RTÉ Footage of Farranfore Airport Opening on August 30th-1969

CIsland Page 16-12-2009
A meeting at the Pitch and Putt Clubhouse in Castleisland in 1968 to plan the building of an airport in Kerry. Included are from left: Michael J. O’Connor, Solicitor, Killarney; DD Twomey, Solicitor, Castleisland; Austin Stack, acting county manager and first secretary of the airport compeny; James O’Callaghan, KCC engineer; Jack B.D. O’Sullivan, Con Healy, Michael Hennebery, Tralee; John McSweeney, building contractor, Castleisland ; Tom Ryle, first chairman of the airport company; Timothy Murphy, Castleisland; John O’Donoghue, Farranfore; Sean WH O’Connor, Castleisland; Ned O’Mahony, Dr. Paddy Daly, Farranfore and Cllr. Bill Dennehy, Currow.

An RTÉ News film was broadcast on 30 August 1969. The film shows the official opening ceremony at Farranfore on that day.  Hundreds of onlookers turned out and were joined by a group of dignitaries and Minister for Transport and Power, Brian Lenihan, TD.

To mark the 40th anniversary of ‘Farranfore Airport’ in 2009 a book was produced with then Irish Examiner journalist, Donal Hickey at the helm.

The Castleisland connections with the airport go away back beyond its very origins. The plans for the facility, now proving so vital to tourism and travel to and from the county, were hatched at the Castleisland Pitch & Putt Club.

Below is a piece I did for The Kerryman to mark the book’s publication in 2009. If you read to the end, there’s a link to an RTÉ news film of the official opening. That clip was shot 47 years ago last Tuesday.

40 Years Go Flying In Kerry Airport Book

It would be hard to imagine the Kerry of today without the influence of its airport. Where would the county’s commercial outlook and tourism industry be without it?

Did you know that the plans for the building and development of an airport for Kerry were first hatched at the Pitch & Putt Club here in Castleisland in the run-up to the opening of its first, short runway in 1969.

A newly launched book ‘Kerry in the Jet Age – Kerry Airport 1969 – 2009’ charts the first 40 years of air traffic in the county.

Minister for Transport and Power, Brian Lenihan, TD performing the official opening of Farranfore Airport in August 1969.
A still from the RTÉ footage showing Minister for Transport and Power, Brian Lenihan, TD performing the official opening of Farranfore Airport on August 30-1969.

Donal Hickey’s Book

Under the stewardship of Irish Examiner journalist, Donal Hickey, the book looks behind the scenes of the meetings and the lobbying in the days when even that strip of tarmac must have seemed like an impossible dream.

There are always people who see beyond today and tomorrow. And so the impossible dream became a reality when the then Minister for Transport and Power, Brian Lenihan, TD officially opened the airport on August 30-1969.

A photograph on page two of the book shows the minister ( and yes he’s the father of the current finance minister of the same name) and he belting out his speech from a mobile loudspeaker.

Local Faces in the Crowd

Local faces in the crowd include Pitch & Putt Club meetings veterans, Sean WH O’Connor and DD Twomey, Castleisland; John O’Donoghue, Farranfore and Cllr. Bill Dennehy, Currow.

Mrs. Patricia McElligott, Timothy Murphy and Dr. Paddy Daly have all served on the board of the airport down through the years.

John O’Sullivan of Currans remains the longest serving member of the board and has been company secretary for the past 33 years.

Farranfore native and Castleisland resident, Matt Horgan is a members of the board today.

The book has lots of items of local and nostalgic interest on its104 pages and is well punctuated by historic photographs of the progress of the whole great adventure of the past 40 years.

Countywide and Local History

It mightn’t fit in a stocking but it would make a great Christmas present for anyone with an interest in countywide and local history.

At €15 per copy it’s on sale locally at: Kerry Airport and Moriarty’s Shop Farranfore; O’Sullivan’s Post Office in Currow and at Griffin’s Book Shop, Castleisland.

The see that clip of the Farranfore Airport opening, please Click on the link here: http://www.rte.ie/archives/2014/0829/640098-farranfore-airport-opens-in-1969

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