Wales v Ireland: how to get there, how to get tickets and more
Joe Schmidt’s side are in the Welsh capital for their penultimate World Cup warm-up
A view of the Principality Stadium, where Ireland will meet Wales on August 31st. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
As the Rugby World Cup rumbles ever close, prospects of a last-minute trip to Japan seem further and further away.
Ireland’s last trip to Cardiff saw them comprehensively beaten 25-7 in the final round of the 2019 Six Nations, as Warren Gatland’s side secured the Grand Slam.
The two sides meet again in the Welsh capital on Saturday, August 31st - just three weeks out from Ireland’s RWC opener against Scotland on Sunday, September 22nd.
And you could be at the Principality (or Millennium) Stadium to see Schmidt’s side in action before the real business gets underway. Here is everything you need to know.
The match kicks-off at 2.30pm, which means a day trip is on the cards. While Ryanair don’t fly between Dublin airport and Cardiff airport, Flybe and Aer Lingus do. You can combine these two airlines and book Dublin-Cardiff on Saturday morning with Flybe (depart 8.30am, arrive 9.30am) for €132, with a return journey through Aer Lingus (depart 10.50pm, arrive 11.50pm) costing €41*. There are no day trips available from Knock, Belfast or Shannon.
Cardiff airport is roughly 11 miles from the city centre, and the best option to get into town is the T9 bus. It’s a free service on the weekends which runs every 20 minutes, and it takes approximately 40 minutes to get to the Cardiff Central station stop on Penarth Road - which sits in the shadow of the Principality Stadium. Alternatively, a cab will cost roughly £35-45 one way - with Uber a cheaper option (between £27-38 for an Uber X). Either way, you should have plenty of time to make it to and from the airport either side of a 2.30pm kick-off and still have time to see the city.
An alternative option would be to fly to Bristol and then get the train to Cardiff. Ryanair operate a redeye out of Dublin into Bristol which is currently priced at €34 (depart 6.35am, arrive 7.40am), with trains from Bristol Temple Meads and Cardiff Central costing around £10 one way and taking between 45-55 minutes, depending on the service. Ryanair also operate a suitable evening flight from Bristol back to Dublin (depart 9.10pm, arrive 10.10pm) for €21.99, which is makeable given there are roughly four trains an hour back to Bristol, and the close proximity of Cardiff Central station to the stadium. There is a regular bus service between Bristol Temple Meads and the airport which runs every seven minutes and takes 25 minutes (cost £11 return).
If you fancy making a weekend of it there are options to fly on Friday with Flybe and Aer Lingus before returning on Sunday - or indeed Saturday to Sunday - but by far the cheapest option is to travel via Bristol, with a Friday-Sunday return available with Ryanair for around €135. Ryanair also operate a Knock-Bristol route and you can fly Friday-Sunday (out 1.55pm, return 2.10pm) for around € 184.
That’s the easy bit out of the way - Cardiff has gained notoriety for the scarcity and eye-watering cost of accommodation when there are big sporting events on, with the 2015 Rugby World Cup and 2017 Champions League final springing to mind. However, with this match being a warm-up it’s a bit easier to find somewhere to stay, and you can find a twin room for two nights at a four star hotel for around €300 via Booking.com. There are also plenty of options on Airbnb, with Cardiff’s small centre meaning places in the suburbs are still suitable for a weekend visit.
The Millennium Stadium is the hottest ticket in town for the big games but much more accessible for the ‘smaller’ ones, such as the Ireland warm-up. You can purchase tickets around the ground - albeit in the upper tier - starting at £40 for adults and £10 for children. They are available HERE.
Where to drink
The stadium is located in the heart of the city centre at the top of the lively St Mary’s street, meaning there are countless options a short walk away.
- The City Arms (10-12 Quay Street) - a traditional pub with a decent ale selection located between St Mary’s Street and the Millennium Stadium. Popular on match days.
- The Queens Vaults (29 Westgate Street) - a no-nonsense boozer in the shadow of the Millennium Stadium, which has pool tables, a decent beer selection and serves food.
- The Prince of Wales (81-83 St Mary’s Street) - located right next to the train station, this Wetherspoons is located in a former picture house and is perfectly located for a pre-match pints.
*all prices corrrect as of Sunday August 4th