Tourism Abroad - Disabled Accessibility

Dublin, Ireland - May 2015

The Airline and the Airport

At Heathrow Central, we disembarked the bus and proceeded down to catch the Heathrow Express to get to Terminal Five.  This is all fully accessible, but the only problem is lack of signage, one train goes to Paddington and the other goes to Terminals Four and Five.

Heathrow Terminal Five is all fully accessible, with lifts, escalators and plenty of space.  We boarded the British Airways flight via a walkway and I had a one-to-one with a flight attendant explaining the safety guidelines.

At Dublin Airport all is fully accessible, with lifts and disabled toilets and we departed the plane via a walkway.  The bus from the airport to the hotel had a disabled bay.

At the Hotel

Spencer Hotel is located about half a mile from the heart of Dublin.  This hotel has two lifts to all seven floors.  Our room was spacious and the bathroom had a disabled toilet and a bathtub/shower which was accessible.

Getting Around

Dublin is quite similar to London with wide pavements making it easy to roam. There are plenty of ways to get around Dublin, with buses, trams and taxis.  Buses have an electronic ramp to access them, with a disabled bay inside.  We obtained a 72 hour bus pass after some negotiating, got two passes at a reduced rate; there is no free pass for carer. Priority seating for disabled travellers is on all public transport, and taxis are rather cheap as well.


Trinity College and the Book of Kells

A ramp was in place and we were allowed to go to front of the queue. This appears to be the norm in Dublin for disabled visitors. We were granted free entry; you normally pay for entry to Trinity College and to view the Book of Kells. There were a few steps, but there was a stair lift in place for wheelchair users.  To view the Old Library there is a lift where you need to ask the staff to use, this can take a few minutes wait.

Guinness Storehouse

Being a huge fan of the black stuff, this attraction was a must see. This attraction provided reduced admission for disabled visitors and free admission for carers. An audio guide was provided but as we were both deaf, a script was on offer. There was a disabled toilet and lifts are in place, however it was difficult to gain access to them at busy times; lifts were full at top floor and had to wait a while before there was space.

Kilmainham Gaol (Jail)

English Heritage card was acceptable here for free entry, carers are also admitted free. Usually a tour guide provided for groups but as we were deaf, we had our own guide for our party of two with the tour lasting an hour. This attraction is not suitable for wheelchair users as there are quite a few flights of steps to climb up and down.

Dublin Castle

This attraction has a very cobbled courtyard.  There was a twenty minute queue for admission with no queue skip offered. Free entry for English Heritage card holders was provided, carers admitted free. I didn’t notice a lift so had to go up a grand staircase. The lighting here was rather adequate.

Temple Bar Pub

This famous tourist attraction that we decided to visit one night. The doorman refused me admittance on the basis that he believed I was drunk and he refused to accept that it was because of my walking condition, Ataxia. Despite it being explained, and even shown an explanation of the condition on Google, he was still adamant that I was drunk. Made a complaint to Temple Bar on their Facebook page twice and each time they removed the comments. Not really accessible to wheelchair users and ignorant bar staff and doormen. I had gained access to other bars in the vicinity without any issues.

Most of the pubs had inaccessible toilets. Even disabled toilets were strangely in the basement or first floor. McDonalds in Temple Bar had a disabled toilet but was on the upper level. The lift was guarded by a security guard.

St Patrick’s Cathedral

This attraction granted us free entry with some consideration, although I don’t think it is the norm in Dublin for disabled visitors to get free entry.  The cathedral consisted of high-ceilinged vistas with a very interesting treasury down below with armoury. There was no lift and not accessible to disabled visitors unless you’re able to walk down steep steps.  In the treasury, the lighting was quite dim which made it difficult to navigate.

Sporting Emporium Casino

We spent several hours at this casino, there is lift access to all floors. Free alcoholic drinks were provided when playing table games. I played some poker, the dealer and other players were very accommodating and I was able to play independently without the aid of my support worker, despite being deaf and partially sighted.

Eating Out

Eddie Rocket’s, opposite the Spencer Hotel had accessible disabled toilets and friendly staff.

Breakfast at the Spencer Hotel was expensive so we went to the Jury’s Inn Hotel a few minutes’ walk away. Buffet style breakfast for around 10 euros per person including drinks and multiple visits to the buffet.

Dinner was rather pleasant; a few restaurants were flat to enter but had no disabled toilets.


To sum up, I felt that Dublin is rather easy to get around, with wide pavements and accessible public transport.  My main issue is lack of disabled toilets in restaurants and bars.