Over 20,000 people flocked to West Limerick at the weekend for the Foynes/Shannon air show.
The town of Foynes was thronged as crowds turned out to see the daredevil aerobatics on display, marking the 75th anniversary of the first transatlantic commercial flight which landed in Foynes on July 9, 1939.
Managing director of the Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum, Margaret O’Shaughnessy said that she was “taken aback” by the success of the event.
“County Limerick was able to come up with something so unusual and we are very proud of that,” said Ms. O’Shaughnessy.
“These were definitely the largest crowds that Foynes has ever seen,” she added.
Anne O’Meara originally from Foynes, but now living in Limerick city, came back to her home town to watch the air show and was thoroughly impressed.
“This is the best air show I have ever seen. I have seen them in Spain and Portugal and for Ireland this is something to be proud of. I am glad to say that I am from Foynes,” said Mrs O’Meara.
She had seen crowds nearly as big in Foynes for regattas years ago, but the air show was definitely the largest.
On Sunday, traffic was extremely heavy on the way into the village and by three o’clock an eight kilometre tailback reached the neighbouring town of Askeaton.
“There was a tailback for miles and a lot of people did not get in, we have been telling people all week, there is only one road into Foynes, the N69, people were told to come early,” said Ms. O’Shaughnessy.
There was plenty of parking available just outside the town of Foynes and that this was not an issue on the day, she added.
Many people parked their cars as far out Robertstown church and walked into the town.
“It was about a half an hour to go about one kilometre, so we parked up the car and walked in, it was good when we got in here anyway,” said Robert Webster, Castletroy.
Meagan Holland from Ballysteen also endured the walk in, but said that it was a great day overall.
“It is fabulous, the crowds are out today and the weather is holding up, except for the walk in when we got absolutely drenched, but it is a clear sky now and the planes are flying,” said Miss Holland.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny was also present to watch the air-show and unveiled a plaque in honour of the inaugural flight into the sea-port. He was joined by a host of dignitaries.
Thirty-four air crafts comprising 20 acts took place in the air-show over two days.
Saturday saw the Breitling wing-walkers and a pyrotechnic display from the SWIP team.
On Sunday, the main air show saw an array of different acts which lasted three hours.
There was also live commentary from the air tower which was manned for the first time since 1945.