The much anticipated Foynes/Shannon 75th anniversary air show takes place this weekend, with organisers predicting that more than 15,000 spectators will turn out for the event.
With 34 aircraft taking part in the two-day event, this is being billed as the largest air show taking place in the country this year.
On Saturday night, July 5, there will be a display of daredevil wingwalking by the Breitling team followed by a pyrotechnics display by the SWIP team. Afterwards, spectators will be treated to a fireworks show. This starts at 9pm.
On Sunday, the main airshow will get underway at 3pm, featuring a dazzling array of aircraft of all shapes and sizes. The show will last about three hours.
With aircraft ranging from fast jets to vintage biplanes flown by world-class display pilots, it promises to be a weekend to remember, according to its organiser Margaret O’Shaughnessy, director of the Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum.
“Huge effort has gone into pulling this celebration together and rightly so as the first transatlantic flight was a historic moment for world travel. We’ve come a long way in aviation since then but it did all start here. We have never forgotten that and certainly intend to remind everyone we can about it over the course of our anniversary weekend with this really fantastic celebration,” said Ms O’Shaughnessy.
Among the acts will be the Raven Display Team from the UK which last weekend was awarded Best Civilian Display at a major air-show in Denmark.
Others participating include the amazing Twisters and the only non-military formation aerobatic display team in Ireland, Aer Dynamics, featuring ‘the flying dentist’ Eddie Goggins and Limerick’s own Gerry Humphries.
The public will not alone get to see stunning aerobatics in the sky but will also get to hear renowned Irish performer Dave Bruton, from Abbeyshrule, directly from the cock-pit as he commentates live across the public address during his thrilling manoeuvres, while among the many other acts to thrill the huge numbers will be the Trig Team and Yakovlevs, both top UK aerobatic teams.
While the air shows will be the highlight of the weekend, there will be much activity on the ground, with street entertainment and music to add to the sense of celebration at Foynes.
There will be two already completely sold-out gala dinners in the Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum attended by a host of dignitaries, including the Taoiseach who will also unveil a plaque to all who graced the waters of the Shannon Estuary over the years.
The air show will mark the 75th anniversary of the first transatlantic commercial flight which landed in Foynes on July 9 1939, as well as the first flight into Shannon airport.
It will also mark the 25th anniversary of the opening of Foynes Flying Boat Museum - the only aviation museum in Ireland and dedicated flying boat museum in the world. Motorists can expect significant traffic restrictions over the weekend at Foynes, which will be closed to all through traffic, with detours in place around the town.
However, Shannon Foynes Port Company has provided 17 acres of free car-parking for the public close to the centre of town over the weekend.
Bus Éireann will also operate a special service from Limerick city. Services will depart Limerick bus station at 1pm on Sunday, arriving in Foynes at 1.45pm. A return service will depart from Foynes that evening at 6.30pm.
Tickets can be pre-booked at €10 for adults, and €6 for children.