Foynes (Limerick), Ireland

Foynes is a lovely small town on the estuary of the Shannon River in Ireland’s Midwestern section. Its place in world history largely hinges on two items: it was, for a brief, golden era between the late 1930s and the opening of nearby Shannon Airport in 1946, the base for the transatlantic air trade between Europe and North America. Not coincidentally, it was at Foynes that the bracing, delicious cocktail known as Irish Coffee was invented. You can explore these and other historic facts at the Foynes Flying Boat Museum, which boasts the only full-sized replica of a Boeing 314 Flying Boat airplane. For many Seabourn guests, it is a gateway to the historic and cultural center of Limerick, centered on King’s Island at the confluence of the Shannon and Abbey Rivers. Although very ancient communities have existed there, the great period of Limerick’s history begins with the building boom started by St. Mary’s Cathedral in 1194 and King John’s Castle in 1205. Throughout the medieval period, other landmarks were added, including the Thomond Bridge, the first to cross the Shannon, and the Trinitarian Abbey. The town’s treasury of Georgian architecture results from another boom era, lovingly preserved and protected today. The city boasts a wealth of artistic and cultural highlights, such as St. John’s Church with the tallest spire in Ireland, the Hunt Museum, O’Halloran Bridge, the newly renovated Arthur Quay and waterfront area and the recent addition of te impressive Living Bridge footway to the University of Limerick. Many visitors opt to join an Angela’s Ashes Walking Tour featuring highlights from the novel by Limerick-born Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt.