Car hire at Shannon Airport
Hiring a car at Shannon Airport
Shannon Airport (SNN), located in County Clare, is one of Ireland’s primary airports. The hub is ideal for those looking to explore Limerick, Ennis, Galway and the south-west of Ireland.
Out of all the airports in Europe, Shannon is located at the most western point, making it a stepping stone between the old and new worlds. It was designated as Ireland’s Transatlantic Airport, as its geographical location makes it a gateway between Europe and America.
From the airport, you can explore the rest of Shannon and County Clare or you can hit the road and see what natural beauty and adventures await you on the Emerald Isle.
What you need to know
There are a good selection of hire car companies that service Shannon Airport, including Hertz, Thrifty, Enterprise, Europcar and Avis. This means you should be able the get the car you want within your budget. To make sure this happens, you could use Holiday Autos’ booking tool to arrange your rental before you fly.
We will show you the exact cost, without any hidden charges or credit card fees, and we will display the types of cars that are available within the dates of your trip. You don’t have worry about having to pay amendment or cancellation fees either once you’ve booked, as we don’t believe you should be penalised just because your plans have changed. We also provide customer support around the clock, should you need us.
Where to pick up your car
Once you’ve landed and collected any checked-in luggage, head to the arrival hall where you will see all the car rental company desks. If you’ve arranged your hire vehicle before you travelled, then you would just need to fill in a bit of paperwork and then the keys are yours. The cars themselves can be picked up from designated areas across from the terminal building.
If you don't book your hire car before you travel, there will be a bit more hassle involved, as you’ll need to check out who can provide the car you want. It is also likely to be more expensive compared to booking beforehand, which is why arranging your rental car through Holiday Autos prior to travelling is the best option.
“The pick-up was easy, it took 5 minutes from arriving at the desk to driving out the car, and the return took even less time.”
Where to go
The best way to explore Shannon and the surrounding areas is by car. Once you’ve picked your rental up, there’s so much you can see and do, depending on where your interests lie. If you’re after unparalleled views, then you should head straight to the world-famous Cliffs of Moher. On a clear day, you will be able to see the Twelve Pins and the Maum Turk mountains in Connemara, the Dingle Peninsula and Blasket Islands in Kerry.
You could visit some of Ireland’s most unusual landscapes in the Burren, which is the largest karstic limestone area in Western Europe and is home to rare plants, as well as delicate flora and fauna that grows out of tiny cracks and crevices.
There’s so much natural beauty to see across County Clare, from the famous river Shannon and Lough Derg, to the rugged Atlantic coastline that is dotted with stunning beaches and lofty cliffs. You could stop in one of the charming towns and villages located in the county, such as Doolin, which has some great pubs that offer warm welcomes, tasty food and traditional music.
Nearby Shannon Airport
Your Irish adventure can start as soon as you drive out of the airport carpark, as there is a myriad of things to see and do just a stone’s throw away. Shannon town - the second largest town in County Clare - is a ten minute drive away from the airport. As soon as you arrive, you’ll feel the community spirit that pours into the streets and flows into shops and bars.
If you’re looking to explore the history of the Irish county, you could head to Bunratty Castle, which lies just 12 km from the airport.
Just half an hour away from the airport sits the city of Limerick, which is the perfect balance of medieval and modern. Around every corner is a reminder of its history as a sheltered seaport created by Viking traders. Before you leave the city, you should take the time to marvel at King John’s castle and the cathedral.
Hiring a car means that you can hit the road and get an authentic taste of Ireland - and there’s no better place to do this than on the Wild Atlantic Way. The whole route is around 2,500 kilometres long, but the County Clare stage is just 230 kilometres.
It starts in the village of Killimer and ends in Kinvarra on the Galway border. The route is packed with things to see and do, such as the Cliffs of Moher, Burren National Park, Kilkee beach and the chance to get up close and personal with dolphins.
Overall, the journey takes around two days to complete, but you could stretch this into a week or two if you make stops at attractions and hotels along the way. You will pass through some charming villages - including Kilrush, Carrigaholt, Kilkee, Doonbeg, Quilty, Spanish Point and Miltown Malbay - all against a backdrop of natural beauty.
Top attractions near Shannon Airport
You don’t have to look miles away from Shannon Airport for things to do when you arrive, as there is so much to see and do close by that can be easily reached by car
A 30-minute drive from Shannon Airport will take you to the Craggaunowen Living Past Experience. Here you can explore Ireland’s Celtic ancestry and travel back in time by one thousand years. You can learn how the people living in and around Shannon in the Bronze Age survived, ate, hunted and entertained themselves. There is a charming tea-room onsite, should you want to stop for something to eat.
Bunratty Castle and Folk Park
This is the most complete and authentic medieval castle in Ireland and is well worth a visit. Originally built in 1425, the castle was painstakingly restored to its former glory in 1954. With its recreated village streets, watermill, farm houses and blacksmith’s forge, the 26 acres of surrounding land will take you back in time.
Brian Boru Heritage Centre
Here you can learn about King Brian Boru, who is often referred to as Ireland’s greatest monarch. The exhibition explores his life story, focusing particularly on how his army defeated Viking invaders during the Battle of Clontarf in 1014.