Thousands are set to be dazzled in July by one of Ireland’s most spectacular air shows as an historic moment in the country’s remarkable contribution to global aviation will be celebrated in Foynes.

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny will be among the huge numbers of people that will flock to the West Limerick town as it celebrates the moment 75 years ago whenthe Pan American Airways ‘Yankee Clipper’ flying-boat made history with the first commercial trans-atlantic crossing to Foynes.

The Foynes/Shannon 75th Anniversary Air Show  will be a key element of a weekend tribute, across July 5th and 6th, to the airmen who crossed the Atlantic all of three quarters of a century ago on the historic flight.

Air travel was the preserve of the elite and very wealthy 75 years ago, as illustrated by the $675 fare – estimated to be the equivalent of over $11,000 (over €8,000) today – for a return ticket on the early flights into Foynes.   

It took anything from 20 hours to reach Foynes from New York, via Newfound-land, at the time, with passengers in those early days of commercial aviation travel including members of royal families, movie stars, military personnel and politicians.

This historic moment at the then-‘Shannon’ Airport will be celebrated with the family festival, which will run on Saturday and Sunday July 5th and 6th and will also double as the 25th anniversary of the opening of Foynes Flying Boat Museum – the only aviation museum in Ireland and the only dedicated flying boat museum in the world.  It was officially opened in July 1989 by its patron, Hollywood star Maureen O’Hara-Blair.

The high point of the July festival will be a three-hour air show on Sunday, July 6th featuring some of Europe’s leading aerobatic experts in a range of aircraft.  Over 20 acts from Ireland, the UK and Europe are booked to appear in what promises to be the country’s most spectacular air show for many years.  Sunday will also see An Taoiseach Enda Kenny unveil a plaque to all who used the Foynes air base.

Flying Boat Museum Dir-ector Margaret O’Shaugh-nessy said the anniversary weekend would rightly be one to remember.   “Foynes and Shannon Airport are the home of Irish aviation.  The history we have is second to none here in Ireland and has few rivals internationally.  It is only right then that we would put on a spectacular air show to recognise and celebrate those who carved out that history.  We have kept our aviation history alive here to this day with the Foynes Flying Boat Museum, which is also celebrating its birthday on the same weekend.”