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Saturday, October 4, 2014

First Aer Lingus Flight from Boston to Ireland Took Place on October 5, 1958


Ireland's airlines, Aer Lingus, launched its Boston to Shannon air service on Sunday, October 5, 1958, ushering in a new era of travel between New England and Ireland.

A 2003 story in the Boston Business Journal by Michael Quinlin reports the following:

"The inaugural flight that bright fall day was an Irish affair start to finish. 

"Business leaders, journalists and travel agents with Irish names tagged along, prompting journalist Brendan Malin to peg Boston as "the American Dublin." Even Logan International Airport was named for Irish-American Edward J. Logan, a judge and general from South Boston whose father, Lawrence, had come from County Galway.

"Aer Lingus' entry into the Boston market carried a symbolic significance. TWA and Pan Am were already flying the Boston-Ireland route, but the arrival of Ireland's national airlines captured the imagination of the city's large Irish-American population, which accounted for nearly a third of all residents. Most had never been to Ireland, and Aer Lingus, with its distinctive green shamrock logo on every plane, inspired them to make the journey, which took about 12 hours, twice as long as today's flights.

"Four days after leaving Boston, St. Brendan (the airplane, not the monk) returned in tow with Irish dignitaries such as Dublin mayor Robert Briscoe and Sean Lemass, Ireland's commerce minister. The Irish got a chance to observe local tourist campaigns, which touted autumn leaves, seaside towns and historical sites.

"Lemass saw the potential bonanza of tapping into a vast Irish-American diaspora and developing a tourism infrastructure like New England's. He promised the Irish government that if it could provide "well-equipped hotels, properly developed holiday resorts, well-built tourist roads and easily accessible shrines of historic and religious significance, (tourism) would continue to grow.""


Ireland's tourism industry did continue to grow, and set new records for American visitors in recent years.   Ireland's Minister for Tourism Paschal Donohoe was in Boston in September and told audiences that, "In 2013, alone, one million US visitors spent $1 billion in the Irish economy.  This demonstrates the importance of further developing Irish market share of the US tourism market, which is a central policy agenda of the government."

Aer Lingus flies out of the international Terminal E at Logan Airport.   Massport, which runs the airport, installed an exhibit of iconic Massachusetts in October, 2011, which included Boston's Irish Heritage Trail

For more information about traveling to Ireland, visit Ireland.com.

For information about visiting Massachusetts, go to MassVacation.com.

For more about the Irish community in Massachusetts, visit IrishMassachusetts.com