motorways from Ireland to Northern Ireland, without any stops, before crossing the border at Newry in Northern Ireland. If travelling on the Aircoach buses the express journey will be direct from Dublin Airport to Belfast City Centre. When travelling on either Translink or Bus Eireann there will otherwise be short stops at Newry (Bus Centre), Banbridge (Kenlis Street) and Sprucefields (Shopping Centre) before the stop at Belfast Europa.