I've always had a preference for Aer Lingus, they've served me and my family well in the past and where more like an old school airline that really took care of it's passengers. Unfortunately these days they've gone the way of the penny pincher and have implemented many cost cutting plans to bring them more in line with Ryanair.
Last year Aer Lingus pulled out of Shannon airport, totally abandoning the west of Ireland. Us westys are not at all happy with Aer Lingus and many have said they'll boycott Aer Lingus from now on. Me included.
You can still fly directly into the west of Ireland and I'd encourage everyone to do so, I'll list the airports below.
Never mind the Pale (Dublin) with it's fancy cafes and poncey bars. If it's country side and good honest ta God craic in real drinkin' pubs, then hop out here to the west of Ireland.
: This is by far the biggest airport in the west. It's also a trade airport so it's well catered for with motorways and buses. It's about 2 hours from Galway and an hour to Limerick, you have very easy access to Kerry down below and Connemara up above.
: also known as Ireland west international (the suits from Dublin thought Knock wasn't descriptive enough). Songs have been wrote about this airport, the brain child of a mad bishop and partly funded by the US military it's one of the longest runways in Europe, capable of taking even the biggest of planes. It has one of the best views anywhere, as the runway is ontop of a mountain and you get a lovely panoramic view, it's even worth the €10 development fee you have to pay when flying out.
: 10 minutes from Galway city it's a handy place to fly into. It becomes a hive of activity during the Galway races when all the moneybags use it for getting about Galway in their helicopters. Very handy for seeing Connemara and Galway city. Pain to get in and out of due to poor development in the area.
: We're going to die, we're going to die, we're going to die, oh the runway. Thank Christ for that. Sligo airport is located on a beach and the runway is short so you think the pilots landing the plane in the ocean until the last minute. Sligo airport is also blessed with amazing views and is also a popular spot for surfers because of the rough Atlantic sea. Your about 2 hours from Galway city and almost have to drive through Connemara to get there.
I have to make a special mention of Aer Arann
this is the airline of the Arann Islands. They're much more like airlines used to be and haven't forgot that customer is number 1. They use older prop driven planes and have loads of leg room (I'm converted simply because of the legroom) and free newspapers for everyone. They fly into most these airports for a reasonable price.