The Republic of Ireland's biggest airport lies just north of its capital and serves as a major gateway to the country. All five Irish airline companies have their base here. The aiport is served mostly by airlines from western Europe and North America, with Etihad being the exception. Two of the home carriers operate many flights on behalf of others: CityJet for Air France and Air Contractors for DHL. Parts of both fleets wear the livery of those companies. Air Contractors' sole Lockheed Hercules operates for OSRL (Oil Spill Response Limited). Not mentioned on the right of this page are CityJet's Fokker 50s, that do not normally fly to or from Dublin.
As for the flying operations, one can expect rather constant runway use. Due to the vicinity of the sea and its influence on the wind, a single change of runway direction throughout the day is common. From morning until noon, and from late afternoon until the evening (roughly 5pm - 9pm) are the hours with the most appealing traffic.
Unlike many other European airports, Dublin has some room to expand. Major changes took place in 2008, when the large West Apron and southernmost terminal were constructed. At the same time, runway 11/29 (the northern one) was closed. While traces of even earlier runway patterns are still obvious, the airport is left with two active runways, of which the 2600m long 10/28 is the preferent one. The view over the field is generally quite good, thanks to the flat terrain. The terminal side obviously has many buildings blocking your line of sight.
By car, the aiport is easily reached via one of the adjacent motorways. There is no rail connection but a wide variety of buses and coaches provide transport to and from the field. The airport website has more information on these. The advantage of flying in or out as a passenger is the possible use of spot 10 of this guide.
Around the Airport
One of the better-known, but for photographers certainly not the best, observation points here features a lay-by of the Old Airport Road, directly opposite the beginning of 28. Obviously, this is also next to final 34, and the climb-out from 16 if you will. For number catching, this spot will do to log nearly everything moving. For photography, steps are necessary to aim over the high perimeter fence. Even then, other spots are more attractive to use the camera.
Spot 2 might be the best vantage point for photograpy at Dublin. Parking is usually no problem at the disused entrance to the Horizon Logistics Park, and mounds on either side of that entry enable the photographer to take photos clear of the fence. For traffic using 10/28 this spot is fine for number spotting, but activities elsewhere on the field are far away or even out of sight.
3Final 10 north side
Opposite spot 2, one may find an interesting photo spot for early morning shots of arrivals on 10, presumably in the Summer. Likewise, evening departures from 28 could make for attractive shots. Be advised that the fence is padded with wood, from this spot towards the east, obscuring the taxiway and runway.
Despite a blast fence, logging aircraft on this apron from the roadside should usually be no problem. In case it still is, there is an alternative next to the fire station. To reach that location, enter the road marked by large red signs but pass the gate to the fire station: the small road straight ahead leads to a gate in the fence of the West Apron. From there, a different viewing angle might bring spotting results. Photograpers have little to gain at spot 4.
5CHC & CityJet
Two companies have hangars just south of the Boot Inn: CHC Ireland and CityJet. The former operates very S-92s and the latter its well-known RJ85s. Some views may be had between buildings of a helicopter or two, while present jets are parked in plain view of the road. Limited photo possibilities exist at CityJet, when using steps.
Unfortunately, runway 16 is rarely used, while the view from spot 6 is splendid and roadside parking for a few cars not a problem. Be sure not to block the crash gate, of course. With 10/28 as active runway, chances are a CHC S-92 or other surprise comes in on 16, but the wait for that may be a while.
A short stop at this spot may produce additional numbers of aircraft parked on the North Apron, or in the large hangar. The Light Aircraft Park, where visiting bizjets park among others, is a bit too far with regard to the obstacle situation.
Another stop-and-go location that might produce some numbers, is this entrance to airside near Terminal 2. Despite many obstructions and the obvious security situation, one just might get a few missing registrations.
The so called Mezzanine of Terminal 1 features 'The Eating Place', with windows that give a lookout over the aprons and part of the runways. Photography is far from ideal here, but logging numbers is certainly an option.
10Terminal 2 airside
Should you happen to be a passenger in Terminal 2, it might be worthwhile to pay the end of the long Pier E a visit. This spot offers a fine view on taxiways and runway 28. Despite shooting through glass, photography is also well possible.
When runway 16 is in use, it offers excellent photo opportunities. Especially so in the afternoon, as shown by this view from spot 6. (Raymond Onderwater)
Runway 10/28 is the more common one. This photo from spot 2 shows Dornier G-BWIR, now flying for Dublin resident Aer Arann. (Raymond Onderwater)
|126.250 / 129.175||Radar|
|118.500||Flight Information Service|
Order of Battle Ireland
|Irish Air Corps|