If your Ireland travel plans include exploring the western coast, be sure to consider arrival or departure from the airport in Shannon. 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
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 Customs Even in the high season this won’t take too long as Shannon doesn’t have the huge volume of flights that Dublin has. Have your passport ready, answer a few quick questions from the customs 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.
Baggage Claim Just steps away from Customs. If you took a few minutes to freshen up before breezing through Customs, your bags will likely be waiting for you. Carts are nearby if you need them- and are free to use.
Car Rental 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. Places like Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, King John’s Castle, Craggaunowen, and Dunguaire Castle.
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 cab 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.
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Shannon Airport Tips for Departure
Arriving for Your Departure Car rental returns are off site, so plan for 10-20 minutes to drop off your rental car, have it checked, and catch a ride to the airport. 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.
Checking In It’s easy to navigate the Departures Hall. After a quick pre-check of your passports and a few questions about your Ireland travels, you will check in for your flights and check your bags, lightening your load considerably.
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. Again, 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 used organizing products and had to unload some and have my bag re-scanned.
You Have Now Entered the Shopping Area 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. Maybe some whiskey, mead or woolens- or a bit of wonderful chocolate for the long flight ahead.
Handle Your VAT VAT refund agencies are tucked back in the corner, opposite the Duty Free shop. 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 will need to finalize your purchases and refund before you leave. You may encounter a short wait during the busy season.
You May Have a Brief Wait A spacious sitting area with a couple restaurant options is just beyond Duty Free. Wait here until your flight is cleared for gate arrival.
US Preclearance No waiting at Customs when you arrive in the US! Queue for declarations of items purchased and confirmation of luggage.
Tip: if you have Global Entry, utilize the kiosks and enter a dedicated (and shorter) Preclearance queue.
Find Your Gate As Shannon isn’t a large airport, this is done quite easily. You won’t find much past pre-clearance – 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