FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Aviation Buffs: Put Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way Sea Plane Museum on Your Radar

by Ron Bernthal

Jan 24, 2024

© Tourism Ireland

Daily

Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way tells the story of one of the world’s first great aviation hubs, and has reopened after a multimillion-dollar upgrade.

The museum in Foynes (population about 600) is about a 40-minute drive from Limerick city and housed within the original terminal building of Foynes Airport, which operated from 1939 to 1945. Exhibits explain the significant role Ireland played during the 1930s and 40s, the era of trans-Atlantic sea plane flights.

The newly expanded venue includes a new aviation museum, a 100-seat cinema, sea plane flight simulators, and an archive research center and library. The visitor experience preserves the history of the period through displays of old photographs and memorabilia telling of the famous figures who traveled through the airport, among them Charles Lindbergh, John F. Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt, Humphrey Bogart and Ernest Hemingway.

Wild Atlantic Way

© Tourism Ireland

One of the highlights of the aviation museum is the full-sizes replica of a Boeing 314 flying boat, complete with a honeymoon suite, which illustrates the luxury passengers enjoyed.

The maritime museum focuses on the history and stories of part of the River Shannon, which runs from Limerick to Loop Head. Its exhibitions show how currachs (a type of Irish boat with a wooden frame) and gondolas were made and explains how the weather and tides were monitored.

Irish coffee

© Tourism Ireland

The museum now also has a special Maureen O’Hara exhibition. celebrating the late actress’s achievements, displaying more than 750 dresses from her personal and professional collection, as well as hundreds of pairs of shoes and handbags. O’Hara had a close association with the museum; her husband Charlie Blair piloted the flying boats into Foynes during the 1940s. The exhibition includes a recreation of the famous kitchen in the movie The Quiet Man, in which she starred with John Wayne.

How the first Irish coffee came to be is told in the museum’s Irish Coffee Center. The story is that one night in the winter of 1943, a flight departed Foynes Airport for Newfoundland, Canada. After flying for several hours in severe weather, the captain decided to return to Foynes, and, after landing, the passengers were brought to the airport restaurant. Needing something to warm up the passengers on a wintry night, the restaurant’s chef decided to put some Irish whiskey into the coffees, and so the iconic drink was born.

Limerick

© Tourism Ireland

In addition to Foynes museum, Co. Limerick offers visitors several other interesting attractions. History enthusiasts will love the medieval King John’s Castle in Limerick city, while fans of outdoor exercise can visit Limerick Greenway, a 24-mile off-road walking and cycling route.

 

 

 

 

 

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