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A Guide To Donegal Airport

A Guide To Donegal Airport

Donegal Airport is the most scenic of the many airports in Ireland.

Donegal Airport, also known as Carrickfinn Airport, is located on Ireland’s North West coast.

Opened in 1986, this regional airport sits in a picturesque area near Gweedore in County Donegal.

Known for its stunning approach over the Atlantic and the beautiful, rugged landscapes of Donegal, it offers flights to Dublin and Glasgow.

Some quick need-to-knows about Donegal Airport

Although a visit to Carrickfinn Airport is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.

1. Location

Donegal Airport is nestled in the heart of the Irish Gaeltacht, right next to the glorious Carrickfinn Beach. The airport is roughly a a 15-minute drive from Dungloe and Gweedore.

2. Parking

The airport provides both short-term and long-term parking, with the first 2 hours of parking free to facilitate pick-ups and drop-offs.

3. Amenities

We can’t find any mention of a cafe or a place to grab food/a coffee on the Donegal Airport website, so maybe bring a snack with you if you’re likely to get peckish.

4. Carriers

The Donegal to Dublin flight is operated by Emerald Airlines under Aer Lingus while the Donegal to Glasgow flight is run by Loganair.

What to know about arriving in/leaving from Donegal Airport

Donegal Airport

Photos via Google Maps and Shutterstock

If you’re used to flying into the likes of Dublin Airport or Shannon Airport, an entirely different experience awaits at Carrickfinn Airport.

This is a very small airport and getting in and out is different to a large airport.


Passengers are advised to check in at least 1 hour and 20 minutes before their flight’s scheduled departure time.

Immigration and customs

Immigration procedures are nice and straightforward as the airport currently only handles domestic and UK flights.


Local taxis and car rental services are available for transport to and from the airport. There is no direct public transport link.

Luggage Services

While there is no left luggage service, luggage trolleys are available for use.

A brief history of Donegal Airport

Donegal Airport opened in 1986 and it plays a crucial role in connecting the remote North West of Ireland with Dublin and beyond.

The airport was initially equipped with a grass runway, which was replaced with a tarmac runway in 1990.

Donegal Airport saw an increase in passenger numbers after Aer Arann Islands started its thrice-daily service to Dublin in 1999.

Fast forward to 2024 and the Dublin to Donegal route is operated by Emerald Airlines under Aer Lingus.

Despite its small size, Donegal Airport is regularly recognized for the staggering views it offers to those landing in Donegal.

It has consistently ranked as one of the world’s most scenic airport landings, offering passengers an aerial view of the region’s stunning natural landscapes.

Things to do near Donegal Airport

Glenveagh National Park

Photos via Shutterstock

One of the beauties of Donegal Airport is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best places to visit in Donegal.

Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Carrickfinn Airport!

1. Glenveagh National Park

Glenveagh National Park is a vast natural reserve with beautiful gardens, mountains, and lakes. Glenveagh Castle situated within the park is a major attraction.

2. Slieve League Cliffs

The Slieve League Cliffs are some of the highest sea cliffs in Europe and they offer breathtaking coastal views.

3. Donegal Castle

Donegal Castle was built in the 15th century. It has been fully restored and it provides insight into the region’s history and heritage.

4. Errigal Mountain

The tallest peak in County Donegal, Errigal is a moderate hike that provides beautiful panoramic views from the top.

FAQs about Donegal Airport

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Is there parking?’ to ‘How do I reach it from Donegal Town?’.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

How early should I arrive at Donegal Airport before my flight?

Passengers should aim to check in at least 1 hour and 20 minutes before their flight’s scheduled departure time.

Are there dining options at the airport?

Although we’ve seen mention of a cafe online, we can’t verify that it’s still running. It’s worth bringing a snack if you’re likely to get hungry.

Can I rent a car at Donegal Airport?

Yes, car rental services are available at the airport for passenger convenience.

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