Have you ever felt like an airport was a highlight of your trip? I have! Twice. And both times it was Shannon Airport on the west coast of Ireland.
Guest Author Jody Halstead, of Ireland Family Vacations, shares with us her insight on the Shannon Airport:
Arriving in Ireland as the sun begins to peek over the horizon is a shock to the system. Which is not helped by long lines at Customs and car rental counters. So you can imagine our surprise when, after making a quick stop at the restroom after deplaning, our family walked directly up to a Customs agent, had our passports stamped, and were through in 2 minutes! Though the car rental took a bit longer, we were out of the Shannon airport and beginning our Ireland vacation within 30 minutes of landing!
Why Choose Shannon Airport for Your Ireland Flight?
The first step to planning your Ireland family vacation is booking your flights. And while that may seem like a no-brainer it’s one of my own toughest decisions. Because, though Dublin Airport is larger and often has lower rates, Shannon is the easier airport and, to my mind, worth the extra cash.
What makes Shannon Airport my choice?
Shannon is centrally located on Ireland’s west coast. From here you can be to the Cliffs of Moher in an hour, Galway in 90 minutes, Limerick in 30 minutes, or Killarney in 2 hours.
Fabulous Dromoland Castle Hotel is a mere 20 minutes away, as is Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. In fact, your entire vacation could be spent within 3 hours of Shannon Airport and you would leave with attractions unseen and activities undone.
2) Ease of use
As a smaller international airport, Shannon is just easy. Fewer flights use this airport so crowds are smaller, wait times are shorter, and, as such, everyone – from airport staff to passengers- are just more relaxed.
This may seem odd since most airports are like shopping malls now, but shopping at Shannon Airport is a bit special as the world’s first Duty Free shop was established here in 1947. Enjoy a bit of nostalgia while grabbing those last minute souvenirs and biscuits to nibble during your flight home.
4) Guest comfort
If you do find yourself waiting for your flight consider a pass to the Executive Lounge. It’s open to everyone, no matter your flight or ticket class, for only $25. Amenities include complimentary refreshments, comfortable seating, and a flight departure monitor. Wifi is free throughout the terminal.
*Editor’s Note: According to this unofficial airport guide, Shannon Airport has a children’s play area located on the Departures floor next to gate 7. Surprisingly, there are no diaper changing facilities inside security, although there are two outside security: one is located on the far side wall of the arrivals area, next to the exit to Coach Park 1. The other is in the center, between the Londis Shop and WHSmith bookstore.
5) Caéd míle fáilte
Ireland’s legendary ‘hundred thousand welcomes’ are evident whether you are arriving or departing. Staff aren’t too busy for a kind word, or to inquire about your trip.
6) Leaving is easier from Shannon.
OK, it’s never really easy to leave Ireland. But if, like me, you mix up your actual departure time with the time you think you need to be at the airport, you may still actually catch your flight. My family made it through- check in, security, VAT, US security & Preclearance – in 27 minutes. I certainly don’t recommend it, but it can be done. (Had that happened in Dublin we would have been in Ireland an additional day!)
When it’s time to plan your Ireland vacation be sure to consider Shannon Airport. It may be the best decision you make! To discover everything you can do near the Shannon airport, explore counties Clare, Galway, Limerick and Kerry from the interactive map on Ireland Family Vacations.
Jody Halsted has been traveling across Ireland for over a decade with her own children, discovering the most family friendly sites and activities on the tourist trail and off. Dedicated to Ireland family travel, her website Ireland Family Vacations, provides exceptional advice for a magical Ireland vacation. For families looking for a perfectly tailored Ireland vacation, Jody offers Ireland vacation coaching, working with your family to help you choose the perfect lodging, destinations, and activities to fit your budget, interests, and expectations.