by Alan Jacques
SPECIAL funding from the Department of Arts and Heritage will be used to repair a full sized replica of a flying boat that has served as a central attraction at the Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum for more than a decade.
The €25,000 allocation was made after Arts and Heritage Minister Heather Humphreys visited the West Limerick tourist attraction in June and hailed the museum as “a gem”. During her visit she was told of the massive growth in visitor numbers since the museum opened and was shown plans to carry out work to the replica flying boat.
Welcoming the announcement, Limerick Fine Gael TD Patrick O’Donovan said the Yankee Clipper “is a full sized replica of the flying boats that flew into Foynes during the years of the Second World War and is the focal point of the visitor experience in the museum”.
Museum curator Margaret O’Shaughnessy told the Limerick Post that she was delighted with the announcement as It was something they were requesting for several months.
“Our Boeing B314 Flying boat is the only one in the world – no originals exist. It attracts visitors from all over the world; 50,000 visitors this season including 450 very special visitors to Limerick and Foynes next April for a Pan American Airways worldwide reunion. They will be staying in Limerick for on average five nights and then continuing on a tour of Ireland for a further five to seven days.”
The B314 has been in situ outside the Foynes museum for over nine years in damp conditions. Ms O’Shaughnessy explained that some of its internal structures need to repaired and renewed with special foams to preserve them for a at least a further 20 years.
“This work will be carried out by Bill Fallover the man that originally built the B314. We need it to be in pristine condition for our special visitors next April,” she said.