Airports in Ireland: Your Ultimate Guide to the Island’s Main Airports
Updated On: November 10, 2023
Is the Land of Saints and Scholars your next holiday destination yet? We mean, when will you be coming to Ireland? If you thought of where to book your trip or what airlines fly to which airport, worry not. We bring you all the need-to-know details about airports in Ireland to help you pin that needle and book your next trip to the Emerald Isle.
In this article today, we will bring you all the airports in Ireland you can land at, plus some tips for your time in these airports then, we will answer some of the Internet’s questions about these airports.
Airports in Ireland: Helping You Pinpoint Your Next Landing Destination
Dublin Airport, Ireland
Dublin, the Irish capital, has the island’s busiest airport in passenger traffic and the largest traffic in general as well, which is Dublin Airport. Fairly close to Dublin, only seven kilometres north, it contains short, medium and long hauls to serve the designated airline carriers. These hauls serve passengers worldwide, while the long haul is focused on the Middle East and North America. Dublin Airport is Ireland’s hub for many airlines, such as Ryanair and TUI Airways, and it’s the country’s main hub for Irish Airlines Aer Lingus.
Work on a civil airport that serves Dublin began in the late 1930s, with the inaugural flight taking off from Dublin Airport in 1940. Since then, the airport went through major changes, from nearly coming to a complete stop during WWII to the construction of a new arrivals terminal and adding new expansions. Dublin Airport deservingly bears the title of one of Europe’s and Ireland’s busiest airports. The airport serves more than 40 international carriers that fly to more than 100 destinations worldwide.
There are numerous services available at Dublin Airport you can benefit from; these services include:
- Car Hire: where you can hire a car from one of the many operators located at the Arrivals Terminal and on the ground.
- The airport’s hotels, the Radisson and the Maldron offer you an overnight relaxing and great experience as you prepare for your next step, whether you’re on a transit flight or staying a night before hopping onto your flight back home.
- Public Transportation: you can move to and from Dublin Airport by bus, which runs several designated lines to the airport and to the city’s centre. Moreover, there are public buses available for many of Ireland’s cities, including Northern Ireland as well. All you’ve got to do is check with the operators.
- If you have some time, you can spend it either shopping at one of the airport’s affordable shops or head to one of its luxurious stores for a sensational experience.
- More than one restaurant awaits you at Dublin Airport to grab a bite, have something to drink and ponder your thoughts as you plan your next move.
- If staying at one of the airport’s hotels isn’t the choice you desire, you can book a room at one of many hotels near Dublin Airport. Such hotels include the Premier Inn Dublin Airport Hotel, the Clayton Hotel Dublin Airport and the Carlton Hotel Dublin Airport, which are all three kilometres or less from the airport.
Come with us to explore Dublin as we bring you the best this beautiful city has to offer. We bring the best things to do in the city and where to stay, including hotels in the city centre, the best markets to check, and exciting bus tours to check the city’s main landmarks. We even bring you the best advice for the hop-on, hop-off tours that explore Dublin. Our recommendations also include cathedrals, museums and festivals.
Cork Airport, Ireland
Cork Airport is Ireland’s second largest airport, after Dublin Airport and before Shannon Airport. The gateway to the island’s south is nearly seven kilometres south of Cork City, the county’s main city and hub. While Cork Airport comes after Dublin Airport in passenger traffic, it comes third after Dublin Airport and Belfast International as the island’s busiest airport. Aer Lingus and Ryanair are the two main airlines with the largest traffic in Cork Airport. Other airlines operating at the airport include Lufthansa and Air France, which mostly run seasonal flights only.
For an international airport, Cork Airport provides you with all the facilities and services you might need before and after your flight. Such services include shops, restaurants, cafés, bars, prayer rooms, ATMs, currency exchange and a business lounge, and Wi-Fi is available for free. The airport has two airport hotels: the Cork International Hotel and the Cork Airport Hotel.
All public transportation can take you to and from Cork Airport, such as the bus and the railway. Car renting kiosks are available at the airport, where you can either rent a new car or drop your rental.
Your itinerary in County Cork will be a busy one, with so many places to visit and activities to enjoy, whether you’re in the city for just one day or giving it a few more days to enjoy. You can visit the Cork City Gaol or the Fota Wildlife Park, for example. Not to mention grabbing a sumptuous bite at one of the city’s delightful restaurants.
Knock Airport, Ireland
In County Mayo, in Ireland’s west that borders the Atlantic Ocean, is Charlestown, where Ireland West Airport is located. The recently built airport, only in the 1980s, was perceived by many as impossible to build. The suggested location for the airport proved to be too muddy to allow construction and provide stable aeroplane runways, not to mention the foggy weather. However, what originally started as a tourist and pilgrims attraction plan to the nearby Knock Shrine, proved to be the island’s fourth busiest airport.
Aer Lingus and Ryanair are the two airlines operating at Knock Airport, flying to nearly 20 regular and seasonal destinations. Ireland West Airport serves the area of Connacht in Ireland, and its services and facilities will ease your travel time. There are cafés, restaurants, bars, numerous shops, a Visitor Discovery Centre to learn more about West Ireland, cash and ATM machines, prayer rooms, lounge and internet and Wi-Fi services, just to name a few.
Visiting west Ireland is an exciting adventure; there’s County Galway to the south, and not to forget the magnificent Wild Atlantic Way overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, where you might just embark on the most exciting adventure of your life. The hard-cut cliffs, eroded by years of clashing seawater and foggy weather, present some of the world’s scenic and breathtaking views.
Farranfore Airport, Ireland
Farranfore Airport, or Kerry Airport, is another international airport in Ireland. The airport’s name comes from the village of Farranfore, where the airport was built in the 1960s. However, it wasn’t until the end of the following decade that the first service plane landed at the airport. Over the following ten years, after several upgrades to the terminals and runway, a scheduled flight took off from Dublin to Kerry. Today, many of the flights taking off from Farranfore Airport are regularly scheduled flights operated by Aer Lingus and Ryanair.
Are you planning on staying in Kerry for some time? How about we take you through all the incredible things to do in County Kerry? Need we mention the exhilarating adventure through the Ring of Kerry, which ultimately connects to the Wild Atlantic Way? This idyllic adventure will soak you deep in Irish history, beauty and magnificence.
Shannon Airport, Ireland
Shannon Airport holds one of the first five spots of Ireland’s busiest airports, alongside Dublin Airport, Belfast International, Cork Airport and Knock Airport. Shannon Airport began as Rineanna Airport in the 1930s, with the first flight using the airfield in 1939. Three years later, the serviceable airport was established and airlines, such as Aer Lingus, began scheduling regular flights. At the time, the airport’s name changed to Shannon Airport. In 1974, five years later, Shannon Airport set an example for the world’s airports by becoming its first duty-free airport.
There are five operational airlines at Shannon Airport, three of which are seasonal, and four cargo carriers. Services available at Shannon Airport mirror those available at its brother airports around the island. These services include shops, restaurants, cafés, a lounge which you can book in advance, charging points, cash and ATM machines and organised car parking.
Dublin Weston Airport is the island’s main airport for general aviation and in Dublin’s main region. General aviation includes private, executive, commercial and business travel. The airport is one of the oldest on the island, established back in 1931 when several commercial flights took off over the following two decades until they stopped in the late 1950s. There was also a training school at the airfield which began operating with more than four aeroplanes but now has one training aeroplane only.
With its poignant location between Kildare and Dublin, Weston Airport has gradually become one of the most important airfields in Ireland. The airport saw numerous renovations and upgrades over the years, such as a tarmac runway, new radar system and service buildings. Today, the Bray Air Display takes place at Weston Airport, which typically takes place at the end of July and is an exciting family event where you get to enjoy a wide selection of aircraft and the amazing stunts they can do.
Belfast International Airport
Belfast’s main airport is located around 22 kilometres to the northwest of the city, hugged by the villages of Killead and Aldergrove. The airport originally served as a training facility during WWI and then a newspapers transporter until the first civilian passenger flight took off from the airport in 1933. The airport’s current runway layout dates back to the modifications done to accommodate aircraft during WWII. Further modifications were needed after the war to make the runway, the apron and the airport facilities more suitable to welcome passengers, which continued well into the 1990s.
Over the years, many airlines have set off flights from Belfast International, and many have suspended their operations completely. The airport today serves airlines such as Ryanair, easyJet and Jet2.com, which run both regular and seasonal trips to nearly 80 destinations worldwide. Cargo airlines operating from Belfast International include only DHL.
Belfast International offers you a stay over in the Maldron Hotel, which is the airport’s on-site airport, only two minutes away. There are all the services and facilities to make your time at the airport enjoyable and pass quickly. There are restaurants, fast food restaurants, bars, baristas and even water fountains where you can refill your water bottle for free. If you’re wondering how to get to Belfast’s city centre from the airport, you can hire a car, or you can use the shuttle, which arrives at set intervals at the hotel.
If you’re wondering what to do in Belfast, look no further. Our full guides to everything Belfast, from landmarks to visit, restaurants to dine at, bars to chill at, fun things to do with the kids, romantic things to do for couples, the best cafés for a delightful dessert and a good cup o’joe and even market stalls, have missed nothing. We didn’t even forget to round up the best hotels to stay at in the heart of the city.
George Best Airport
The George Best Belfast City Airport is the second airport in Belfast that serves the area. It bears the name of Irish footballer George Best in 2006, but until then, it was known as Belfast City Airport. This airport is smaller than Belfast International and has a single runway. From its establishment in the late 1930s, George Best began as a civil airport and was the region’s main civil airport, then a base for the Royal Air Force, followed by the Royal Navy. Civil flights didn’t take off from George Best again until the beginning of the 1980s.
Unfortunately, many airlines ceased their flights from George Best after operating for several years, such as Ryanair, easyJet and Manx2. Today, there are only five airlines that operate from George Best; these include Aer Lingus, British Airways and KLM. In addition to car hiring service at the airport and the availability of public transportation stations, there are shops and retailers, restaurants, a café and the airport lounge.
City of Derry Airport
This regional airport in Northern Ireland is also known as Eglinton Airport, thirteen kilometres from Derry’s city centre, close to Eglinton. The City of Derry Airport began and remained a military airport from its establishment in 1941 until the 1950s. Civil activity at the airport commenced in the following decade, and until the end of the 1980s, the Eglinton Flying Club was the main beneficiary of the airport’s facilities and runway.
After that, a major renovation project took place to renew everything at the airport, such as expanding runways, access roads and navigation equipment, after which the airport’s name was changed to its current name. These improvements meant larger aircraft could use the runway and drew in more airlines to operate regular and seasonal flights from and to the airport, such as Air 2000 and British Airways.
At this date, there are only two airlines with regular flights from City of Derry Airport, Loganair and Ryanair, which also operate seasonal flights from the airport. Next year, two more airlines are set to join them, Air Nostrum and British Airways, adding two more seasonal destinations. We cannot miss adding our fun Derry guide for you to check out all the great things to do and enjoy in the city. Our food and hotel guides will give you tips as to where to enjoy the best taste of the city and sleep soundly during your vacation.
We hope our guide through Ireland’s main airports will help you choose your next landing destination; the Emerald Isle welcomes you!