Shannon Airport celebrates 70 years with photo exhibition

Some of the most influential people from the worlds of fashion, music, movies, politics, passed through the airport

John F. Kennedy photographed at Shannon Airport as part of a photography exhbition celebrating the airport’s 70th anniversary celebrations.

A photographic exhibition capturing 70 years of famous faces at Shannon Airport opened on Tuesday evening.

The opening of the exhibition of 64 photos brings an end to this year’s milestone 70th anniversary celebrations for the airport.

The new permanent photo exhibition was launched on Tuesday evening by Shannon Group chairman Rose Hynes.

It includes photographs of several world leaders and features every US President since John F. Kennedy .

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It also includes other global political and religious leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Chinese president Xi Jinping, Cuban president Fidel Castrol, Pope John Paul II and the Dalai Lama.

The exhibition includes film stars such as Gene Kelly, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, Richard Harris and Peter O’Toole.

Sporting highlights include Mohammed Ali’s visit, Irish boxer Andy Lee’s homecoming last year, the 2006 homecoming of Munster following their Heineken Cup victory and the single biggest crowd event of all at the airport - the homecoming of Clare’s 1995 All-Ireland winning team.

Rock stars also feature with Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen included. The exhibition also illustrates Shannon’s continued international status, with many of the photos drawn from the current era, including the visits this year of Prince Charles and Chinese premier Li Keqiang, both of whom flew into Shannon.

Ms Hynes said the photos show the legacy of the airport at Shannon.

“ You can only imagine in the ‘40s, ’50s and ’60s in the West of Ireland the excitement that would have abounded 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,” said Ms Hynes.

“There are probably only a very small percentage of airports outside the US that have had every American President since John F Kennedy through its doors. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on arrival here at Shannon last year summed it up when he said ‘Shannon is a place where the relationship between Ireland and American has taken flight…..Today we stand at the same transatlantic gateway that brought my parents to America and brought American presidents here. That gave us a few fun moments for sure.”