Irish Rail offer two classes of service on many services in Ireland. Standard class is the main service offered and there are also small first class sections available as well.

First class offers dining at your seat which you must pay for and a quieter and more exclusive cabin. On some services, notably the Dublin to Cork and Dublin to Belfast trains, the seating is better as well.

Upgrading On Irish Rail

It is possibly the most convoluted process to upgrade on Irish Rail. Upgrades are €25.00 or €12.50 depending on the service. As mentioned above, the services with better seats cost the higher amount to upgrade. Booking a ticket is straightforward and you are presented with options such as the below.


Knowing that an upgrade is €25.00 means you logically would select one of the standard fares and then upgrade. Choosing the €17.99 fare would mean the total using an upgrade to first class is €42.99 which is a tidy saving. How do you do it though?

Here’s How To Upgrade

When you receive your booking confirmation, there is no obvious way to upgrade. Indeed, there is no real mention of it anywhere on the web site, probably so you will not know about it. What you need to do it make a second booking.


A seat only reservation is needed and this is literally to select a seat. When you click it, a box pops up and you tick the box and then search the exact same train service you have your standard class ticket on. The next screen should look like this.


You can see here that the first class ticket is €25.00 which is the upgrade. After this, proceed through the payment and now you have a second ticket. When you arrive at the station, you need to collect both your standard and first class ticket in order to travel.

Why Is It So Hard, Irish Rail?

Irish Rail – Iarnród Éireann in Irish – certainly have the strangest upgrade procedure ever. It makes no sense at all and definitely does not actively entice you into spending more money.


I am not exactly a stranger to making bookings on the Internet and even I had to do a bit of trawling to find out how to do it. On Twitter, they said last month to someone else that they were looking at making improvements to this process. It can’t come soon enough!

Overall Thoughts

Saving money by booking in advance is something I am a fan of. Plenty of money is saved when upgrading to first class on Irish Rail rather than booking at the price offered.

Hopefully Iarnród Éireann will move into the 21st century and upgrade the booking system to cater for passengers wanting to upgrade more than it does today. Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Dawgz via Wikimedia Commons.