Cork Airport Guide
Cork Airport Information
Cork Airport is one of the most important in Ireland. With nearly 3 million annual passengers, the airport ranks second to Dublin Airport in terms of throughput. If Northern Ireland is taken into account, Cork ranks as the third-busiest airport on the island. For travellers who want to explore the southern region of the Republic of Ireland by hire car, there is no better gateway than Cork.
Cork Airport opened in the 1950s and wasn’t that important at first. In the early days of commercial flights, Ireland was a famous last stop for transatlantic flights to North America. In those days, traffic was routed through Shannon Airport. However, the airport became increasingly important in the last couple of decades, leading to the construction of a brand new terminal building in 2006.
Expansion continues at Cork Airport. Plans are underway to enlarge the airport by a factor of three, extending runways and adding departure gates. Analysts predict that annual throughput will meet or exceed 3 million by 2017, and the airport authority is intent on maintain modern facilities that are more than adequate to accommodate these passengers.
Aer Lingus and Ryanair operate the bulk of the commercial flights that take off from and land at Cork Airport. Aer Lingus flies to several European hubs, including Paris, Rome, Munich, London (Gatwick and Heathrow), Barcelona and Amsterdam. Ryanair offers discount connections to London and several prominent holiday destinations, some of which are offered on a seasonal basis. Dozens of charter routes are also on offer.
Cork Airport Public Transport
Cork Airport is located 8 kilometres south of the city proper, and it takes about 15 minutes to drive between the two under standard traffic conditions. Renting a car from the terminal is the most convenient method of getting around, but there are plenty of public transport services available as well.
Travel by car
As mentioned, travelling to Cork Airport by car is most convenient. The short-term car park is close to the terminal entrance, and those who have rented a car at the airport through CARHIRE.ie can leave their vehicle here when they return it.
In all, there are just shy of 5,000 parking spaces across the short- and long-term facilities. The long-term car parks (P1 and P2) are located opposite the short-term complex and east of the terminal, respectively.
Travel by taxi
Taxis queue outside the main terminal, and offer metered rates anywhere in the vicinity. They can be expensive, and it’s a good idea to figure out the fare before you set out so that you know what you are in for. Anyone wary of getting in too deep with taxi fares may want to consider cheap car hire at Cork Airport.
Travel by rail
There are no rail services at the airport, but Iarnrod Eireann (Irish Rail) runs a shuttle bus terminal from the terminal to Cork Kent Railway Station. This station is relatively close to the Parnell Place bus station, and it takes about 10 minutes to walk between the two.
Travel by bus
Buses are affordable and can work if you do not have too many bags. Bus Éireann operates regular service between the terminal and the city. Meanwhile, Citylink operates intercity service between Cork and Galway (3 hours) and Limerick (2 hours).
Returning Your Car Rental at Cork Airport
Where Do I Return My Car?
There is so much to see and do in Cork, and visitors have so much to see, do and enjoy. Holidays in southern Ireland have a habit of winding down before you’re ready to go home. All the same, if you are driving a hired car from our Cork Airport car hire desk, you’ll at least be able to get off the road and back into the air in a timely manner.
From Cork City Centre
The return procedure usually takes just a few minutes, but CARHIRE.ie officially recommends allotting 30 minutes just in case there are any complications. The airport is 8 kilometres south of Cork City Centre, and can be reached in about 15 minutes outside of rush hour. If you are coming from the city itself, take the N27 (south link road). At the Kinsale Road Roundabout, take the 2nd exit. Drive up the hill approx 3km going straight through traffic lights until you reach the next roundabout. Take the 3rd exit into the airport. Follow the signs for the 'Car Rental Return Car Park'. At the 5th roundabout, take the 1st exit and our compound is directly on your right.
From Killarney/West Cork
From Kerry, drive along the N22 until you reach the Kinsale Roundabout and take the 4th exit. Drive up the hill approx 3km going straight through traffic lights until you reach the next roundabout. Take the 3rd exit into the airport. Follow the signs for the 'Car Rental Return Car Park'. At the 5th roundabout, take the 1st exit and our compound is directly on your right
Drive directly through the Jack Lynch tunnel (N25 West). Follow the road for approx 5km, take the 2nd exit on this road (signposted for Cork Airport), stay in the left hand lane at all times. When you come to the roundabout take the 1st exit. Drive up the hill approx 3km going straight through traffic lights until you reach the next roundabout. Take the 3rd exit into the airport. Follow the signs for the 'Car Rental Return Car Park'. At the 5th roundabout, take the 1st exit and our compound is directly on your right
You’ll be dropping your Cork Airport rental car at the same car park where you picked it up. Pull into the lot and let the associate know that you are returning your hire car. The terminal is just around the corner – a short walk away. Stop by the help desk in the terminal and drop off the keys with the associate.
Security Information at Cork Airport
Cork Airport’s sleek, new design simplifies the check-in and security screening process. The check-in desks are on the ground hall of the terminal. As you enter through the front door, the ticketing counters and departure desks are to the left.
Luggage requirements depend on the airline, but most allow you to carry one carry-on item with you. Typically, this bag must weigh no more than 10 kilograms and fit in the overhead compartment. Beyond this, you can also carry a personal item with you. This could be a notebook computer, a purse or a briefcase.
When setting your carry-on luggage aside, be sure that you have removed all liquids and gels aside. Current EU security regulations require that any liquids, gels or pastes carried onto an airplane be kept in 100 millilitre bottles, all of which must fit into a one re-sealable plastic bag no bigger than 20 cm x 20 cm (about 1 litre).
The regulations related to liquids are the only ones that cause much confusion. Beyond this, the prohibitions are more obvious and easier to anticipate. Anything that could explode, slice, cut or inflict blunt force trauma is prohibited in the cabin. This rules out most tools, sporting equipment, kitchen utensils, etc. Furthermore, anything that fires a projectile (including realistic-looking toy guns) are not allowed.
Representatives at Cork Airport recommend showing up about 90 minutes ahead of your scheduled flight in order to check-in and clear security. If you are returning your hired car at Cork Airport location, you may want to add another 30 minutes just to be safe.
Start your search
Top 10 family outings in Ireland
If you're organising a family trip to explore Ireland, have a look at the recommendations here before making travel plans.Learn More
About the Wild Atlantic Way
Discover our top tips for Ireland's 2,500 kilometres of breathtaking coastline with white sands and sparkling waves along the Wild Atlantic Way path.Learn More
Top 10 things to do in Dublin
Whether you are looking for a day out, or more Dublin tourist information about what should be on your list of things to do, look no further!Learn More
Visiting Cork City
Visit the Rebel city and explore the flourishing hub of Irish culture and history, known for its markets, music, pubs and entertainment scene.Learn More