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Shannon Airport: Tips for Arrivals and Departures

If your Ireland travel plans include exploring the western coast, be sure to consider arrival or departure from Shannon Airport.

Smaller than Dublin Airport, and less busy than even Cork Airport, Shannon Airport is a welcoming spot for arrival, and a relaxing departure point at the end of your Ireland vacation.

Shannon Airport. This photograph was taken by DerGraueWolf and released under a Creative Commons license. Image sourced from Wikimedia.

Shannon Airport Tips for Arrival

Welcome to Shannon Airport

Whether you've had a long overnight flight from North America, or a quick hop from Europe, Shannon Airport will impress you with a quick trip through Immigration and easy access to transportation.

Take a Minute to Freshen Up

If you've flown in from the US, you're likely feeling a bit deflated.

I always recommend stopping at a restroom to splash some water on your face, brush your teeth, maybe even change clothes. You'll feel less rumpled from your overnight flight and recreating a bit of your morning routine can help you fight jet lag.

Clear Immigration

Even in the high season this won't take too long as Shannon, though an international airport, just doesn't have the huge volume of flights that Dublin has.

Have your passport ready, answer a few quick questions from the immigration agent (how long you'll be in Ireland, are you traveling for work or vacation), and you'll be on your way in just a few minutes.

Claim Your Baggage

Just steps away from Immigration. If you took a few minutes to freshen up before breezing through Immigration, your bags will likely be waiting for you. Carts are nearby if you need them- and are free to use.

shannon airport tips baggage claim
Make your way out of baggage claim via the green channel- you have nothing to declare

Car Hire 

All the car rental agents are in view as you exit baggage claim.

Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Car Rental in Ireland

After you have your car, getting out of Shannon Airport on on your way to a wonderful Ireland vacation is easy. Study your map- or use your trusty mobile maps app– and hit the road! 

Waiting in line? Send the rest of your group to explore the Shannon Heritage information near WH Smith shop.

Have a magical holiday!

No car? 

  • Bus Eireann stops at Shannon Airport over 100 times each day. Express services between Limerick city and Galway city will connect you to wherever you need to travel.
  • Skip the taxi ride to your hotel and consider hiring a private guide for your first day.
  • There is no train transport direct to or from Shannon Airport. Nearest train stations are in Limerick, Ennis, and Galway. Taxi or buses will get you to the train station easily.

More Ireland Travel Tips for Your Vacation

Get Connected

Shannon Airport has strong, free wifi so you can let family and friends know you arrived in Ireland safely.

Read More: How to use Your Mobile Phone in Ireland

Get Cash

The Republic of Ireland uses the Euro currency. An ATM is available in the Arrivals Hall at Shannon Airport.

Read More: How and When to Get Euros

Accommodations and Attractions Near Shannon Airport

Located at the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way, Shannon Airport is the perfect gateway to explore Ireland's Atlantic coast and the south west regions of the country.

The counties of Clare, Galway, and Limerick are easy areas to explore from Shannon Airport. Check out the county pages for tips on accommodation, attractions, and activities.

County Clare * County Galway * County Limerick

Ireland Itineraries for Your Vacation

These Ireland itineraries arrive or depart from Shannon Airport. Use them to help plan your perfect Ireland vacation!

Southwest Sampler Classic Ireland Itinerary

(At Least) 7 Castles in 7 Days – Ireland Castle Itinerary

2 Week Ireland Road Trip for Adventurous Travelers

Shannon Airport arrival and departure tips

Shannon Airport Departures

All vacations must come to an end, but departing for Shannon Airport won't leave you feeling harried or hurried.

Departures area at Shannon Airport. Shannon Airport tips. Ireland Family Vacations | Ireland vacation tips
Because Shannon Airport doesn't serve as many flights as Dublin, the departures area feels almost relaxed.

Arriving for Your Departure 

Shannon Airport advises arrival at least 60 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time of your flight. I usually opt for 90 minutes as we also have to drop off the rental car.

Car rental returns are off site, so plan for 10-20 minutes to drop off your rental car, have it checked (if you didn't purchase the Excess insurance), and hop aboard a shuttle to the airport.

Traveling with family or a group? Drop bags and most people at the airport, then circle back to car rental returns. The shuttle is so much easier without all the luggage!

Checking in for Your Flight at Shannon Airport

It's easy to navigate the Departures Hall. Simply find your airline and check in for your flight using kiosks.

Need more help? Move on to the next step and you can check in at the desk.

Next, an agent will do a quick check of your passports and ask a few questions about your Ireland travels. From here you will check in for your flights (if you haven't already) and check your bags, lightening your load considerably.

Returning your mobile wifi unit or need to send a few post cards? Take care of that now. You'll find a post box before security. (It's green- you can't miss it!)

Returning your mobile wifi device at Shannon Airport in Ireland
Post box at Shannon Airport

Security Screening 

From the departures hall, catch the elevators to the first floor level. Follow the signs to boarding card check and security screening and wait (not long) for your turn.

You’ll need your ticket and passport to enter the screening area. 

Liquids and computers need to be removed from your bags. Jackets and shoes need to be removed, as well.

Tip: If your luggage is densely packed be prepared to unpack it a bit for screening. I use organizing products and had to unload some and have my bag re-scanned.

Shannon Airport uses facial recognition software for US Preclearance so you will only pass through one security screening (at Dublin Airport you currently pass through two).

Last Minute Shopping at Shannon Duty Free

Fun fact: the Duty Free shop at Shannon Airport is the first, and oldest, Duty Free shop in the world. If you have a few minutes, pick up some last minute gifts.

Duty Free at Shannon Airport
Irish foods, woolens, and trinkets in Shannon Duty Free

Bypass the basic duty free offerings for the Irish shops. Grab some whiskey, mead, or woolens for last minute gifts or souvenirs- or a bit of wonderful Irish chocolate for the long flight ahead.

Handle Your VAT

VAT refund agencies are tucked back in the corner, opposite as you exit Shannon Duty Free.

It’s likely you’ll have at least two types of VAT refunds to turn in. Luckily, both can be handled in advance.

VAT refunds that require a receipt should be filled out and placed into the envelope before you arrive at the airport. All you have to do with this is drop the envelope at the proper company.

If you are using the Horizon Card, be sure your account is set up online before you arrive at the airport. There are two kiosks available and you need to finalize your purchases and refund before you leave. You may encounter a short wait during the busy season. An agent is usually on hand to offer assistance with this, should you need it.

Read More: How to Get Your VAT Refund in Ireland

Childrens Play Areas and Sensory Room

Shannon Airport has a play area on the first floor departures hall near the Aviation Museum.

Tucked just beside the Aviation Museum is the Sensory Room, which is available 24 hours, providing a safe and quiet place for people with autism, sensory processing disorders, and other special needs.

Gate Arrival Clearance

Because Shannon Airport is smaller, you may have to wait for your plane to arrive at a gate before you are allowed further.

A spacious sitting area with a couple restaurant options is just beyond Duty Free. Wait here until your flight is cleared for gate arrival.

Lounges at Shannon Airport

If you don't wish to wait in the main departures lounge, Shannon Airport has 2 lounge facilities available.

The Boru Lounge, located before US Customs and Border Protection, is available for all passengers, while the Burren Lounge is open to passengers traveling to non-US destinations.

Lounges can be used for up to 3 hours prior to your flight. Book online for the best price.

US Customs & Border Protection

No waiting at Customs when you arrive in the US!

You will need to queue for ticket and passport check before entering the line for customs. Here you declare items purchased and confirm your checked luggage.

Tip: if you have Global Entry, utilize the kiosks to the left, after ticket and passport check, and enter a dedicated (and shorter) queue.

Wondering what to expect when you reach the US?
Learn about landing in the US after clearing US Customs in Ireland.

Find Your Gate

As Shannon isn't a large airport, this is done quite easily.

US travelers won't find much past customs and border security- a small coffee shop, maybe a few trinkets- so be sure to handle all purchases before you ‘enter' the US.

Flight Information: Arrivals — Departures

Transportation to and from the airport

Jody Halsted
Follow Along

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    1. If at all possible I recommend an eSIM as opposed to a SIM card.
      With an eSIM you don’t run the risk of losing your ‘home’ SIM card and you won’t need to reset anything.
      I recommend WifiCandy for eSIM – it is super easy to install, set up, and use. I used it just last month with no issues.
      Use code IFV2024 to save 10% on purchases over €20.

      Shannon Airport has a WHSmith convenience store which (last I knew) sold SIM from Vodafon, Three, and LycaMobile.

      Hope that helps!

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