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

  • Maureen O Hara Exhibition Opening
Minister of State for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform Patrick O'Donovan TD and Manager of the Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum Margaret O'Shaughnessy at the opening of the Maureen O Hara exhibition. (Pic: Oisin McHugh, True Media)

Some 29 years and one day after Hollywood legend Maureen O’Hara 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.

The €100,000 exhibition which includes her 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, was officially opened by Minister of State for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform Patrick O’Donovan TD this morning (Monday, July 9, 2018).

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 and 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.

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Treaty Stone Limerick. Photo Piotr Machowczyk