TVLNorth Sea journey to Ireland requires strategic planning
New York Times News Service
Q. We expect to be in Oslo or Bergen and were considering continuing on to Ireland. Can one get to Ireland via the North Sea?
A. Even after a 22-hour journey across the North Sea to England, you will still have quite a ways to go. Unless you fly, you will have to travel to the western shore of England and then cross the Irish Sea. So if you left Norway on a Tuesday morning, you would not reach Ireland until Thursday afternoon.
Fjord Line boats run three times a week from Bergen to Newcastle, England, via Stavanger. They leave Bergen at 5:30 p.m. Saturday (arriving at 4:30 p.m. Sunday), Tuesday at 11 a.m. (11 a.m. Wednesday) and Thursday at 4:45 p.m. (3:30 p.m. Friday).
Assuming a departure on Tuesday (the fares vary from day to day), the fare for the crossing is $105 a person plus $48 to $64 a person for a two-berth inside cabin; $81 to $111 for a two-berth outside cabin. Tickets can be bought through Nordic Saga Tours, in Seattle, 1-800-848-6449, fax (425) 673-2600; www.nordicsaga.com.
On the next leg of the journey, you would take a 12:40 p.m. train from Newcastle to Stranraer, Scotland, that arrives at 5:55 p.m. The fare is $91 first class, $65 standard class. After a night in Stranraer, you can take a Stena Line ferry to Belfast, Northern Ireland. The fare on the Stena Line is $45. That's true whether you go by high-speed ship, which takes 105 minutes and leaves at 5:15 and 10 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. and 7:35 p.m. (8 on Saturday) or by the regular ferry, which runs late at night and takes three hours and 15 minutes.
The rail and ferry segments can be booked through BritRail at 1-877-677-1066 or www.britrail.net. Once you're in Belfast, it's a two-hour train ride to Dublin.