Screen legend O’Hara to greet flight of Vintage Lady

HOLLYWOOD screen legend Maureen O’Hara will attend this weekend’s re-enactment of the first commercial transatlantic flight to Ireland.

The historic event will be the highlight of the Foynes International Flying Boat Festival, which takes place in the Co Limerick town from Friday to Sunday.

To celebrate the impact Flying Boats and Ireland had on the aviation industry, a transatlantic re-enactment flight using a vintage PBY Catalina will take place on Friday afternoon, 70 years to the day the first ever commercial flight landed in Ireland.

After flying across the North Atlantic, the Vintage Lady will receive a triumphant welcome at a specially erected Clipper Club on the shore at Foynes, on Friday afternoon.

“It’s very much weather dependent but we hope she will land into Foynes at about 2pm on Friday afternoon,” said event organiser Margaret O’Shaughnessy, director of Foynes Flying Boat Museum.

“We are also delighted to announce that Maureen O’Hara, who of course has a long association with Foynes, has confirmed that she will be attending,” she added.

On July 5, 1937, the first commercial passenger flight across the North Atlantic operated by Pan American Airlines departed Botwood, Newfoundland and successfully landed in Foynes, Co Limerick, the following day.

Maureen O’Hara has a long association with Foynes as her late husband Charlie Blair flew the last flying boat from Foynes to New York.

Captain Patrick White, who will travel to Ireland for the first time with his son Ian, will pilot this weekend’s historic re-enactment flight.

“The Flying Boat will be in Foynes for two weeks, so anybody who doesn’t get to witness the historic landing on Friday will still have a chance to see this vintage plane,” said Ms O’Shaughnessy.

The upcoming festival at Foynes will also feature concerts by Tommy Fleming, Liam O’Connor and Druid in the Foynes Flying Boat Museum.

Aviation themed events will be intermixed with street performances and fireworks spectacles.

The Foynes Flying Boat Museum, first opened in 1989 and it celebrates the long tradition Foynes has with the famous flying boats.

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