The main international airport in Ireland is in Dublin, though Shannon is also popular with transatlantic flights. Many travelers to Ireland also fly into Belfast in Northern Ireland (which is part of the United Kingdom). But there are a number of other airports that are served by short-haul flights, most of them to the U.K. and Europe.
Belfast International Airport (BFS)
- Location: Aldergrove
- Pros: Modern terminal, easy to navigate
- Cons: Not very close to the city center
- Distance to City Center: A 30-minute taxi to the city center will cost about $45. There's a bus that costs about $10 for a single ride and about $15 for a round-trip ticket; the ride lasts about 40 minutes.
Belfast International Airport is located in Aldergrove, near Nutts Corner on the eastern shore of Lough Neagh—the driving time to Belfast is between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on traffic. Though it's a bit far out from the city center, Belfast will satisfy most travelers' needs, being a fairly modern, spacious, and generally well laid-out airport. Flights service Europe, the U.K., the United States, and Cuba. Passenger facilities include restaurants and shopping. Belfast International Airport is located centrally within Northern Ireland and well signposted from Belfast and the major roads.
Several bus services to the airport are in operation, while the nearest rail station is Antrim, six miles from the airport.
City of Derry Airport (LDY)
- Location: Eglinton
- Pros: Not crowded
- Cons: Limited flights
- Distance to Derry City Center: A 20-minute taxi to Derry's city center will cost about $15. There's a public bus, too, that takes 30–40 minutes, and rates vary.
The City of Derry Airport is located in Eglinton, County Londonderry, and it's a small airport with basic facilities—it's more of a transit area than a place to spend time voluntarily. It only offers flights to London, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, and Glasgow. The airport is located seven miles north-east of Derry on the A2 (direction Coleraine). Ulsterbus operates various services between the airport and the main Foyle Street bus depot in Derry; services also operate to and from Limavady. By train, Derry Duke Street would be the easiest connection, but you'd still have to take a taxi to the airport from there.
Aer Arann Connemara Airport
- Location: Caislean
- Pros: Not crowded
- Cons: Flights only to the Aran Islands
- Distance to Galway City Center: A taxi ride will take about 30 minutes and costs about $20. There's a shuttle bus that takes the same amount of time but costs about $6.
Connemara Regional Airport can be found near the town of Inverin, about 17 miles west of Galway City. This is a small airfield with very basic passenger facilities. You can get to Connemara Regional Airport by road via the R336, and there also is a shuttle bus from the Kinlay House Hotel in Galway City. The only destinations served from Connemara Regional Airport are the islands of Inis Mór, Inis Meáin, and Inis Óirr. There really is only one reason to fly from here: to visit the Aran Islands. Flights take about 10 minutes each.
Cork Airport (ORK)
- Location: South of Cork
- Pros: Modern terminal, offers flights to more destinations than most regional Irish airports
- Cons: Mainly serviced by budget airlines
- Distance to Cork City Center: A 15-minute taxi will cost about $20. You can also take a bus—time and fare vary by route.
Cork Airport is located on the Kinsale Road and has been extensively upgraded with a state-of-the-art terminal building and a vastly improved infrastructure. There are now great passenger facilities, including reasonable comforts in the shopping and dining areas. The airport is located five miles outside Cork City. Coach services run by Bus Eireann connect Cork Airport and Cork’s Parnell Place Bus Station. Destinations served from Cork Airport are the U.K. and Europe.
Donegal Airport (CFN)
- Location: Carrickfinn
- Pros: Not crowded
- Cons: Only has flights to Dublin and Glasgow
- Distance to Dungloe: A 15-minute taxi will cost about $20. There's no public transportation option.
Donegal Airport is located at Kincasslagh and boasts a small, modern terminal building in the middle of nowhere—it's basic but sufficient. From Letterkenny, take the N56 heading in the direction of Dunfanaghy/Dungloe and follow signposts for Gweedore. Destinations served from Donegal Airport are Dublin and Glasgow.
- Location: Collinstown
- Pros: Offers the most flights into/out of Ireland
- Cons: Too crowded
- Distance to Dublin City Center: A 25-minute taxi will cost $30 to $40. There are also private and public buses that range in price, the cheapest of which is about $4 one way.
Dublin Airport is located in North County Dublin, near the suburb of Swords. Crowded at the best of times, it can be positively claustrophobic during peak travel hours. But the airport does have two modernized terminal buildings with good passenger facilities, including restaurants and shopping. Several bus services both locally and nationally connect to Dublin Airport. As the primary airport for Ireland, numerous airlines fly here and connect to cities on multiple continents.
George Best Belfast City Airport (BHD)
- Location: East Belfast
- Pros: Good public transportation options
- Cons: Only flies to the U.K.
- Distance to Belfast City Center: You can either take a 15-minute, $12 taxi or one of the many (cheap) buses.
George Best Belfast City Airport is located in East Belfast, near the Titanic Quarter. Flights are to destinations across the U.K. and Europe. There are several public transportation options; Translink operates a bus to the Belfast Europa Bus Centre, and shuttle bus services also operate between the airport and the adjacent rail station at Sydenham with connections to Belfast’s Central and Victoria Street Stations.
Ireland West Airport Knock (NOC)
- Location: Charlestown/Knock
- Pros: Not crowded
- Cons: Only seasonal service outside the U.K. and Ireland
- Distance to Knock: The 20-minute drive will cost about $30. There's also an extensive bus network.
Ireland West Airport is located near Charlestown, in the vicinity of Knock. The airport was Monsignor Horan's dream: The clergyman initiated the project to serve the pilgrims heading for the Marian Shrine at Knock. Facilities and infrastructure are basic and geared towards pilgrim groups rather than conventional tourists. There are, however, some buses that connect the terminal with Knock. Destinations served from Ireland West Airport Knock include the U.K., Europe, and seasonal destinations in Europe.
Kerry Airport (KIR)
- Location: Farranfore
- Pros: Not crowded
- Cons: Subpar facilities for passengers
- Distance to Killarney: A 15-minute taxi will likely cost you about $20. There are cheaper buses, though—the rate and length of the journey depend on the route.
Kerry Airport is located near Farranfore in County Kerry. It is a utilitarian airport benefiting from cheap flights. Most passengers will not want to spend too much time here. Bus Eireann provides services directly from the airport or via Farranfore. While Irish and British destinations are the most popular, there are long-haul flights to the U.S. and the Middle East.
- Pros: Smaller airport with transatlantic flights
- Cons: Limited service
- Distance to Limerick: A 30-minute taxi to Limerick will cost about $40. There's also a bus for about $8 one way.
Shannon Airport is located on the Shannon Estuary in County Clare. It was originally built to replace the Foynes seaplane base and to facilitate transatlantic travel with limited fuel supplies. The airport still appears quite utilitarian in places. Passenger facilities are limited to the bar-cum-restaurant area and the duty-free shop (duty-free shopping was actually invented in Shannon). Shannon Airport is located approximately 15 miles from both Limerick and Ennis, connected via the N18. Bus Eireann provides connections to and from all of Ireland's major cities, while Citylink provides convenient service between Shannon Airport and Galway City.
Destinations served from Shannon Airport include the U.K., Europe, and North America.