The Pros and Cons of Student Travel in Ireland
One of the most exciting aspects of pursuing studies in Ireland is the opportunity to see the country. Ireland is a small country, but incredibly beautiful with its poetic landscapes, friendly people, and an easily adaptable culture. It is rich in history, so you get to see a lot of pre-historic monuments and ruins. You could also get a taste of its literary and musical, cultural experience. If you are already enrolled as a student in an Irish University, then perhaps it’s time to check out on student travel.
Students who travel get a lot of benefits in Ireland, provided they carry their student ID card along. Depending on your budget and time, you may choose to backpack, cycle, drive around or take flights to travel the country. Bus Éireann and Irish Rail offer special student discounts, if you provide proof in the form of a valid student ID Card. Even a few clothing stores and restaurants offer student discounts.
Public transport infrastructure is extremely good and efficient and can be relied upon for travelling around. The train network in Ireland does not fully cover the country in terms of places to see. However, the open road bus pass can be used to travel across and see even the unbeaten trails. The bus as well as the train services will be less frequent on holidays and weekend, so you need to plan accordingly. There are specialized package tours as well, if you are interested and can afford it. In fact, you can even check out dedicated backpack tours and get to meet a few other fellow travelers. Museums across the country are free for everyone.
The Leap Card
A foreign student can avail the Leap trainee card from their institution or Dublin Bus that is valid for a period of 1 to 4 weeks. This would provide you the convenience of jumping on to hop on to the DART, Luas, Iarnród Éireann’s short-hop zone and Dublin bus whenever and wherever you want, within that time period. This card can be used to explore the whole of Dublin, even the coastal villages and is valid not just within the Dublin city. If you are travelling in Northern Ireland, you may use iLink, somewhat similar to Leap card.
For travelling students, the best accommodation is the youth hostels that are found across Ireland. They are cheap, safe and best, but perhaps may be on a shared basis. During peak season, pre-booking will be needed.
As a student, if you take time out to travel, you get to learn a lot about the country and its culture. But you may lose out on valuable time to read up, research and complete your assignments. Also, you have to shell out a few extra hundred dollars for this out of your student budget. The other part is safety; it is always best to travel with known people or providers rather than hitchhike on your own in Ireland.