Iarnród Éireann or Irish Rail operate three different versions of first class. On the Belfast Enterprise service between Dublin and Belfast, it is called Enterprise Plus or First Plus.
On services between Dublin and Cork it is called CITYGOLD or First Class. Other services around Ireland feature Premier Class. All of these are referred to as first class when making a booking. Confusing, right?
The most cost effective way to book first class travel on Irish Rail is to upgrade your standard class ticket. When doing this I noticed there are two separate price points which show you which kind of first class you will get.
Premier Class upgrades are priced at €12.50 per journey whereas Enterprise Plus and CITYGOLD cost €25.00. This is mainly because the seating and amenities are better on the important services from Dublin to Cork and Belfast.
There are two stations serving trains in Dublin which are Heuston and Connolly. Heuston services the South and West while Connolly serves the North and West. I arrived at Heuston about 30 minutes before the scheduled departure of my service.
Surprisingly you can board your service this early. I passed through the automatic ticket gates and walked down to my train. The attendant at the door to Premier Class did not really understand why I had two tickets but she found all in order and let me board.
Premier Class Cabin
When you book your ticket on the Irish Rail web site you can choose to have your name displayed above your seat. I recommend doing this as I have heard many stories of people refusing to move for people even when they have a ticket. The name over the seat is the definitive solution to this issue.
This class of travel has the same kind of seating arrangement as Standard Class. Two by two with tables in between most seats. What I did not like was the fact that all the seats seemed to have crumbs and what not on them from the previous trip. The cabin should be cleaner.
All the tables feature a lamp and there are Irish standard power plugs located under the table. This makes charging devices really quite simple. In between each batch of seats is a bin for rubbish.
Seats are fixed and the most they adjust is to choose to have the arm rest up or down. They are fairly hard but this does not mean they are uncomfortable. I found them quite fine for the 100 minutes on board.
Food and Drink
On boarding there is a menu sitting on each table and this features as selection of food to eat on board. I find the menu for Premier Class to be quite well thought out.
Soon after departure, an attendant arrives to ask if you would like a complimentary tea or coffee. Next you are asked if you would like to order from the menu. I could not decide between the Waterford Blaa and the Handmade Sausage Roll so I chose both.
There is a habit in Ireland of including a handful of crisps with a meal and this extends to this train service. Happily Ballymaloe Relish is included with the condiments, so I put the entire pot on my blaa.
For those wondering, a blaa is a soft floury bun that comes from the city of Waterford. They are divine! Both selections for my meal were very very tasty and I left nothing behind.
After your meal is cleared, the attendant comes back to take payment. Today they were not accepting cards as something was wrong with the machine so it was cash only. It was no problem! Soon enough, I arrived at my destination and left the train.
Probably the best thing about Premier Class is that it is not very busy. It makes for a quieter experience with less chance of other passengers surrounding you. The only perks apart from this are the single complimentary tea or coffee that is provided and service at your seat.
Luckily the meal service is very good, offering a decent range of snacks and meals guaranteed to fill you up. I certainly think Premier Class is worth the €12.50 upgrade price. Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.