The huge runway at Knock airport was built to handle an influx of long haul visitors to the nearby Shrine of Knock, and although the expected numbers never quite materialised, the airport remains as an important gateway to north-west Ireland.
If you are just here to visit the shrine, or to embark on a local bus tour, then there is obviously no point in getting a rental car, because the airport is just a short bus or taxi journey away from the actual village of Knock.
If your plan is to carry on anywhere else other than the local towns and villages around the airport, then a hire car is almost certainly going to be essential.
Direct buses are however available from Knock airport to other regional destinations in north-west Ireland, but the nearest rail connections are some 20 miles away. It’s hardly surprising that given this is a very rural part of Ireland, public transport options only tend to be available on a very limited frequency basis, and they also will involve making many stops to serve local towns and villages.
Unless you plan to arrange a longer multi-day tour from Knock, or unless you plan to fly into Knock, and use intercity trains or buses to continue elsewhere, possibly onwards via Dublin or Shannon, then a hire car really is the best option here.
Why do you need a car in Knock?
Do you need a car in Knock? Well this one is about as clear as it gets. Unless you are just here for the shrine (in which case you won’t need to ask), then a hire car is all but essential in this part of Ireland. It’s not just that Knock is rural, it’s simply that the airport is nowhere near any major town, and it’s nowhere near a rail head.