To mark the 70th anniversary of its first commercial transatlantic flight, Shannon Airport in Ireland has launched a photo exhibition containing 64 images of political, stage, screen and sports personalities who have visited the airport from the 1950s to the present. The new and permanent exhibition will be displayed on the walls of the airport’s transit lounge.
Famous faces and events captured in the exhibition include every US president from John F Kennedy to Barack Obama; global political and religious leaders including Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Xi Jinping, Fidel Castro, Pope John Paul II and the Dali Lama; movie stars such as Gene Kelly, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, Richard Harris and Peter O’Toole; rock stars Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen; and sports stars and events including Mohammed Ali, Irish boxer Andy Lee’s homecoming in 2014, Munster rugby team’s homecoming following their Heineken Cup victory in 2006, and the homecoming of Clare’s 1995 All-Ireland Hurling Championship winners.
Rose Hynes, group chairman, Shannon Airport, said, “This is a special moment for us as these photos remind us of the legacy that has been passed onto us at Shannon. You can only imagine in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, in the west of Ireland, the excitement that there would have been here with Hollywood stars arriving on such a regular basis. We still have this happening today, so the magic continues. Shannon is at the heart of this region and this is one of the reasons why there’s great fondness for it. There are probably only a very small percentage of airports outside the USA that have had every American President since John F Kennedy through its doors.”
Liam Skelly, former airport director for Shannon Airport, said, “So much of the success here was down to Brendan O’Regan. He was a fantastic man and incredible innovator. He started duty-free here and sold everything from Rolex watches to Mercedes cars through Shannon to the world’s best-known and wealthiest people. It really was a special place to work. We were always trying to follow his lead.”
Neil Pakey, CEO for Shannon Group, the airport operator, said, “This exhibition just shows how much of a crossroads Shannon was and still is. It’s part of the fabric of the region and of the nation. It has been, and continues to be, the start and finish of so many great visits and so many great events.”
To view a video about the new exhibit click here.