Most tourists travel to the island of Ireland by air and arrive at one of 5 main Irish airports – Dublin, Shannon, Cork, Ireland West Airport Knock and Belfast in Northern Ireland (UK). Here are some things to know about each airport before booking your flight.
Dublin airport is Ireland’s biggest and busiest airport with the most flight arrivals & departures by a long shot. A lot of tourists arrive at this airport on the east-coast even if their travel itinerary takes them straight over to the west-coast and the Wild Atlantic Way.
Location: North of Dublin near Swords.
Connections: Bus connections to Dublin city centre and to other Irish cities leave from a platform in front of the airport. A taxi into the city takes around 30 minutes and costs €20-€30.
+ Most flights offered, most airlines
+ Good public transport connections
– Can take longer to get in & out
Shannon airport can be a great alternative do Dublin airport coming from North America, especially if you plan to travel along the Wild Atlantic Way.
Location: Shannon, Co. Clare
Connections: Bus connections to Limerick and other major Irish cities leave from the airport. A taxi to Limerick takes around 30 minutes and costs €30-€40.
+ Smaller airport offering transatlantic flights
+ Fast to get in & out
– Limited airport facilities
Cork airport is the second largest Irish airport and offers flights to several destinations in the EU and UK. It’s a good choice if you want to explore the south of Ireland.
Location: South of Cork
Connections: Bus connections to Cork city centre and from there all over Ireland. A taxi to Cork city costs about €20 and takes 15 minutes.
+ Offers a lot of destination in EU & UK
+ Modern terminal
– No transatlantic flights
While the primary motivation for building this airport was to attract pilgrims to Knock Shrine, Knock airport now attracts many tourists who seek to explore the north-westerly part of the Wild Atlantic Way. Since this very small airport serves mostly connections to the UK and some EU destinations, it is often used by locals for a quick escape or family visit or international tourists following an England/Scotland-Ireland.
Location: Knock/Charlestown Co. Mayo
Connections: Bus services are increasing, and regular connections are available to towns and villages in Donegal, Galway Sligo and Mayo.
+ Not crowded
+ Fast in & out
– No transatlantic flights
Centrally located in Northern Ireland the Belfast International airport can be a good alternative to Dublin for travellers who want to start their itinerary in the North.
Location: Aldergrove, north-west of Belfast
Connections: Bus connections from the front of the terminal to Belfast, Lisburn and Derry. Taxi to the centre takes around 30-60 minutes depending on traffic and costs about £30-£40.
+ Transatlantic flights
– In the UK and not the EU – might have different entry requirements