#NEWmaritimeMuseum – Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum welcomed Michael Ring TD, Minister of Tourism & Sport who officially opened yesterday the mid-west tourist attraction's new maritime museum.
Minister Ring said "This new Maritime Museum adds greatly to the overall Foynes Flying Boat Museum, and will attract repeat visitors as well as many maritime enthusiasts, keeping Foynes at the forefront of tourism in the Shannon Region and on the new Wild Atlantic Way.
"I am pleased that the Government, through Fáilte Ireland, has provided support to this very worthwhile project under the Tourism Capital Investment Programme.
"I know that the development of a Maritime Museum, that would tell the story of the River Shannon and the influence on the lives of those communities living nearby, has always been a goal of the Museum's management here at Foynes. This ambition has now been realised".
The new maritime section tells the story of one of Ireland's great maritime assets... the River Shannon. The exhibits on display detail the geology, personality and mythology of the estuary stretching from Limerick docks down to Loop Head, marking the mouth of the Shannon at its seaward limits.
As previously reported the diversity of topics on display in the new maritime museum is a combination of interactive technology, artefacts, replica exhibits, and a stunning view of Foynes from the recently reinstated control tower that was used for the trans-Atlantic flying boats.
The tower has a balcony (equipped with bino-cularscopes) where shipping activity can be directly observed from and inside the tower and from where there is a photo-montage outlining the various landmarks of the village and estuary.
The view overlooking Foynes includes Foynes Yacht Club, Foynes Island and in the far distance across the estuary is the Aughinish Alumina processing plant.
During yesterday's opening ceremony, the dry-bulker Foxtrot could be seen at a Port of Foynes berth directly opposite from the observation tower and where cargo was been loaded on board.
Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC) earlier this year launched the master plan vision to 2041, which looks forward to the future and the museum is doing its part to preserve the past for the future.
The new addition to the award-winning Flying Boat Museum completes the overall plan that was first envisaged back in 1987 when a small group of interested people got together to look at the possibility of establishing a Flying Boat Museum in the Co. Limerick village.
Failte Ireland partly funded the new museum under their National Development Plan 2007 – 2013 programme which in this phase totalled €1.5m in which 75% was funded from Failte Ireland. The remaining funding where met through the museum's own resources and with financial assistance from Limerick County & City Council.
This now brings the total investment in Foynes Museum to €4.5m over the past twenty five years. The centre supports 16 employees and this season has attracted 40,000 visitors. For the second time the museum has been given a Silver Award for best visitor attraction by CIE Tours in 2012.
This year the museum achieved a Certificate of Excellence from Tripadvisor and has featured in many TV holiday shows and documentaries both at home and overseas.
In 2014 the museum is to feature in BBC Getaways, the TV3 Documentary "The Island" and a documentary on Ireland's role in aviation to be screened on RTE and to go on general release.