Taxis, Double-Deckers, And Trams: Getting Around In Dublin, Ireland

DUBLIN — If there’s one thing you need to know about me, it’s that I love public transportation.

And in European cities like Dublin, Ireland, there’s always a tram or quick bus to whisk me around. While Dublin has an extensive light rail and bus system, I can say in the several days I’ve been here, there is something to be desired about the accessibility of the system.

Don’t get me wrong, getting to ride a double-decker bus was more than I could have hoped for, but delayed buses, bare-bones maps and confusing routes did not help a group of jet-lagged American students get around a new city.

Like the time we all tried to ride the city’s light rail, the Luas, during our second night in town. We only went two stops before everyone was evacuated off the line by a security guard. This was not good for a group of hangry students.

Streets are painted with reminders to pedestrians so foreigners like me don’t walk into incoming traffic.

At times it seemed user error can have disproportionate consequences — and getting a seat isn’t always your friend. Audrey Deiser, a journalism major, spent a good 15 minutes planning her route the night before a 9:30 a.m. interview, woke up early but jumped on a tram running in the wrong direction.

She fell asleep for about 10 minutes and then found herself 20 minutes outside the city in the opposite direction of where she wanted to be.

To make things worse, on the way back, her tram broke down and was evacuated. Rain started to pour down just as she took up position at the stop to wait for her third attempt at riding the green line to Tara Street station. Needless to say, she missed the interview.

“I learned to pay attention to which way the tram was going — and always to pack an umbrella,” Dieser said. “I would now consider myself an expert on the green line.”

We also learned very soon into our time in Dublin to flag down busses to get the drivers to stop for you. IU School of Global and International Studies junior Erin Patterson got caught in the rain for 30 minutes before finally getting on a bus.
“I didn’t have enough money to pay for a taxi,” she said. “When I was talking to other people at the bus stop, they said the buses are routinely 10 to 15 minutes behind the published schedule.”

That small, blue sign hidden on the side of a building? That’s the street sign.

Don’t want to deal with public transportation and rely on walking? All I can say is good luck.

While it might seem intuitive to place street signs at intersections on roadways, signs in Dublin are posted on the side of buildings, almost tucked away above the average person’s sightline. Just to make it more complicated, smaller streets don’t always have signs.

And of course, it doesn’t help that people drive on the opposite side of street, making everything a little more harrowing.

Despite the setbacks and challenges with getting around the city, we made it to (almost) all of our interviews and found our bearings in a new city.