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Firm celebrates travelling in style for 50 years

Marking 50 years of ferrying limousine clients between Waterford and Shannon Airport, Jim Falconer (right), received a John Rocha-designed Waterford Crystal clock from Shannon Airport director Martin Moroney.Fifty years of a limousine service that opened up Waterford and the South-East to the flow of American tourism and investment from the Shannon transatlantic gateway was marked with an anniversary re-enactment.
Now heading the country’s oldest family-run limousine operation, Jim Falconer was behind the wheel when repeating the Waterford to Shannon run that he first completed 50 years ago. This time round, he was driving one of the Falconer fleet of Mercedes.
Jim recalled his debut as a chauffeur. “Back in 1960 I was driving a 1952 metallic silver Ford V8 and I can even remember the registration of ZF 4320,” he said.
Jim has good reason to recall every detail and the precise date, because May 4 is his birthday. “I was still at school at Waterford de La Salle and it was on my 17th birthday that I got my licence and my father gave me my first assignment.”
To celebrate the 50th anniversary, Jim received a presentation from Shannon Airport director Martin Moroney, which had double significance. He received an elegant John Rocha-designed Waterford Crystal clock, which recognised the Waterford roots of the Falconer company and also Jim Falconer’s wife Ursula, who is German-born but moved to Waterford when her father was recruited by the city’s flagship crystal glass company.
“In laying on the best service that money could buy from the very start, the Falconer limousine service opened the way for premier-class American visitors and multinational investment to flow to Waterford and the South-East from the Shannon Airport gateway,” said Shannon Airport marketing manager Declan Power. “It is due to the superior services provided by firms like Falconers that top fare-paying passengers are delivered through Shannon not only on routes to the USA but also on the Shannon-Heathrow run,” he added.
Now under a third generation of the Falconer family, the limousine business is more of a family enterprise than ever. Working side by side with Jim are his wife Ursula, daughter Liana and sons Ahren, Jurgen and Erich.
The limousine service evolved from a funeral undertaking business and Jim is compiling a book of amusing, quirky and offbeat incidents that happened at funerals over three generations of that end of the family business. Provisionally titled Memoirs of an Undertaker’s Assistant, he says three-quarters of the manuscript has been completed. “To protect identities and spare blushes, I have changed names and switched around the dates and locations of where the funny episodes took place.”

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