Which Airport is near Galway City?


There are numerous airports close to Galway in Ireland. The closest ones to Galway include Ireland West Airport near Knock, County Mayo and Shannon Airport in County Clare. Shannon Airport is perhaps your best choice of airport to fly into due to the number of flights that land there and its fast and regular bus service between it and Galway.

Why Travel to Galway City?

Galway City is one of the most iconic cities in Ireland, with a rich history dating far back to the eleventh century. Galway City, or City-of-the-Tribes as it is sometimes referred to, is located in the western region of Ireland, in the province of Connacht. As a tourist, there is so much to experience here. Aside from the Galway’s majestic cityscape and a vibrant economy, you will also find Galwegians [or the locals] to be quite hospitable.    According to the 2016 Census, the city emerged as the sixth largest in the country in terms of population size, with a total population of 79,934. Due to numerous reasons, most noticeably it’s huge growth along cultural fronts, Galway will become the European-Capital-of-Culture, alongside the city of Rijeka in Croatia in 2020. No wonder so many want to come here.     

How to Get to Galway 

Galway City is one of Ireland’s most advanced cities in terms of infrastructure. There are various ways to get to the city.   You can get to Galway by bus, train, boat or by air. The last method shall be the focus of our article.  

Which Airport is near Galway City? 

Up until recently, the most popular way of getting to Galway City by air was through Galway Airport. However, due to infrastructural challenges, it became difficult to manage operations at this airport. Basically, Galway Airport is located just over 7.4 kilometers east of the city. The airport falls under the management of Corrib Airport-Limited but for close to ten years, this airport has not seen any serious passenger traffic.

Galway Airport suffered a major setback on the 31st of October 2011 when one of Ireland’s leading airlines – Aer Arann – ceased all commercial activities at the airport. This decision was made after an assessment of the 4230 ft. runway termed it inefficient at handling jet airliners.    As a result, the only aircrafts that the airport could handle were the small executive-jets and the turboprop aircraft. However, the airport suffered its ultimate fate when in November 2013, an announcement was made to the effect that the aviation license for this airport would cease, thereby resulting in its total closure. In a bid to salvage the situation, the airport management announced resumption of services in January 2015 and was expected to service both commercial and private flights. However, there wasn’t any progress with this because as of 31st of December 2015, all commercial flights to and from the airport were ceased.

With Galway Airport out of Operation, How Else do you get to Galway City by Flight? 

If you are planning to visit Galway City by air, there are still airports close to the city where you can land. The following is a rundown of the four major airports close by. 

Shannon Airport – This is one of the top 3 largest international airports in Ireland in terms of activity. According to recent statistics, some 1,751 million passengers used this airport in 2017. Shannon Airport, located in Shannon, County Clare serves the towns of Ennis, Limerick and Galway, as well as the southwestern regions of Ireland.   Once you land at the airport, you can take a bus and travel to Galway, a journey that should take you roughly 1 hour and 30 minutes. With an impressive runway of 10, 495 ft. that serves an increasing number of international and trans-Atlantic routes, it is clear to see why Shannon Airport was among the top alternatives to the now defunct Galway Airport.         

Knock Airport – The second airport near Galway City is Knock Airport, also known as Ireland-West Airport-Knock. This airport is located some 5.6 kilometers southwest of the town of Charleston in County Mayo. Knock village, from which the airport derives its name, is located some 20 kilometers away.  The airport is ranked fourth-busiest in the country after Cork, Shannon and Dublin. According to a 2017 statistics, it is believed that about 750,000 passengers passed through this airport. One way to get from the airport to Galway City is by a direct bus and the average time is 1 hour and 30 minutes. In saying that, the direct bus that is operated by Bus Eireann only runs on certain days of the week. It is worth researching this before flying into here.

Dublin Airport – As you might have guest, this is the largest airport not only in Dublin but in the country at large. Dublin Airport is situated in the village of Collinstown – Fingal County, some 10 kilometers north of the capital Dublin. As expected, this is Ireland’s busiest airport and a 2018 statistics suggest over 31.5 million passengers used it. This was also the highest activity recorded, ever in its entire history. The airport has also been ranked as the 13th-busiest in Europe and the busiest in the entire island Ireland, ahead of all airports in Northern Ireland. With such a hive of activity, Dublin Airport hosts some major airlines such as the Aer Lingus, Stobart Air, Norwegian-Air International, and CityJet. Buses journeying from this airport to Galway take between 2.5 and 3 hours. But the good thing is, being the busiest airport in the country, there are plenty of buses to choose from so the time taken to reach Galway from Dublin Airport will greatly depend on the bus service you hire. Most of these buses have their terminals at the Galway Coach-Station.           

Cork Airport – This is the last airport somewhat near Galway City, and is the second-largest international airport in the country, coming after Dublin. This airport is being mentioned last since it is probably the furthest and least convenient of all airports to arrive in if traveling to Galway. The airport is found in the Farmers Cross, a distance of about 6.5 kilometers to the south of Cork City.  

2018 annual statistics on passenger activity revealed that almost 2.5 million passengers used the airport, which translated to a 3.7 per cent increase from 2017. Just like the rest of the airports we have discussed here, getting from Cork Airport to Galway City is easier by bus. The journey will take roughly 3.5 hours and the most common bus plying this route is the Citylink Bus-service.    

Final Words  

Though Galway Airport is now defunct, there are still more reliable airports near the city, from which you can get to the city center. Your choice of the appropriate airport will depend on a few factors. If you want to reach Galway city as soon as you land, you may have to use the airport closest to the city such as Shannon.   But if you have enough time to spare, just hop on to the next plane bound for any of the four airports and take it from there by bus. The city is fortunate to have buses that run from most of these airports to its city center. They are not only reliable but are also ideal for first-time visitors to Galway City.

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