I worked for an airline for three and a half years and I love the excitement of air travel so when we chanced upon the Foynes Flying Boat Museum in County Limerick, it was only natural that I wanted to check it out.
Foynes is a small town on the southern bank of the Shannon Estuary and was the centre of the aviation world from 1939 to 1945. The first commercial flight on a direct route from the USA to Europe landed here on the 9th of July, 1939 – it was the Pan Am Boeing 314 Flying Boat “Yankee Clipper” and in 2006 the museum opened a full-scale replica of this aircraft (you can even go into the cockpit!). After sitting in the cabin, I can’t say that I would have complained about leg room had I been a passenger back then.
The rest of the museum contains information about the history and progress of aviation, a collection of vintage destination posters, a radio communications room and even some flight simulators! In my excitement I learnt new things and there were a few “did you know?” moments during our visit, for example:
- Did you know that Irish Coffee was invented at Foynes by a head chef who decided that some passengers needed a bit of extra warmth?
- Did you know that some people believed that flying boats were safer than land planes because they naively thought that they could land in the sea if there was an emergency?
- Did you know that the trans-Atlantic Boeing B.314 Clipper used to serve 7-course meals in a 14-seat dining room?
If you’re ever in the area I would recommend a visit – but that’s coming from a plane fan
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