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 Tips for Arrival
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.
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.
All the car rental agents are in view as you exit baggage claim.
If you have a short wait, leave one person to watch your baggage and pop into the Shannon Heritage Welcome Centre. You'll find loads of information here about activities in the Shannon Region.
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! Have a magical holiday!
- 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
Shannon Airport has strong, free wifi so you can let family and friends know you arrived in Ireland safely.
You can also pick up your reserved Wifi Candy device at Shannon Airport to stay connected as you travel.
Read More: How to use Your Mobile Phone in Ireland
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.
Ireland Itineraries for Your Vacation
These Ireland itineraries arrive or depart from Shannon Airport. Use them to help plan your perfect Ireland vacation!
Shannon Airport Tips for Departure
All vacations must come to an end, but departing for Shannon Airport won't leave you feeling harried or hurried.
Arriving for Your Departure
I always err on the side of being early, so I would advise arriving at the airport at least 1.5-2 hours in advance of your departure.
Car rental returns are off site, so plan for 10-20 minutes to drop off your rental car, have it checked, 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 near the WH Smith store. (It's green- you can't miss it!)
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.
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.
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
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.
No further security screenings were in place when we traveled through Shannon Airport in June 2019.
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.
Handy Links for Shannon Airport
Transportation to and from the airport