Planning an Itinerary that Starts from Shannon Airport

Summer greetings from Ireland where the farmers in our parts are bringing in their second cutting of hay and silage, tourists are mastering roundabouts, and everyone is enjoying the long hours of daylight.

Corey speaking at BritMums Live in London - photo via

Corey speaking at BritMums Live in London – photo via

Two weeks ago, I hopped across the Irish Sea and spent a few days in London where I was invited to speak to a large group of bloggers. Fortunately, I was able to talk about three topics I know well… e-newsletters, the Shannon Region, and Shannon Airport.

While talking to the bloggers, it became clear that they knew Dublin and Belfast Airports, but they were not familiar with Shannon. As a result, there were a lot of questions about things to do and see in the area.

After the event, I compiled a list of my favorite attractions and activities in the Shannon Region and sent it off to the blogging group. They were extremely appreciative, and it made me think, “I bet a lot Irish Firesiders might find this information useful if they are starting or ending their trip in Shannon.” So, below you’ll find that list of picks that are a short distance from Shannon Airport… and these are only the start of the things you’ll find in the area.

walkwawThe Wild Atlantic Way

Ireland’s remarkable western seaboard takes in some of the most enchanting scenery in the world, and the signposted Wild Atlantic Way driving route offers 1,500 miles of memorable scenery and experiences. From Shannon Airport, visitors will find themselves motoring along this breathtaking course within minutes of landing.

Bunratty Castle & Folk Park

This is your chance to experience a window into Ireland’s past and explore the acclaimed 15th century Bunratty Castle and the 19th century Bunratty Folk Park. Visitors are also invited to spend a family-friendly evening at a Medieval Banquet or a traditional Irish Night.

cliffs2Cliffs of Moher

The stunning Cliffs of Moher along the west coast are Ireland’s most visited natural attraction with a magical vista that captures the hearts of up to one million visitors every year. You might recognize them from their appearance in the films “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” and “The Princes Bride” (aka the Cliffs of Insanity).

burren2The Burren GeoPark

The Burren presents a unique, moon-like, limestone landscape that nurtures tropical and alpine plants at the same time. The dramatic scene covers 1,500 hectares that march from the sea inland and has been designated a National Park. Visitors enjoy stops at the Poulnabrone Dolmen, Burren Perfumery, Corkscrew Road, and Burren Smokehouse.

loophead222Loop Head Peninsula

Just south of the famed Cliffs of Moher, Loop Head usually gets lost in the Atlantic by visitors. The peninsula hasn’t gone completely unnoticed, in 2013 it was named  Best Place to Holiday in Ireland by the Irish Times. Even with that designation, Loop Head still feels “undiscovered” with its craggy coastline, sparse population, and gorgeous scenery

fathertedA Father Ted Pilgrimage

The beloved television comedy about the misadventures of three Irish priests ministering to a quirky community on Craggy Island has its roots firmly in Ireland with many Shannon Region sites appearing on the program… including Father Ted’s House in County Clare. Annually, TedFest welcomes fans from around the world to the ‘real’ Craggy Island (Inis Mor).

dergLough Derg Drive

For twenty-four miles, the mighty Shannon River becomes Lough Derg, Ireland’s second-largest lake. A trip around the waterway promises quaint villages, artisan food, historic structures, traditional music, and spectacular scenery! However, Lough Derg’s biggest fans spend their time ON the lake by sailing, fishing, angling, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, swimming, and exploring the antiquities on Holy Island.

matchmakerLisdoonvarna Match-Making Festival

The tradition of match-making may sound old-fashioned, but singles have been flocking to the village of Lisdoonvarna in the month of September for as long as any of the locals can remember. In the age of online dating, soulmates find each other in Lisdoonvara amid barn dances, pub crawls, horse racing, and speed dating sessions.

woolenmanJohn Hanly Woolen Mills

The Irish have a history of fine woolen, and Hanly has been producing traditional weaves in the Shannon Region since 1893. Although tours of the mill are not available, their showroom highlights a variety of products at some of the best prices in Ireland. They even include a section of seconds and are happy to point you to the minor flaw that rejected it from the regular merchandise.

dungairecastle3Evenings at Knappogue and Dunguaire Castles

At the close of day, the walls of these two distinct castles fill with the sound of music and aroma of food for an evening of entertainment. As an added bonus, Knappogue offers special overnight packages that include your own breakfast “fairies” who will treat your family like royalty.

clonmacnoiseClonmacnoise Monastic Ruins

Although most visitors arrive at this impressive site by road, they can still follow the path of the ancient pilgrims who would have arrived by boat along the Shannon River. The expansive ruins include a cathedral, seven churches, two round towers, three high crosses and the largest collection of Early Christian graveslabs in Western Europe

foynesFoynes Flying Boat Museum

Air travel wasn’t always about security checks and carryon luggage. When the first commercial flights crossed the Atlantic, they didn’t use a runway; they used the Shannon River. Kicking off the golden age of air travel, Hollywood stars and the world’s elite landed in the tiny Irish village of Foynes. Older generations will cherish the museum’s nostalgic atmosphere and the young ones will enjoy climbing around the roomy “flying boat” reproduction.

cranog2Craggaunowen Living Past Experience

Go back over 1,000 years and meet Ireland’s early people, and learn how these early Celts lived. The site features an early dwelling known as a Crannog which was built in the middle of a lake and required a secret, underwater path for access (today, there’s a convenient bridge).

Author: Corey

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  1. Thanks Corey. My wife and I are planning a return trip to Ireland and we are thinking of flying into Shannon Airport and departing from Dublin. This article has some great tips and suggestions.

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  2. Thanks Corey. My husband and I are planning a return trip to Ireland in 2017. We hope to meet up with my second cousin who is 98yrs and very with it. My relatives live and come from Listowel in County Kerry. They are the McKennas of Listowel. We want to go back for a laidback holiday and enjoy trying to live like a local for a few weeks. We would like to have a look around the eastern side of Ireland that we missed on our previous visit. It is a very long flight to get there as we live in Australia and are an older couple. We dearly love Ireland.

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  3. I took my first trip to Ireland two months ago, and flew in and out of Shannon (I stayed with a friend near Miltown Malbay). Shannon Airport was incredibly easy, it is small and easy to navigate. My flight home was around 11 am, I think I arrived at the airport around 8 am and was through security, customs, did some shopping and my tax refund paperwork, got some coffee and was at my gate by 9 am – very easy!

    I didn’t realize how popular Ireland is as a surf spot, but Lahinch is surf town, and there are beaches in the small towns in the area. I spent a lovely day attempting stand up paddle boarding – not the type of thing I’d normally have associated with Ireland, but it was great fun and a great way to enjoy the coast and ocean view!

    I’d also recommend the Rock Shop as a great stop for souvenirs and gifts for those visiting the Burren.

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