Rita and Simon, May 28th 2011

Coming to Ireland from North America

There are 3 airports in Ireland that you can fly to:
  • Dublin.  Most of the direct flights from North America are to Dublin but it is the furthest airport from the ceremony (3 1/2 hours by car) and reception (2 1/2 hours).  If you are coming from Pittsburgh: unfortunately there are no direct flights from Pittsburgh to Dublin but our experience is that US Airways through Philadelphia and Continental through Newark are the quickest and most convenient routes to Dublin.  An alternative is Delta through Paris although this is a longer flight time than making your connection in the US.  If you are coming from Chicago: there are direct services from O'Hare with Aer Lingus and American.  If you are coming from other points in North America: currently, there are direct services to Dublin from: Atlanta (Delta), Boston (Aer Lingus),  Montreal (Air Transat), New York JFK (Aer LingusDelta), Newark (Continental), Orlando (Aer Lingus), Philadelphia (US Airways) and Toronto (Air CanadaAir Transat).  Another option is to fly to Dublin via London Heathrow (1 hour), which is directly connected to many more places in North America and from which there are flights every 30 minutes to Dublin.  
  • Shannon.  Shannon Airport is near Limerick, in the west of Ireland, is closer to the ceremony (about 2 hours by car) and reception venue (about 1 1/2 hours) than Dublin, and the drive does not involve negotiating Dublin traffic.   If you are coming from Pittsburgh: the Continental flight through Newark is the quickest and most convenient route. Unfortunately there is no connection through Paris Charles de Gaulle for the Delta flight from Pittsburgh.  If you are coming from Chicago: you can fly to Shannon through Dublin on Aer Lingus.  If you are coming from other points in North America: direct flights are only available from Boston (Aer Lingus), Newark (Continental) and Toronto (Air Transat).  It is possible to connect to Shannon through Dublin (Aer Lingus).
  • Cork. Cork Airport is the closest to the ceremony and reception venue, being just outside the city, and about a 1 hour drive from the reception, but there are no direct flights from North America.  Cork can be reached through Dublin (Ryanair) or London Heathrow (Aer Lingus).
Where to look for the cheapest flights?  As well as searching through each airline's website, there are many sites now that do this searching for you.  One that we like is Kayak.  Other commonly used ones are Expedia and lastminute.com.

What do we recommend?  If you are planning to arrive a day or two before the wedding then we recommend flying to Shannon.  This is because it is relatively convenient from North America and the drive to the wedding venues is both quicker and easier than from Dublin airport.  This is an important consideration when you are trying to cope with jetlag!  There is also a direct bus service from Shannon airport to Mallow, the closest town to the reception (see here for travel directions from Shannon). On the other hand, if you are arriving earlier and plan to take a few days in Dublin, it may make sense to fly to Dublin and stay there before coming down to the wedding venues.  If you do not want to drive through Dublin traffic, we recommend returning to the airport to rent a car at the end of your stay in the city, or take the train down to the wedding venues (see here for travel directions from Dublin).

Thinking of flying on Ryanair?  Ryanair is Europe's largest "budget" airline and has a very extensive network of flights within Ireland and beyond.  If you are thinking of travelling to other parts of Europe on this trip then you will certainly come across them.  There is no doubt that it can be incredibly cheap to fly with them but be warned that they have very high checked bag charges, making it sometimes an expensive way to travel if you are coming from North America with a lot of luggage.  Currently each bag costs €20 each way and can weigh no more than 15kg (32lb)!  They are very strict about this limit and will charge you excess baggage if you are only slightly over this weight.  Southwest Airlines it is not!  They are also notorious for penalising you for the slightest infraction.  For example, you must print out your boarding pass before going to the airport but if you forget then they charge you €40 per person for checking in at the airport. So make sure you have access to a printer before flying with them!

Coming to Ireland from Britain

Ireland can be reached by air or ferry from Britain.
  • By air, we recommend going to Dublin, Shannon or Cork.  Dublin Airport can be reached from many British airports (see here for details). Both Shannon and Cork also have direct flights from Britain and are closer to the ceremony and reception than Dublin, but there are fewer flights.  There are direct flights from Newcastle to Dublin (Ryanair) and Cork (jet2.com), as well as flights from Tees-Durham to Dublin (Aer Lingus).
  • By ferry, there are several routes:
  1. Cairnryan to Larne (P&O). The ferry takes 3 hours. Larne is 5 1/2 hours driving from the ceremony and 5 hours from the reception.
  2. Fishguard to Rosslare (Stena Line).  The ferry takes 3 1/2 hours. Rosslare is about 3 hours from the ceremony and also 3 hours from the reception.
  3. Holyhead to Dún Laoghaire (Stena Line), just outside Dublin, is an attractive option. The ferry takes 2 hours. Dún Laoghaire is 3 1/2 hours from the ceremony and 2 1/2 hours from the reception.
  4. Holyhead to Dublin (Irish FerriesStena Line). This takes the same time as the ferry to Dún Laoghaire and is the same distance from the ceremony and reception.  A disadvantage compared to Dún Laoghaire is that the ferry terminal is in the centre of the city, which you then have to navigate out of.
  5. Pembroke to Rosslare (Irish Ferries).  The ferry takes 4 hours. Rosslare is about 3 hours from the ceremony and also 3 hours from the reception.
  6. Stranraer to Belfast (Stena Line).  The ferry takes 3 hours. Belfast is 5 hours from the ceremony and 4 1/2 hours from the reception.