#WATCH The €100,000 Maureen O’Hara Exhibition Opens in Foynes

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Some 29 years and one day after Hollywood legend Maureen OÕHara cut the ribbon on the Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum, two specially designed rooms hosting her most prized possessions and memorabilia were officially opened on the same site. Minister of State for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform Patrick OÕDonovan TD and Manager of the Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum Margaret O'Shaughnessy at the opening of the Maureen O Hara exhibition at the Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum. Photo: Oisin McHugh True Media

A TASTER of the treasure trove of movie memorabilia from the late Maureen O’Hara has been unveiled in Foynes this Monday.

On July 9, 1989, the legendary movie icon opened the Flying Boat Museum in County Limerick and has celebrated many events down through the years.

However, on July 9, 2018, it was a celebration of the star of the silver screen that took centrestage with a collection of the Ms O’Hara’s memorabilia, clothes and personal belongings going on display.

Two rooms in the museum have been dedicated to the work of the late Ms O’Hara after she passed away on October 25, 2015. She had been the museum’s patron until her death.

This Monday, some of the collection and Ms O’Hara’s prized possessions, were unveiled to the public.

Costumes and accessories, glamorous red carpet outfits, correspondences with movie stars and world leaders, international awards including her Oscar and many personal items including her passport and makeup case, were encased at the County Limerick museum which was officially opened by Minister of State for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform Patrick O’Donovan TD.

The two rooms assigned to the Maureen O’Hara’s Exhibition in the West Limerick Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum include a display room for her memorabilia and a small cinema area with a six-minute rolling film on her life, music, film and fashion.

Founder and Manager of the Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum Margaret O’Shaughnessy told guests at the official opening that the new exhibition space was a temporary home for the unique artefacts, and that work had already begun on designing a new wing to host the complete collection which includes hundreds  of items currently in storage.

“This exhibition is designed to show a very, very small selection of the entire collection that was donated to the museum by Maureen O’Hara’s grandson, Conor Beau Fitzsimons. We have designed a new extension for the museum to house the complete collection and are awaiting funding to do just that. Ideally we would love to open the new wing on August 17, 2020 on the centenary of the birth of our late patron Maureen,” said Ms O’Shaughnessy.

“The Maureen O’Hara Exhibition cost €100,000,  which was partly funded by Limerick City & County Council, and I would like to acknowledge the local authority’s contribution.”

“It has been a tough year for the museum as we have fought to overcome damage caused by serious flooding this past winter. An investment of €580,000 to repair the damage means the museum is even better than ever, and today we welcome a new addition in the form of the Maureen O’Hara Exhibit.”

The Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum had much to celebrate during the glamorous Hollywood themed event to commemorate the new exhibit.

Today, July 9, was also the 79th anniversary of the first commercial passenger Pan Am flight from New York landing in Foynes.

And while more than 70 guests sipped their orange juice and cocktails at the Maureen O’Hara Exhibition opening under the sun of the 2018 heatwave, they were reminded that on this day in 1934 Foynes was the hottest spot in Ireland at 32.2 Degrees Celsius.

The Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum is expected to remain one of the hottest spots this summer for tourists visiting the Mid West and the Wild Atlantic Way with thousands of fans of Maureen O’Hara expected to join maritime and aviation enthusiasts in visiting the world renowned museum on the Shannon estuary.