Mike Kelly, aviation enthusiast and curator of the Shannon Airport Aviation Gallery at the airport, finally launched his long-awaited memoir, Pulling Back the Clouds, on Tuesday 27th September at the airport departure lounge.
At the showcase event was CEO of The Shannon Airport Group, Mary Considine, who said:
“Back in July 2018 we had the pleasure of officially launching Mike’s amazing collection of more than 1,500 die-cast model aircraft at Shannon Airport, the largest public display of its type in the world.
“Since the launch of our Aviation Gallery, Mike has been here regularly lovingly tending it and growing the exhibits. His love of the collection is infectious, and his personal touch really adds to the visitor experience in our airport.
“He is generous with his time in maintaining and curating it. His wonderful story telling has engaged many a passenger, the famous and VIPs alike. Nearly every day passengers tell us how much they have enjoyed the display and for this we are most grateful. I would like to congratulate Mike, author Kieran Beville and publisher Dominic Taylor and wish them every success with the book,” said Ms Considine.
A large group of well-wishers and staff of Shannon Airport were in attendance at the event. Mike’s book, which was written by author Kieran Beville and published by the Limerick Writers’ Centre, tells the story of how he first was bitten by the aviation bug, when as a small boy his father took him, to what was then Rihanna, to view the airplanes. He began collecting die-cast models of the world’s airlines and has spent over a quarter of a million Euro on them to date. The culmination of his life-long obsession was the opening of the Aviation Gallery in 2018.
Pulling Back the Clouds not only tells Mike’s story but it also details a time when aviation was in its infancy in Ireland. Dominic Taylor, from the Limerick Writers’ Centre said
“Readers of Mike’s book are treated to a fascinating insight into the historic importance of the golden age of aviation in Shannon and Ireland.”
Since the opening of the Gallery in the departure lounge of the airport Mike has had great interest from mainstream media, including RTE’s nationwide, and decided that his life story was worthy of a book. Author Kieran Beville was delighted to take on the task of putting Mike’s life onto the printed page and said,
“Mike Kelly is a remarkable man. It is gratifying to know that my book about Mike Kelly has been received so well.”
In an emotional address to the large crowd of his supporters Mike thanked the Shannon Airport Group for making his dream come through when the Aviation Gallery was established in 2018 and now to see his life story in print and song was an overwhelming experience.
The book also spawned an album of songs based on Mike’s story, also called appropriately enough Pulling Back the Clouds.