University student Niamh Shields shares an introduction to Dublin's tricky transport system for rural newcomers.

College Corner columnist Niamh Shields

Hi all,Ah Dublin Buses, they are both a mixture of fear and pleasure! I remember my first few experiences, my inner Culchie just wanted to click my Penneys’ finest boots together and say repeatedly, ‘There’s no place like home’.

Ah Dublin Buses, they are both a mixture of fear and pleasure! I remember my first few experiences, my inner Culchie just wanted to click my Penneys’ finest boots together and say repeatedly, ‘There’s no place like home’.

It was terrible, the bus drivers never look you in the eye, the fear of getting off in time and not to mention find your destination. It was all very overwhelming, but with a few cringe moments like falling on my behind, getting off the wrong stop etc, I got the hang of it quickly.

Here a few tricks you might like to know.

You need the EXACT change

One of the bus driver’s pet peeves is people not having the correct change, because you can’t get your change back at once! You will be given a receipt to go back to the city and get your money back, which at the end of the day is just hassle. Notes will not be taken on the bus.

Depending on where you are going, most times the bus journey costs €2.70. From Glasnevin to St. Patrick’s College (This is where I travel to and from most days) it is €2.00.

When I first started my mum gave me a change purse, filled with coppers to the brim. At first, I was a little embarrassed but until I got my Leap Card it saved my life. Mums really do know best folks.

Dublin Bus app

The Dublin Bus App is by far the most frequent app I use on my phone, except Instagram of course! The App allows you to find your stop number, route number etc and tells you how long your chosen bus will be. It gives you a full timetable dedicated to Dublin buses. It is available both for iPhone and Android users.

Would highly recommend if you are a punctuality freak and prefer to be on time like me!

Leap Cards – 

Being an arts student at DCU means I must commute between the two campuses, Glasnevin, and St. Patrick’s College, so it basically I spend a lot of money on public transport.

My leap card saved my life and my finance! * That sounded like a cringe bank loan advertisement *

Leap cards are a more convenient way of paying for public transport and saves you carrying change, good-bye change purse. You save 20% off your travels! You simply top up at your college or by card.

You scan your card and tell the bus driver your destination. The leap card allows you to get so much off your travels, and if you’re socially awkward like Niamh here, there is a scanner past the bus driver which allows you to scan your card automatically.

It’s available outside Dublin too, in Cork, Galway, Limerick, and Waterford. I purchased mine at the College however there are forms available which you can post away for to obtain your leap card also.

Always put your hand out at the stops – 

Although there may be many people at the bus stop you’re at, there are also many buses. This means they may not be getting the same bus as you, so always make sure when you see the bus to put your hand out to let him/her know you want on, there is nothing worse waiting another ten mins for your bus to come!

Be quick and think RED – Dublin bus drivers are on a strict time schedule so they tend to drive and stop fast. Sometimes they can drive off before you have gotten down the stairs. A little trick I have learned is getting ready to leave at the stop before your destination, so you’re ready to go. Remember to press the red stop button when destination has been announced so the bus driver knows to stop.


Walk with class –

Try to watch your step and be careful of the speed the driver is doing because clumsy Niamh always falls leaving herself completely red faced. People can tell I’m a culchie straight away.


Don’t be afraid to ask others –  

Sometimes I remember being on the bus by myself and worrying if I wasn’t on the right one or not knowing when my stop was. I would be so afraid to ask anyone in case they would laugh or ignore me. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Find people that are your own age group, they are the best to ask questions. I remember asking a girl who was in third year at DCU and she told me the best buses to get, the Dublin bus app and the leap card.

People ask me questions and I couldn’t be happier to help, we’ve all been there before so don’t be afraid to ask.


Remember your Culchie manners –  

Although some bus drivers aren’t the nicest of people. Be the better person by smiling and saying thank you when you reach your destination!


I hope this helps when you begin your journeys on the Dublin bus! Don’t be nervous because there will be most people on the same bus with the same feelings! Just have your change or Leap card, know your stop, press the red button when your destination is called and ignore the grumpy bus drivers! You will be fine, if this ditzy Donegal Doll can do it, you certainly can.


Lots of Love,