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A Guide To Shannon Airport

A Guide To Shannon Airport

Shannon Airport is one of the more popular airports in Ireland.

You’ll find it in County Clare where it has been serving locals and tourists alike since 1945.

As the likes of American Airlines and Delta fly into it, Shannon Airport is the starting point for many road trips.

Below, you’ll discover everything you need-to-know regardless of whether you’re flying in or out of Shannon.

Some quick need-to-knows about Shannon Airport

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

1. Location

Shannon Airport is situated on the west coast of Ireland, making it a prime spot for transatlantic connections. Nestled between Limerick and Ennis, the airport is approximately 20 km from both.

2. Parking

The airport offers short-term, long-term, and executive car parking services. Pre-booking parking services online is cheaper and more efficient, especially during peak travel seasons.

3. Amenities

There’s several dining options at Shannon, including Zest, JJ Ruddles and The Sheridan (read about how the Irish Coffee began its life nearby).

4. Airlines

Shannon Airport is serviced by several major airlines, including Aer Lingus, Ryanair, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines. These carriers offer flights to several global destinations.

5. Road trips starting here

We have countless road trip itineraries that use Shannon Town as a starting point. You can choose itineraries that use only public transport or ones that use a car. Find them all here.

What to know about arriving in/leaving from Shannon Airport

If you’ve flown from any major airport in Ireland, like Dublin Airport or Belfast International Airport, you’ll find no surprises at Shannon.

The one thing to not is the US Preclearance, for those of you flying to the States.


It’s advised to check-in 2 hours before European flights and 3 hours before transatlantic flights to avoid any rush.

We’d always recommend double checking what it says on your booking confirmation in relation to check-in times.

Immigration and customs

Shannon is one of the few airports outside North America that offers US Preclearance facilities.

This means you clear US Immigration before you leave, saving you time upon arrival in the US.


Various modes of transport including taxis, buses, and car rental services are available for transfer to and from the airport.

A brief history of Shannon Airport

shannon airport ireland

Shannon Airport’s opening in 1945 marked a pivotal moment in Irish aviation history.

The airport initially served as a stopover for transatlantic flights, but post World War II, it evolved into a bustling airport and became the world’s first duty-free airport in 1947.

In the late 1950s, Shannon began welcoming jet aircraft, leading to a significant increase in passenger traffic and bringing a much-needed tourism boost to this corner of Ireland.

The airport continued to break ground in the 1980s by becoming the first European airport to offer US Preclearance.

Shannon’s rich history and continued growth, coupled with its commitment to service, have cemented its status as a significant player in global aviation.

Things to do near Shannon Airport

cliffs of moher at sunset

Photos via Shutterstock

Although there’s only a handful of things to do in Shannon, the airport is close to many of the best places to visit in Clare.

In fact, many of Limerick’s top attractions are a short distance away, too. Here are some suggestions:

1. Bunratty Castle and Folk Park

Bunratty Castle is one of Ireland’s most famous while the folk park is a living reconstruction of the homes and environment of Ireland over a century ago.

2. Cliffs of Moher

The world-famous Cliffs of Moher attract millions of visitors each year. The views from the top are breathtaking, and the visitor center offers an insight into the site’s geology and history.

3. The Burren

The unique karst landscape of The Burren holds fascinating archaeological and geological significance. There’s plenty to see and do in its surrounds.

4. Knappogue Castle

Dating back to 1467, Knappogue Castle offers visitors a taste of medieval grandeur. The castle also hosts medieval banquets, complete with traditional music and entertainment.

FAQs about Shannon Airport

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Is Shannon Airport or Dublin better to arrive into?’ to ‘Where do you park at Shannon Airport?’.

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 Shannon Airport before my flight?

It’s advised to arrive at least 2 hours before a European flight and 3 hours before a transatlantic flight. Always take not of your airline’s advice.

Are there dining options at Shannon Airport?

There’s several dining options at Shannon, including Zest, JJ Ruddles and The Sheridan for those in need of a pre-flight-feed.

Can I pre-book my parking at Shannon Airport?

Yes, you can pre-book parking online for both short-term and long-term parking. This is particularly recommended during peak travel seasons.

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