As an island nation, the chances are if you want to get in or out of Ireland, then you will need to fly. Yes, a ferry is a possibility, but it really is only a viable alternative for those moving to Ireland from the United Kingdom or continental Europe. So, whether you’re looking for details on flights to airports in Ireland in advance of your arrival or are planning a trip after you get here, it’s useful to know about the selection of airports in Ireland at your disposal.
All of the airports in Ireland are international and connect to airports large and small across Europe, while Dublin, Shannon and, to a lesser degree, Cork all offer inbound and outbound services a little further afield.
If you don’t see your destination on an airline’s website, why not try checking Google Flights, Expedia or Skycanner to see their suggested flights and routes? If you are making your way to Ireland from outside the European Union (EU) then it is worth checking non-direct flights to expand your options and possibly save money.
Arrivals at Irish Airports
Remember, whether you need a visa to come to Ireland or not, you will still need to go through immigration control when you enter Ireland. You will need to show your passport and other documentation supporting your entry, if applicable.
Once you collect your baggage, you will go through customs. If you are bringing a pet, you should have its documentation ready for presentation. If you have nothing to declare, you can continue to the arrivals hall. Given the size of Dublin Airport, there is a strong chance that your inbound flight will land in the capital, so that is where we will start this tour of airports in Ireland.
Located just north of Dublin city centre, Dublin airport has by far the largest number of direct international destinations of all the Irish airports. With daily flights to many European destinations and further afield worldwide, Dublin Airport is truly a portal to the world. When it comes to airports in Ireland, Dublin Airport is the only one with two terminals; with most low-fare, European flights taking off from Terminal One, and Terminal Two being reserved for more long-haul routes.
Arrival at Dublin Airport
A bus or taxi will be available to collect you from Dublin airport, depending on where you want to go. If you choose to take the Dublin Bus service, you will be required to have the correct change. The fare will be between €3.30 and €3.60, depending on how far you want to go.
To get to different towns and cities around Ireland, there are a variety of options available from Dublin Airport, saving you a trip into Dublin.
A taxi from the airport into Dublin can cost you anywhere from €30 upwards. There is no need to tip, and you should be prepared to pay in cash, as not all taxi drivers accept credit or debit cards
Northwest of Limerick city centre, the airport is situated in Co. Clare and serves international destinations, mainly European locations and cities in the northeast of the United States. Although it is very much behind Dublin Airport in terms of passenger numbers, terminals and runways, Shannon airport has a rich and storied history in transatlantic routes between Ireland and the United States
Arrival at Shannon Airport
To get to Ennis, Galway or Limerick City (the three nearest urban centres) from Shannon Airport, Bus Eireann provide bus services from the airport. You can book a taxi in the Shannon Airport arrivals hall before you leave, to take you to Limerick or Ennis but expect to pay around €35 for this service.
Located just south of Cork city centre, Cork airport has flights to several of the top European destinations and, as of 2017, has expanded its offering to include a Norwegian Air transatlantic flight to Providence, Rhode Island in the United States.
Arrival at Cork Airport
Arrivals to Cork Airport can get a local bus, number 226, from outside the arrivals terminal to Cork city centre (Parnell Place Bus Station). There are also buses run by Bus Eireann, Citylink and Aircoach, to take passengers further afield to Limerick, Dublin, and beyond. Alternatively, you can get a bus or taxi to Kent Station, Cork’s intercity train station. A taxi to Cork city centre will cost approximately €20.
Knock Airport (Ireland West Airport)
Knock airport has flights to several European cities, mostly in the United Kingdom and Spain, and has direct flights to some of Europe’s most popular Catholic pilgrimage destinations including the cathedral of Santa Maria in Faro, Portugal. One word of caution about flying out of Knock/Ireland West airport is that all departing passengers over the age of 12 will have to pay a €10 development fee.
A few flights come and go through Kerry Airport, located near the town of Killarney. It services flights to Dublin, London, and Frankfurt-Hahn year-round, and Alicante and Faro during the summer months. As of November 2017, a twice weekly Kerry to Berlin route was added by Ryanair.
Again, there is not much traffic through this small airport but it can be handy for a quick transfer to or from Dublin or Glasgow International Airport, as well as being a convenient destination for those living in parts of Northern Ireland.
Located in the city of Derry/Londonderry in Northern Ireland, Derry Airport offers a small airport experience with regular flights to cities in Scotland, England, Mallorca (Spain) and, as of 2019, Iceland.
Belfast International Airport
As the largest airport in Northern Ireland, Belfast International Airport serves a range of European destinations, as well as locations in the United States and Cuba.
Belfast City (George Best) Airport
Named after one of the city’s most famous sons, Belfast City (George Best) Airport is in recognition to the former Manchester United and Northern Ireland football star. The smaller of Belfast’s two airports, Belfast City (George Best) Airport serves destinations across the United Kingdom.
Ireland has two main international airlines, Aer Lingus and Ryanair, and one smaller regional Airline, Aer Arann, which serves the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland.
Aer Lingus is Ireland’s flagship carrier airline and offers a higher-end flight service than Ryanair. It also offers transatlantic and other long-haul destinations such as the United Arab Emirates and Singapore.
Ryanair, a lost cost, no-frills airline, services over 36 countries and can be great for city breaks and European destinations.
As well as Ireland’s airlines, a whole host of international airlines fly to and from Irish airports. This means that you will have plenty of choice whether you are flying in or out of Ireland.
Given Ireland’s small size, detailed rail network and ever-expanding miles of modern motorway, it is unsurprising that the only two internal flights in the country are from Dublin to Donegal and Dublin to Kerry. It should be noted that visitors to Ireland will need to have their passport with them at all times while travelling internally by air in Ireland.
While, it is true that flights to major airports across Ireland are not very common, air routes to the picturesque Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland are a great way of getting to these must-see destinations quickly. The view upon landing isn’t bad either!
These short flights are operated by Aer Arann and depart from the beautiful Connemara Regional Airport.