by Alan Jacques
ARTS and Heritage Minister Heather Humphreys visited Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum recently to unveil a newly-commissioned portrait of the late Dr Brendan O’Regan by Croom artist Gearoid Hayes.
Minister Humphreys hailed the maritime museum as “a gem” before paying tribute to Dr O’Regan, whom she described as “a truly remarkable man of industry and of peace”.
The Sixmilebridge man played a pivotal part in putting Foynes and Shannon Airport on the world map up until his death in 2008.
“It is genuinely staggering to look over the lifetime achievements of this great man. Born in 1917, his direct involvement with Foynes Airport as catering comptroller began in 1943 and he founded the first duty-free shops here in 1950 – a world first,” said Minister Humphreys.
Dr O’Regan’s bounteous achievements included founding the Shannon Development Company in 1959, initiating the Bunratty Folk Park development in 1963, launching Cooperation North in 1980 and founding the Peace Institute at the University of Limerick in 1984.
The Minister added that she was “humbled and honoured” to unveil the portrait of Dr O’Regan in Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum.
“May his picture keep a protective eye over the Museum and may all who pass under it learn of his life, his achievements and the impact of his work, which is still very much with us today.”
Croom artist Gearoid Hayes received the James Adams Salesroom Award while exhibiting at the Royal Hibernian Academy in 2011.