Dublin Airport is not just the busiest airport in Ireland, but also one of the busiest airports in Europe. The airport officially opened in 1940 with only 1 terminal, but expanded in 2010 to accommodate increasing passenger demand. Today there are 2 terminals, and the airport has the capacity to accommodate more than 20 million passengers (as of 2013). The most popular destinations from the airport are mostly within Europe, including London, Paris, Manchester and Frankfurt.
Where to go from Dublin
If you feel like taking a short weekend getaway from Dublin, the idyllic county of Donegal is less than an hour away from Dublin Airport by flight. Experience the beautiful Inishbofin Island, an unspoilt piece of nature featuring rocky cliffs, caves, sea arches and sandy beaches, as well as Barnacle Geese that fly in during winter. Also known for its water sports, the Island is a great location for surfing, kayaking and rock fishing.
Another must-see in Donegal is the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s first long-distance touring route. The route takes you from Donegal to West Cork along the Atlantic Coast, promising some of the most gorgeous coastal scenery you can find in the world.
Otherwise, another popular Irish destination is Belfast. The birthplace of world-famous cruise ship the Titanic, the city is home to the Titanic Belfast, the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience. Go to the actual historic site of the doomed ship’s construction and learn about her behind-the-scenes story, revel in the pride of her makers, and find out intimate details about her maiden voyage and eventual tragic end. Besides that, Belfast also features Cave Hill, Stormont Castle and more, for an all-rounded holiday experience.
If you feel like enjoying some history, head over to Galway, the bustling Irish city with a long and colourful past. Once there check out the Lynch Castle (which houses the Allied Irish Bank today) that was once owned by the powerful Lynch family who was the unfortunate namesake behind the term ‘Lynch Law’ as then-mayor James Lynch actually convicted his own son of murder, and executed him. Today a black marble plaque at the old prison in Galway marks the spot of the hanging, a reminder of the city’s dark past. But Galway is otherwise an exuberant, vibrant city, as you’ll see if you are at Salmon Weir Bridge during salmon season. Feel the infectious excitement of the crowd as they watch shoals of salmon make their difficult journey upriver to spawn and applaud the anglers who reel in their catch.
For something a little further away, hop on one of the many flights that connect Dublin Airport to Naples International Airport in Italy. Less than 4 hours away, the mysterious and beautiful Naples is a favourite among tourists in Europe. The third most populated city in Italy, its name stems from the Greek word Neapolis – meaning New City.
Naples is steeped in history and art, and is known for its proximity to places of great historical interest such as Pompeii. Also, it is home to a treasure trove of artistic wonders -- The National Archaeological Museum of Naples contains one of the world’s best collection of Greek and Roman antiques, many of which had been derived from excavations at Pompeii.
For a touch of the morbid, visit the historic Cemetery of the Fontanelle, which was used to collect the corpses of hundreds of thousands of people in the 16th century after the city underwent numerous disasters – earthquakes, eruptions of Vesuvius and epidemics, to name a few. The Cemetery is also home to mummified Donna Margherita Petrucci, wife of Count Filippo Carafa, who is thought to have died choking on a piece of gnocchi and therefore sports a wide open mouth and a somewhat panicked expression in death.
For the more adventurous, take a long-haul flight from Dublin Airport to Cape Town International Airport in South Africa. The largest city in the Western Cape Province, Cape Town is known as the ‘Mother City’ and is renowned for its beautiful natural scenery as well as diverse wildlife, both on land and in the seas surrounding it. Cape Town’s most famous icon, the Table Mountain, was voted by thousands to be among one of the New7 Wonders of Nature, a global poll which seeks to create a list of seven natural wonders. Take a relaxing scenic cable car ride up the peculiarly shaped mountain, or, if you feel up to it, spend a day hiking up to the peak. Once there, you’ll be treated to amazing views of the majestic Atlantic Ocean and Cape Town city centre.
For wildlife lovers, whale-watching boat tours and shark-cage diving are some of the most popular aquatic activities offered in Cape Town. With several oceanic migratory pathways bypassing Cape Town, you’ll be able to see the giants of the ocean in their natural habitat.
If you’re not a wildlife person you can also go direct to Toronto, Canada, from Dublin airport. Canada’s largest city and also one of the largest in North America, Toronto is home to a diverse population and consistently ranked one of the most liveable cities in the world. Boasting beautiful sand and cobble beaches, waterfront parks, galleries full of contemporary and ancient art as well as imposing architecture in the form of world-famous building the CN Tower, there is so much to do and see in this city.
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Airports near Dublin
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