Foynes gearing up for spectacular air show

Colm Ward


Colm Ward

The Breitling Wingwalkers will be providing aerial thrills in Foynes over the weekend of July 5-6
Foynes is gearing up to host what will be the largest air show to be held in Ireland this year over the weekend of July 5-6.

Foynes is gearing up to host what will be the largest air show to be held in Ireland this year over the weekend of July 5-6.

Among the airborne attractions will be the spectacular Breitling Wingwalkers, a display of aero-pyrotechnics by the SWIP Team and the spectacular Trig Aerobatics team. In total, some 34 aircraft will take to the skies above Foynes over the course of the weekend.

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.

The aviation spectacular kicks off on Saturday evening with 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.

On Sunday, the main airshow will get underway at 3pm, featuring a dazzling array of aircraft of all shapes and sizes.

Among the aircraft taking part are a number of seaplanes, the Air Corps PC9s, Team Raven, The Yakovlevs air display team, a Hawker Hunter and a replica Se5a World War 1 fighter.

Local pilot Gerry Humphreys and his partner in aerobatics display team Aer Dynamics, Eddie Goggins, will also be taking part on the day.

According to Margaret O’Shaughnessy of the Foynes Flying Boat Museum, the anniversary weekend will 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 airshow 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,” she said.

She added that many of the B&Bs in Foynes and the surrounding areas have started to book up already and said the organisers were optimistic of a big turnout on the weekend. “We will have thousands here on both days but huge crowds, in particular, for the air show. It will be fantastic for young and old and really will be one of the big memories of the year,” she added.

Among the visitors to Foynes during the weekend will be Taoiseach Enda Kenny who will unveil a plaque to all those who graced the waters of the Shannon Estuary over the years.

There will also be a gala dinner on the Saturday night, which will be attended by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar.

The weekend also marks the 75th anniversary of the first aircraft, the Irish Air Corps Aero Anson A43, landing at Rineanna, which is now Shannon Airport.

Airport chairman Rose Hynes said it was apt that the contribution made by Shannon and Foynes in aviation history should be marked in this way.

“We are very proud of our place in global aviation, having achieved so many firsts, from being the original transatlantic crossing to the birthplace of duty-free and right up to becoming the first airport outside North America to have full US preclearance,” she said.

“It is right that we honour that history in style with the weekend festivities in Foynes and look to the example given by the pioneers of 75 years ago as an inspiration going forward.”