|Elevation||3 m (10 ft)|
|Irish Grid Reference||R251512|
Foynes (Irish: Faing) is a village and major port in County Limerick in the midwest of Ireland, located at the edge of hilly land on the southern bank of the Shannon Estuary. The population of the town was 606 as of the 2006 census.
Foynes's role in aviation
During the late 1930s and early 1940s, land-based planes lacked sufficient flying range for Atlantic crossings. Foyne was the last port of call on its eastern shore for seaplanes. As a result, Foynes would became one of the biggest civilian airports in Europe during World War II. Surveying flights for flying boat operations were made by Charles Lindbergh in 1933 and a terminal was begun in 1935. The first transatlantic proving flights were operated on July 5, 1937 with a Pan Am Sikorsky S-42 service from Botwood, Newfoundland and Labrador on the Bay of Exploits and a BOAC Short Empire service from Foynes with successful transits of twelve and fifteen-and-a-quarter hours respectively. Services to New York, Southampton, Montreal, Poole and Lisbon followed, the first non-stop New York service operating on June 22, 1942 in 25 hours 40 minutes.
Foynes Flying Boat Museum
All of this changed following the construction and opening in 1942 of Shannon Airport on flat bogland on the northern bank of the Estuary. Foynes flying-boat station closed in 1946. A college for the learning of the Irish language was opened in the former terminal in 1954. The Port Trustees purchased the building in 1980 and the Foynes Flying Boat Museum leased a portion in 1988.
One of Foynes's main claims to fame is the invention there of Irish Coffee. This came about, it is said, in order to alleviate the suffering of cold and wet passengers during its aviation days in the 1930s and early '40s. The Foynes Flying Boat Museum contains much memorabilia from that era, including the original radio and weather room, along with its equipment and a full-size replica Boeing 314 flying boat.
Foynes's role as seaport
Foynes as a port has a longer history, being first surveyed in 1837, and is now the location of a major deep water seaport operated by the Shannon Foynes Port Company, an amalgamation under the Harbours Act 2000 of the agencies operating the ports of Limerick and Foynes. It is anticipated that more traffic from the upstream Limerick Port will ultimately be diverted there as the latter portlands are redeveloped as commercial and residential properties. A railway line to Limerick via Patrickswell and Raheen is in existence but not operational. Iarnród Éireann's policy of concentrating on what it sees as more profitable passenger operations means the Port's traffic is entirely served by road.
Foynes Port Company was amalgamated with the Shannon Estuary Ports Company (which had responsibility for the other areas of the Estuary) in 2000, to form Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC). SFPC is the second largest port facility in Ireland, handling over 10 million tonnes of cargo annually through the six terminals currently operational. Planning permission has been granted for an LNG import terminal at Ballylongford, Co. Kerry, within SFPC's jurisdiction; once constructed it will add considerably to throughput.
Foynes railway station was opened on 29 April 1858, but closed to passenger traffic on 4 February 1963. Freight traffic continued until the line was mothballed in 2001 and there has been no trains since 7 May 2002 when the annual Irish Rail weed spray train visited the line. The last known movement on the line was on 9 January 2003 when a permanent way inspection car visited Foynes. The line is not currently operational but the Shannon Foynes Port Company and others maintain contact with Irish Rail to review opportunities for reopening it for future bulk cargo projects.
In an interview on Limerick's Live 95 fm on April 18th 2011, Kay McGuinness Chairperson of Shannon Foynes Port Company said that they are confident that the rail link could be reopened for €7 million, which was considerably less than initially quoted price of €30 million by Irish Rail following the involvement of consultants and it was now a do-able project.
Places of interest
Knockpatrick Gardens, an award winning 3-acre (12,000 m2) garden overlooking the scenic Shannon Estuary is located 2 km (1 mi) from Foynes.
Foynes is near to Adare, a famous heritage town, and the city of Limerick. The main gateway to the region is Shannon Airport. Foynes is located on the N69 "coast road" to Tarbert and Tralee in County Kerry.
Saint Senan's GAA club draws its players from the parish centred around Foynes and the neighbouring town of Shanagolden. Although it has fielded hurling teams on occasions, it is primarily a Gaelic football club and, after winning the intermediate championship in 2003, Saint Senan's were narrowly beaten in the final of the 2006 Limerick Senior Football Championship. Its predecessor, the Foynes team, won its only senior championship in 1907.
- "Census 2006 – Volume 1 – Population Classified by Area" (PDF). Central Statistics Office Census 2006 Reports. Central Statistics Office Ireland. April 2007. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
- "The Foynes Flying Boat Museum...Recalling Aviation History". The Foynes Flying Boat Museum. Retrieved 29 Aug 2010.
- "Foynes station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 2007-10-14.
- Destination Foynes - the Flying Boat Era 1937-1945
- Shannon Foynes Port Company
- Shannon Airport
- Foynes Flying Boat Museum
- Irish Coffee Festival, Foynes
- Transatlantic Re-enactment Flight
- Transatlantic: the Flying Boats of Foynes Podcasts
- Directions for visiting sailing vessels
-  The Flying Boats of Foynes history
-  Press photo Shell Bowser and Caledonia Foynes 1937
-  Press photo Caledonia Foynes 1937
-  Press photo Capt Wilcockson checking weather/maps departing Foynes in Caledonia 1937?
-  Press photo Jetty at Foynes during Caledonia flights?