3 hours to spare at Shannon Airport

Aug 25th, 2003, 06:22 PM
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3 hours to spare at Shannon Airport

On a Friday in early November we arrive at 7:00 AM and meet up with another travel group at 12:00 at the nearby Shannon International Hotel. Allowing time for getting our baggage, etc. and walking to the hotel we have about 3 to 3 1/2 hours to spare. What can we do to see the area in this amount of time? We are uncertain if our car will be available before or after 12:00. If our car is not available before 12:00 is there public transportation such as a train to make a quick trip into Limerick? All suggestions welcomed.
Aug 25th, 2003, 10:59 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
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You might as well stay in the airport - there's nothing to see in Limerick - especially on a Friday morning in November! Have a long leisurely breakfast and read the newspapers.
Plates is offline  
Aug 26th, 2003, 01:14 AM
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Go to the Cafeteria on the upper level at the airport and have a nice Irish breakfast. I do that quite often: what they serve you on the flight just doesn't 'hack it' for me. There's also a shop on that level outside duty free and restrooms where you can freshen up after your overnight TransAtlantic flight.

You'll probably have more time than you expect: if your flight arrives at 7 AM you should have cleared Immigration and Customs by 8 AM.
NEDSIRELAND is offline  
Aug 26th, 2003, 02:41 AM
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Shannon airport is small with only a couple of small stores outside the duty free area. Four hours will be a long time to kill there. If you have no car though you'll be stuck as there is no train. If you do have a car you can drive to Bunratty, about a 10 minute drive down the road. There is a castle, a folk park and several tourist oriented stores (and other than B&Bs that's all there is in Bunratty, no actual town). The castle/folk park open at either 9 or 9:30 so you'd have a couple of hours to do them which would be just about the right amount of time. You can no longer pay for just one or the other, it's a combined ticket and cost 10 euro. Very touristy but quite well done and early in the morning maybe there won't be too many tour buses yet.
isabel is offline  
Aug 26th, 2003, 04:03 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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I would strongly suggest driving up to The Dromoland Castle Hotel. It's a world renown 5 * Hotel with fabulous grounds! Not too far.....actually it's in "Newmarket on Fergus"....you might stop in Ennis for breakfast, then drive a short distance to the Dromoland!
An unforgettable experience! I've been many times!
martita is offline  
Aug 26th, 2003, 04:05 AM
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If I'm not mistaken, the cafeteria at Shannon is in the Departure/Duty Free area. With security the way it is now, I wouldn't think they would allow you to get in there.

Budman is offline  
Aug 26th, 2003, 05:32 AM
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Two options - stay at the airport and relax after your flight or take a bus into either Limerick or Ennis for a nice stroll and breakfast. The buses pick-up just outside the arrival doors to the left and run every 30mins. It may depend on the weather as it will be dark and a bit chilly in November, but I would personally enjoy the cold air after a long flight. Enjoy your trip!
Keenan is offline  
Aug 26th, 2003, 01:35 PM
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Keenan, etc.:
You say the buses run every 30 minutes to Limercik and Ennis.
How long is the ride to each destination?
Aug 27th, 2003, 12:58 AM
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Budman writes: "Message: If I'm not mistaken, the cafeteria at Shannon is in the Departure/Duty Free area. ... " Not! There's a bar in the duty free area but the main Cafeteria is on the opposite side of the building, away from Duty Free. If I have an early flight I always stop there, either for a full Irish breakfast or just for coffee and a pastry.
NEDSIRELAND is offline  
Aug 27th, 2003, 03:39 AM
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Cafeteria is accesssible to all, and they make a really good expresso! Perfect for right after the flight.

To get a bus, just exit straight out the doors and walk to the left. The bus stop is almost across from the Great Southern Hotel at the airport
and as you would suppose, the schedules are posted on the shelter.

You pay the bus driver for your ticket.

By bus, Bunratty (castle opens at 9 a.m.) is 15 minutes away; Limerick is about 1/2 hour. It would be less but the bus has to go through all the council estates for passengers. Frequency is about every 1/2 hour I believe. Here is the url for the Bus Eirann journey planner:

Bunratty might be worth it to you. We did a quick 9-11:30 tour our last day, and we took the 11:50 bus to the airport. You can get an earlier one and be right on time.

As so very many posters on this board have indicated, Bunratty is touristy but it's not a tourist trap. The Folk Park does an excellent job of representing West Ireland (and we visited after seeing West Ireland)and indeed at your hour, you'll beat all the photo-snapping tour bus inhabitees.

Although we enjoyed spending an afternoon in Limerick, for your intents and purposes, don't think it would be worth it.
Aug 27th, 2003, 12:40 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 167
I think that Amelia covered your question, but it is not a long ride at all. The only problem being that Irish towns do not wake up too early so I wouldn't hurry to either city, although Limerick does have a McD's downtown. The bus stations for both are a good walk from the town centers so you would want to check closer bus stops which should be easy on the provided Bus Eireann website. Limerick has a few good sites downtown such as the Hunt Museum, St. Marys and King John's castle, the Hunt having a wonderful collection of Bronze age relics. I'm not as familiar with Ennis as I've only passed through but will stay there next month after reading some of the positive posts on this site. Anywho, enjoy and just plan your time/travel. KJS
Keenan is offline  
Aug 27th, 2003, 01:45 PM
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Keenan: I like Ennis a lot, but as you put it so well, Ireland just doesn't get moving early. In fact, I was surprised we were able to get into the castle at 9 a.m. in Bunratty.

Another problem is that Ennis is around 50 minutes by bus (by car/taxi, shorter, but traffic can become a huge problem at times, too). With their time limitations, and the fact that the towns wake up so slowly, I think the breakfast at the cafeteria and then on to Bunratty may suit their timing.

You have another good point--the Limerick bus station is quite out of the way of town center. Ennis is a bit closer (we walked it our first day in Ireland), but there's nothing to see early anyway.

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