A whole lot of love for regional airports — they deserve it

There are some terrific deals on flights from Cork, Shannon, and Kerry airports to European destinations this summer
A whole lot of love for regional airports — they deserve it

Cork Airport airport operates 40 routes via eight airlines with its new destinations not surprisingly luring consumers this summer. Picture: David Creedon

I don’t know the Guinness Book of Records time for getting through airport security in Ireland, but I feel like I’m about to find out soon via Twitter.

Following Dublin Airport’s recent PR woes with nightmare queuing times, consumers travelling through Ireland’s other airports have been quick to report their check-in conquests online. 

However, while it’s been a turbulent few months for Dublin Airport, recent controversies have put a more positive spotlight on the likes of Cork, Shannon, and Kerry airports, which so often can fall below our flight radar.

Airport issues, transport costs and the often prohibitive costs of an overnight hotel stay in the capital in the event of an early flight have all impacted our travel plans, my own included. 

So this week, I got word from Munster’s three main airports on how they are faring this summer ... and what fares from their gates can get you.

“It’s difficult to ascertain the exact geographical origin of our passengers,” Barry Murphy, Cork Airport's communications manager, tells me, “but our passenger traffic forecast for 2022 has been increased from 1.8m to 2.1m on the back of an increased demand for international travel and recent new route announcements.”

The airport currently operates 40 routes via eight airlines with its new destinations not surprisingly luring consumers to fly south — from the south — this summer.

All of our sun destinations have been performing extremely well since the commencement of the Summer Schedule in March 2022.

“Of the three new summer routes which are operated by Ryanair — Valencia, Alghero, and Pisa — all are performing extraordinarily well with indications of very positive load factors for the remainder of the summer.”

Route appeal together with a reported 100% of Cork Airport passengers being processed through security screening in less than 30 minutes is adding to the possible bounce.

And it’s a similar story at Shannon.

“We’re getting a really positive response to the introduction of a new security screening system at Shannon which halves the dwell time through security,” Nandi O’Sullivan, Shannon Group's head of communications, explains.

“It eliminates the need to separate liquids and electronics. We are the first State airport in Ireland to have this time-saving technology [though Kerry as a regional airport pipped them to it], which we undertook during the period of Covid travel restrictions. 

"We’re also getting daily reports on social media from people who say they are getting from the car park and through security in as little as 10 to 15 minutes at Shannon Airport,” she adds.

Down in the Kingdom, Kerry Airport (located 20mins north of Killarney) is keen to woo a new tranche of travellers looking for a low key gateway.

“Kerry Airport is ideally located for anyone wishing to travel on business or for pleasure,” John Mulhern, CEO of Kerry Airport explains, with the airport offering direct flights to seven destinations including Dublin, London Stansted, London Luton, Manchester, Frankfurt Hahn, Alicante and Faro, all with Ryanair.

"There are no delays when going through Kerry Airport, there’s ample and great value parking, as well as a friendly service.”

Airport deals

The new Ryanair route from Cork to the island’s historic hub of Alghero has been one of the most exciting new launches of the year and August return fares are currently available for a decent €240 return.

Did you know you that can also get to Greece without flying through Dublin? Shannon’s new route to Corfu will get you there from €340 return while in the Kingdom, if you’re looking for an alternative European road-trip you can fly to Frankfurt Hahn in July from €104 return. 

The airport itself is 120km from Frankfurt but that’s okay, it also sits in the heart of Germany’s top wine regions, not least the stunning Mosel Valley … prost!

All the above fares include a 10kg bag; ryanair.com

Art of Montenotte

The hospitality industry supporting local typically refers to a great farm-to-farm ethos but there’s also a growing movement of Irish hotels providing a canvas for creative artists too. 

'Tender and Loving' by Stephanie Hess at the annual outdoor sculpture exhibition at The Montenotte Hotel. Picture: Darragh Kane
'Tender and Loving' by Stephanie Hess at the annual outdoor sculpture exhibition at The Montenotte Hotel. Picture: Darragh Kane

None more so than The Montenotte in Cork which features an impressive open-air sculpture park in its sunken Victorian garden.

Last week saw the launch of their fifth annual sculpture exhibition in association with the acclaimed Kildare Gallery which will feature a new collection of more than 30 outdoor sculptures, curated by 22 of Ireland's leading artists. It runs until August 28 and makes an ideal accompaniment to a visit to The Montenotte’s botanical-themed Glasshouse Bar.

Celtic Ross Star

Comhghairdeas to The Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery which just last week was awarded the hard-earned distinction of four-star status by Fáilte Ireland.

The family hotel, run by the Wycherley family since its establishment 25 years ago, has long been a highly-rated property with guests and passers-by and is a great champion for local, West Cork produce. 

So much so, in fact, that in 2021 the hotel was accepted as a member of Good Food Ireland so one of their dining breaks may be worth a potential staycation snoop. For summer deals with dinner and breakfast start from €259 per night.

Clew Bay Cycling

Looking for a biking break? To celebrate Clew Bay becoming Ireland's first official cycling-friendly destination, Knockranny House Hotel is offering a special package to explore the area.

The cycle-friendly Clew Bay initiative itself is run by Cycling Solutions Ireland and is supported by Mayo County Council.
The cycle-friendly Clew Bay initiative itself is run by Cycling Solutions Ireland and is supported by Mayo County Council.

The Wild Atlantic Cycle Package includes two nights B&B, dinner on one evening, one day bike hire for two adults and complimentary use of Spa Salveo Vitality Pool and Thermal Suites.

Rates start from €235pp in June and €275pp in July and August.

The cycle-friendly Clew Bay initiative itself is run by Cycling Solutions Ireland and encourages cycling as a means of sustainable and active transport and is supported by Mayo County Council.

Junction Arts Festival

It’s the trip to Tipp with an artistic edge. This weekend sees the return of the acclaimed Clonmel Junction Arts Festival, an eclectic celebration which has been providing a platform for the creative arts for 21 years.

The theme for Clonmel Junction Arts Festival 2022 is Hidden Histories with programme highlights including performances from The Sofa Symphony and acrobat performance artists Cikada Circus acrobat as well as events from the En Plein Eir Painting Workshop to intimate gigs at Raheen House. Many performances are also free of charge and family-friendly.

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