TIPS & LOCATIONS

This page is designed to give a quick guide on some of the locations for photographing aircraft at different airports in Europe.

As many aviation enthusiasts know, since the terrorist attacks in the USA in 2001, very many official viewing locations were closed down and some people look upon aircraft enthusiasts with suspicion. Photographing aircraft is not illegal, but there are places where it is allowed and those where it is forbidden, for example, BAA does not allow photography inside the airport. Always observe signs and notices, I recommend carrying some form of ID.

I have never had any problems with Gardai or Airport Security personnel in Ireland, I think it's part of the Irish culture - people are genuinely incredibly friendly.

Aerofort Irish Airport sign small

Note that in large part, the locations listed are not official viewing areas and you are reminded to abide by all laws and common sense when it comes to visiting these places. I would always suggest keeping well back from fences, do not trespass on private land, and politely follow any requests or demands by those in authority.

 
 
 

 

  Overview  
 

Dublin Airport is the main entry point into Ireland and over the past number of years it has been undergoing a major extension and refurbishment. Since 2006 I've been visiting Dublin and watching the new terminal 2 becoming a major new feature at the airport.

Dublin is host to many airlines including Aer Lingus, Aer Arann, Ryanair, CityJet, American, US Airways, Delta, Continental, Etihad, Iberia, SAS, Lufthansa, Swiss, BMI etc. and this is to be expected for an international gateway. Note that it is rare to see an aircraft larger than an A330 at Dublin.

dUBLIN AIRPORT
A VIEW OF DUBLIN AIRPORT

Cork Airport is Ireland's 3'rd largest airport and is located on the south coast. It's in another very beautiful, albeit less mountainous areas. The airport itself has a very modern terminal building and is home to a flying school so as well as airliners you often see smaller cessnas and the like on circuits.

Cork airport has a number of operators including Aer Lingus, Aer Arann, Ryanair and Jet2. Other operators include Air Southwest, and a number of charter airlines during summer months. Note that Cork does not have transatlantic flights.

CORK AIRPORT
A VIEW OF CORK AIRPORT

 

Accommodation tips!

 

Ireland is my destination of choice for a short break, there really is so much to see and do and a lot of beautiful scenery (not just the aircraft). I've been fortunate to stay in some really good hotels that I frankly can't rate highly enough and here's 3 of them.

MY PERSONAL RECOMMENDATIONS

DUBLIN
- A must for any spotter is the
CARLTON AIRPORT HOTEL
located on the old airport road. This is a modern 4 star hotel but has much cheaper rates than equivalent hotels in the heart of Dublin. The good thing about this hotel is some of the rooms look out over the airport and that can only get better with Terminal 2 open. Additionally this hotel is very well located for the spotting locations, and for getting out and about in the Wicklow region.

CORK
- A must for any spotter is the
THE CORK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT HOTEL
you can walk out of the terminal building, across the car park and you are in one of the most amazing hotels that I think I've ever stayed in. This hotel is extremely new build and of exceptional standard. There's so much aircraft memorabilia in here as well, some great seating locations, wonderful lighting effects, modern art, open fires, its very special and well worth a stay. 4 star, but again exceptionally well priced.

 

GALWAY
- I've not listed Galway as a spotters location because there are only 2 airlines flying there. But I would highly recommend a visit, I go there frequently and it's a beautiful place. The travelling in is about as stress free as flying gets. To top that off stay at yet another exceptionally keenly priced 4 start hotel called
THE CLAYTON
this hotel is another new build and I've stayed here numerous times over the last couple of years. It is absolutely immaculate, has the most comfortable beds anywhere and a great bar!

 
   
  Viewing Areas
 

Dublin Airport

The best and most accessible viewing area is along the old airport road, there is a very large layby and a high mound which enables photos over the fence of aircraft lining up and departing.

Do note that this road is very busy and although video can be taken here, the sound is often ruined by the noise of the vehicles and often by large lorries that obscure views.

SAS AIRBUS LINING UP AT DUBLIN AIRPORT
A VIEW FROM THE OLD AIRPORT ROAD LOCATION

Alternative viewing location - The Carlton Airport Hotel - book a room with an airport view.

Cork Airport

Car Park
From the upper floor of the car park at Cork Airport you can get some nice photos of aircraft coming in to land or those taxiing out to the runway.


A VIEW FROM THE AIRPORT CAR PARK

Runway Views
Depending on which runway is in use, you can get some great views of aircraft lining up and departing out over Cork. The airport does not have a parallel taxiway therefore all aircraft must backtrack and turn around etc on the runway itself.


TAKEN AT THE END OF THE RUNWAY AT CORK


There are no refreshments or toilet facilities a any of the locations detailed.

     
  Getting There - Along the runway side on views  
  DUBLIN
By Road - Leave the terminal and follow the signs to exit the airport. You will be heading towards the first main roundabout called the Airport Roundabout you'll see a large monument in the centre of this roundabout.

You need to take the 2nd exit heading on the Swords Road heading on the R132 to Swords (you can also follow the signs for the long stay parking & Car Hire for easier reference) you'll see the car Hire on the left, but don't turn in, carry on down Swords Road. Eventually you'll come to a junction operated by traffic lights, on the inside you have a Bus Lane then at the junction you can carry on towards the Carlton Hotel or turn right into Old airport Road.

Turn right at the traffic lights and follow the Old airport road you'll be following the runway. You'll see the large layby on the left. Pull in and enjoy your day!

Another View ;
Continue past the large layby heading along the old airport road. At the end of this road there's another traffic light operated junction. Turning left takes you onto the M50 Motorway. However if you turn RIGHT you'll continue following the perimeter of the airport heading towards St Margarets. Along this road you'll pass the threshold to the other end of the runway. Not many places to park along here unfortunately.

CORK
By Road - You are heading to LIOS CROSS and you are at the end of the runway.

Leave the airport and head right on the R600, Kinsale Road. The journey time with be about 15mins you will eventually come to a very small junction called Bowens Cross here, you want to turn right onto the L2456 which isn't very well signposted and the roads are small and quite unassuming, it's not a big junction. There is a "multiple" signpost with loads of different signs pointing all over the place including a tiny one as shown above "Aerofort". Sorry that's about the best description I can give.

Follow the L2456 for another 10 mins or so, and you will come to a cross roads i.e. Lois Cross. You're now under the runway lights and there;s a place to pull up and stop. Great views can be had here of departures from runway 35.

I know some of the descriptions aren't that great but a lot of the places I find are by trial and error - a bit of instinct.. as long as you broadly follow the airport perimeter and have a look at Google Earth you can find some great spots, but hopefully these give a few pointers. Don't waste all your time looking at aircraft, Ireland is too beautiful a place for that!!

PHOTOGRAPHY
Ladders are not required anywhere all the images i've taken have been without ladders, mainly thanks to luck in finding the locations with mounds of earth or platforms of some description nearby.  I would recommend a lens up to 300mm for most photos however, at Cork at the end of the runway you could get away with a much smaller lens.


A VIEW FROM THE ROADSIDE AT DUBLIN

 

 
A VIEW FROM CORK

     
   
 
© David Hynes    

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