SHANNON’S first airshow in 25 years drew tens of thousands of spectators to the Clare airport this afternoon.
Approaches to the airport were clogged for some hours in the late morning and early afternoon, and shortly before the airshow began organisers said they expected the crowd to be quite close to the 40,000 capacity.
While weather conditions were blustery and overcast, fears that rain would mar the show proved unfounded.
Four kilometres of fencing was installed to transform Shannon’s airfield into one of the biggest outdoor venues of the Irish summer and proceedings got underway at 1pm when members of the Irish Parachute Club dropped from the skies.
Perhaps the most entertaining performance of the afternoon came from the Ravens, a UK-based formation acrobatic display team, whose various stunts left the large crowd awe-struck. Witnessing the phenomenal speed of the Saab Viggen was another one of the afternoon’s highlights, while the sound of its engines rang out for miles.
Limerick man Gerry Humphreys, an ex RAF pilot who now farms in Murroe, also thrilled the crowds with his own aircraft the EI-HUM. That plane has become known as the Flying Cow, because it is decorated in a manner befitting the owner’s agricultural leanings.
Even leaving aside what was happening in the skies, there was much more to afternoon. It was really a family event and children enjoyed facepainting, bouncy castles and slides. There was also live music and there were numerous food stalls with huge numbers queuing for their wares.
Time will tell if such airshows become more frequent occurrences at Shannon, but today showed there is a fairly large degree of interest among the public in the Mid West.