Guide to Shannon Airport, Ireland

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Shannon Airport, in County Clare, is Ireland’s third busiest airport, handling 1.5 million passengers a year. Although small by international standards, it punches above its weight, providing easy access to tourists to some of the most beautiful coastline in the world from an increasing number of big ticket destinations in the US and across Europe. Plus it has quite the history. Read on for your essential guide to Shannon Airport.

Direct Routes to/from Shannon Airport

Shannon Airport connects to a wide array of US, UK & European destinations, with direct flights from major international hubs including London (LHR, LGW, STN), New York (JFK, EWR) and Paris (CDG). That opens up a wide range of connections to people coming to/leaving the South West of Ireland. Compare flight prices from Shannon using Skyscanner.

Shannon Airport Schedule: Summer 2024

europe

Alicante (R)

Barcelona-Girona (R)

Barcelona-Reus (R)

Beziers (R)

Budapest (R)

Corfu (R)

Faro (R)

Fuerteventura (R)

Kaunas (R)

Kraków (R)

Lanzarote (R)

Malaga (R)

Malta (R)

Marseille (R)

Corfu (R)

Faro (R)

Fuerteventura (R)

Naples (R)

Palma (R)

Paris (Aer Lingus)

Porto (R)

Tenerife (R)

Wroclaw (R)

uk

Birmingham (R)

Edinburgh (R)

Liverpool (R)

London Gatwick (R)

London Heathrow (Aer Lingus)

London Stansted (R)

Manchester (R)

USA

Boston (Aer Lingus)

Chicago (United)

Newark (United)

New York (JFK) (Aer Lingus)

New York (JFK) (Delta)

Boston

Key: (R) = Ryanair

Getting to/from Shannon Airport by Car

Shannon Airport is well-connected to Ireland’s road network. It’s about 25 minutes to Limerick on the N18 route, 1h10m to Galway (M18/N18), 1.5 hours from Cork (N20) and 2.5 hours from Dublin (M7/N7). The road network is generally excellent between Shannon and most cities (less so in rural areas). Note that some motorways in Ireland require tolls. You can use cash or a credit card if your car rental service doesn’t provide an eToll gadget.

Shannon Ground Transportation

Car Rental

Shannon Airport has most of the main Rental Car agencies from Avis, to Hertz, Sixt and Europcar. I like to use Expedia’s price comparison tool, which – recently – I’ve found cheaper than going direct.

Shannon Airport Taxi

Shannon Airport recommends one supplier called Shannon Airport Cab. You can call them at +353 (0)61 471538 or visit their website here. Typical prices are around €28 to Bunratty, €40-60 to Limerick or €40-50 to Ennis.

Bus Eireann from Shannon Airport

There are links via bus from Shannon Airport to Limerick, Shannon Airport to Cork or Shannon Airport to Galway. To travel further afield, connect in one of those cities. For the latest schedules and a trip planner click here.

Expressway from Shannon Airport

Expressway offers an alternative bus/coach service from Shannon Airport. To see schedules, prices and a planner, click here.

Navigating Shannon Airport

Terminal Layout and Facilities

Shannon Airport is comparatively small and is very easy to navigate. At the entrance (also the Arrivals Level), there is a small number of facilities (shop and restaurant) as well as public toilets and the car rental desks.

Head upstairs for departures, which is very clearly marked. After security is a large duty free shop and beyond, a waiting area with a bar, cafe and general store. This is the best place to hang out until your gate has been posted on the screens. Gates 1-5 are in one direction/wing of the airport and all other gates in the other wing.

Services at Shannon Airport

Although it’s small, Shannon Airport has shops, restaurants, lounges and general amenities. Before security, there’s a coffee shop and restaurant which is very popular, as well as a WH Smith for newspapers or snacks. After security, there’s a bar, coffee shop and restaurant, another WH Smith and two executive lounges: the Ború Lounge and the Burren Lounge.

Security, US Pre-Clearance & Immigration

Departures – Special C3 Xray Scanners

As with any international airport, you need to be prepared for security checks and customs procedures when you travel through Shannon Airport. Generally, I’ve found the security line to be short compared to major airports. Plus Shannon has one major benefit: they have the latest C3 Xray scanners, meaning you don’t have to take liquids or ANYTHING out of your hand luggage. It saves so much time.

US Pre-Clearance

Shannon Airport is one of the Irish airports set up with US Pre-Clearance facilities, meaning that each passenger is evaluated by immigration as if they had just arrived in the United States. This is a fantastic time saver at the other end as, upon arrival in the US, you arrive as if you were a domestic passenger. This saves you so much time at major US airports. Just remember that, if you’re travelling to the US, that you have your passport and any required visa to hand (especially ESTA for most Irish residents) and to allow extra time for US Pre-Clearance.

Wi-Fi & Connectivity at Shannon Airport

On my most recent forays through Shannon Airport, I had some free time to catch up on work emails. In the waiting area after security, you’ll get the best speeds at around 20mb/s or a little higher. Access is free with your email address.

Summary

I really believe Shannon Airport is a good one to pick for visitors who want to visit the West or South-west of Ireland. Your proximity to some of the top visitor attractions like the Cliffs of Moher is a winner. Plus as a small airport with friendly staff, it’s easy to navigate and has all of the main essential amenities most of us require. One thing to bear in mind is that the European flight options can be either very early or last thing in the evening as, I suspect, some of the crews are based in the Shannon area, but taking that into account, I’d still pick Shannon for ease of use!

I'm Patrick, your Irish guide to the skies and beyond. With 58 countries visited, my journeys have taken me from busy economy to fabulous first-class.

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