Foynes is a major port village on the southern bank of the Shannon Estuary in County Limerick.
For a time during the 1930s and ’40s, Foynes became one of the biggest civilian airports in Europe.
This was due to the fact that land-based planes lacked the flying range for Atlantic crossings and Foynes was the first/last port of call on the Atlantic’s eastern shore for seaplanes.
The renowned Charles Lindbergh carried out surveying flights for flying boat operations in 1933, with work on a terminal beginning in 1935.
On 5 July 1937, the first transatlantic proving flights were operated from Foynes to Botwood, Newfoundland with successful transits of twelve and just over fifteen hours, respectively.
After this, services to New York, Southampton, Montreal, and Lisbon were to follow.
Among the notable names to travel through Foynes on the flying boats were John F. Kennedy, Humphrey Bogart, Ernest Hemingway, Bob Hope, and Eleanor Roosevelt.
The opening of Shannon Airport in 1942 signaled the end for the flying-boat station, which closed in 1946.
The Foynes Flying Boat Museum was opened in 1989 by actress Maureen O’Hara, who was a patron of the museum until her death in 2015.
Around the village are over 17 acres of mixed woodland, which features the lovely Foynes Wood Walk, with viewing points looking out over the Estuary. This woodland once comprised a tiny fraction of the 6,500-acre Monteagle Estate.
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