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Improvements to Shannon Airport put Ireland’s ramblings in the fast lane

Getaways to Ireland have been hot post-pandemic. And if you’re looking for a way to get there that could save you time, headaches, and even money, consider making Shannon Airport your hub.

Shannon, located well inland and north of Dublin, has long been a lesser-known alternative. It was the first place to offer duty-free shopping and is John Travolta’s airport of choice when flying his personal 747.

Location is key: Step off your plane and you’re only about half an hour’s drive from some of the most beautiful spots along the Wild Atlantic Way.

When the pandemic all but shut them down, they took time to rethink, Shannon Airport CEO Mary Consadine told the Boston Herald.

They had already focused more on customer experience and opened a sensory room at the airport in 2018. During the pandemic, she said, they “took time to really see how we can improve the things”.

It came down to better security, a smoother transition from street to door and vice versa, and modernization.

Shannon now has an updated security system – in a trial with the TSA and the European Union – that turns both TSA clearance and customs into one simple process.

Besides the one-stop system, customers also do not need to remove laptops and liquids from their hand luggage.

“We take the stress out of people,” Consadine said. The slowing down of the pandemic has been a great benefit, she said, as it has allowed them to work on new systems and procedures and resolve issues before peak times return.

Cliff Walk, Howth, Ireland / Thinkstock

Customer feedback, Consadine said, has been positive. One person, she noted, clocked her entire arrival at gate time at just 11 minutes.

“It’s easier for all of us,” she said, “and much easier for our aging population.”

In fact, the World Health Organization named Shannon one of two “Age Friendly” airports in the world this summer.

And while Consadine touts the airport’s many local restaurants and shops (“It’s a nice place to browse and grab an Irish coffee,” she said), Consadine realizes that the true value lies in saving time, which makes access to the Wild Atlantic Way faster. .

The Wild Atlantic Way is a 1,500 mile coastal route that takes you along the Irish coastline – past small towns, cliffs, castles, along beaches; just about every Irish landscape you can imagine.

You can hop on it pretty much any time and choose a stretch to take on, as long or short as you want.

From the airport, you can get to a golf course like those at the famous Adare Manor (https://www.adaremanor.com) in 30 minutes.

Adare has long been a popular golf destination. Wait until it gets even more popular: they are set to host the Ryder Cup in 2027.

Adare, which changed hands in 2017 and closed for four years of upgrades, has a Tom Fazio-designed course, a famous castle and a Michelin-starred restaurant, to boot.

Just 10 minutes from the airport, you can visit Bunratty Castle (bunrattycastle.ie), a kind of living museum where you can attend medieval banquets they have been hosting for 60 years.

You are also close to the Cliffs of Mohr. The Doolin Ferry (https://doolinferry.com) about an hour’s drive from the airport, can take you out on the water to see the cliffs from this vantage point.

Proximity also means you can often have one more Irish experience on departure day.

You can fly directly to Shannon Airport from Boston and New York with Aer Lingus.

After the pandemic, getaways in the green hills of Ireland are on the rise.  (File photo)
After the pandemic, getaways in the green hills of Ireland are on the rise. (File photo)