Ireland is delighted to welcome visitors with disabilities and visitors with reduced mobility. The standard of services and amenities is improving all the time.
Before arriving in Ireland it is now possible to map out your journey. The National Journey Planner system provides door-to-door information on all available travel options for journeys to, from and within the Republic of Ireland. In addition to this the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport currently hosts some general information for people with mobility difficulties.
Under European Law, if you are disabled or have difficulty moving around you can pre-book to receive assistance when you fly to and from Europe. It is advised that you ask for assistance at least 48 hours in advance. Airports will provide special assistance to get you to and from your flight free of charge, including checking in and getting through security. The Commission for Aviation Regulation has developed Flight Rights as the main source of information.
The list below gives the contact details for special needs assistance in every airport in Ireland:
Airports in the Republic of Ireland
Airports in Northern Ireland
There are new European Union regulations governing maritime travel. In Ireland the National Disability Authority and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport have published guidelines ensuring maritime travel is accessible to all.
Dublin Bus is the main public transport provider for the Greater Dublin Area. Most of its fleet is made up of low-floor buses which have one wheelchair space that fits standard wheelchairs of up to 70cm wide and 20cm long.
Dublin has two tram lines known as the Luas. As the most recent addition to Dublin's public transport sector it is compliant with current accessibility and environmental standards for transport systems.
For Intercity and countrywide rail services in the Republic of Ireland, trains hold a limited number of wheelchair places. Irish Rail advises that those travelling with a wheelchair book in advance.
For those with limited mobility travelling in Northern Ireland, the Translink website includes an extensive guide on services for travelers with disabilities. It is recommended that you plan your journey in advance as not all buses or trains are accessible.
Bus Éireann's accessible services include a number of buses with entrance ramps and designated wheelchair spaces. Almost 70% of their passenger fleet is accessible. Advance booking is required on inter-city routes.
Wheelchair accessible taxis
These taxis must have specialist equipment including ramps, wheelchairs anchorages and suitable seatbelts. They must display the accessibility symbol on their roof sign. They must accommodate at least one person seated in their wheelchair and at least three other passengers and give priority to bookings for people with disabilities. Contact the National Transport Authority for information on wheelchair accessible taxis.
Disabled car parking
There are a range of parking facilities available to people with disabilities in towns and cities throughout Ireland. They are always located in "prime" parking spots beside building entrances, in city/town centres, etc. These parking bays are clearly marked for use by disabled people by both signs and road markings.
Although local authorities have no legal obligation to provide parking bays for people with disabilities, a certain number of spaces are available in all local authority on-street parking, local authority car parks and public building car parks. The location of these spaces will be laid down in local authority bye-laws. For more info on disabled car spaces contact the local authority/council of the area in which you're visiting and you can access a full list of local authorites in the Republic of Ireland.
Motability Ireland provides car rentals to reduced mobility customers for use all over the island of Ireland. Their vehicles come with fully comprehensive insurance and 24-hour AA roadside assistance. The staff can even organize airport/ferry collections and drop-offs for you.
Accessible Ireland is a great resource for a list of accommodation options with disabled facilities.
The ABLE Q Mark for Accessibility is a logo to look out for. ABLE was introduced in 2012 and you'll see the logo in tourism businesses including hotels and self-catering cottages. On the accommodation database you'll see establishments that have achieved the ABLE Q mark for accessibilty. Cuisle is one holiday centre built specifically for disabled visitor on a 50-acre site belonging to Donamon Castle.
Accessible Ireland lists many tourists attractions with disabled amenities in Ireland. Some of Ireland's historic sites, such as abbeys, castles and ruins, may not be as accessible as modern attractions such as Titanic Belfast.
Castles and towers may have a ground floor that is accessible; however, they are less likely to have lifts. Heritage Ireland manages many of Ireland's heritage sites, providing information on each site's accessibility. In Northern Ireland, the National Trust runs sites such as The Giant's Causeway and has great access information for each site including parking, toilets and the grounds.