Airports are expensive facilities, so it’s very uncommon for them to be built and then never used. These ghost airports do exist, with the most famous example being Ciudad Real International Airport in Spain. That was built at a cost of €1.1 billion and has been barely used.

Ireland has quite a lot of airports for its size, and I was amazed to discover there are two more sitting idle. What is worse is that these are hardly old facilities.

Ghost Airports of Ireland

Completed in 2009 at a cost of over €9 million, the two airports in question are located in County Galway in the west of Ireland. One is on the island of Inishbofin, pictured at the top of this article.

With a population of just 180 people, it is 8km off the mainland, and current sees ferry services from Cleggan. Speaking of Cleggan, that is the other place where an airstrip was built. The population there is about 260.

Neither airport has actually been completed. The planned terminal buildings were never built and the runways were never brought into use. Each has been maintained, costing thousands and thousands of Euro each year.

A new contract was signed today covering the services from Connemara to Inis Mór, Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr. In the news article about it, right at the end it was mentioned that the airstrips at Cleggan and Inishbofin were also included, which is how I found out about them.

Overall Thoughts

With the new contract running until 2025, it looks like Ireland’s two ghost airports will continue to be maintained though unused. Apparently there is some issue with one of the facilities being designated as a Public Service Obligation (PSO) facility, meaning regular services would have to be subsidised.

It would be a shame to see the facilities go to ruin, almost as much of a shame it is to spend money maintaining nothing, notwithstanding the original cost. The Irish Government should either get them operational for general aviation or sell them off to some enterprising organisation who might use them. At present, it’s all a bit of a waste really.

What do you think of these Irish ghost airports? Have you ever seen them yourself? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Mark Dwyer/Flying In Ireland via Irish Examiner.
Cleggan image by Jim Lee/Flying In Ireland via Irish Examiner.