Great excitement for Shannon Santa flights

Great excitement for Shannon Santa flights

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Sinead Lawlor, Dungarvan Co Waterford with Caoimhe (1) and Aoife (3) in departures during the Shannon Airport Santa Flights 2019 – Photo: Arthur Ellis

Christmas exploded excitedly and noisily over Shannon Airport at the weekend as over 2,000 lucky children and their parents got to meet the special one 15,000ft  trip as the annual Santa Flights took to the skies.

Families from all four provinces descended on the airport over the weekend to board the most magical flight of the year, many making it an overnight treat to the region as they travelled from as far afield as Fermanagh, Mayo, Sligo, Dublin and Kerry.

The ‘toy show’ of the aviation world, the annual fixture has become the early festive staple of the west, with tickets as golden as Friday night’s magical Late Late itself.  But for the 2,000 whose names were pulled out of the hat – a lottery is used due to the huge oversubscription for the seats available – the wait was worth it.

Said Liz Harty from Galway, who travelled down with her husband Pat and daughters Corina and Saoirse. “The Late Late Toy Show and the Shannon Airport Santa Flights in one weekend. I don’t know how they did it.

“They were up late on Friday night, of course, watching the Late Late and couldn’t sleep last night with the excitement ahead of today but somehow they got the energy this morning.  It was fabulous. Just fabulous.”

Photo: Arthur Ellis

The two-day event saw children greeted first by Santa’s helpers on arrival and other well-known cartoon characters.

There was festive fun and games and dancing to while away the anxious hour before the children got to board Santa’s aircraft and then the mayhem took flight.

“It’s brilliant fun and the noise is deafening,” said airport Managing Director Andrew Murphy.  “The children are already well buzzed by all the fun and games and when Santa arrives on board high up in the skies, the reaction is fantastic.

“We’ve been doing this now for seven years and it’s our way of saying thank you to the public for their support.  Shannon is a special place at Christmas as so may return home for the festive season but it really begins for us this weekend.

“Our staff put a huge effort in and they’ll be exhausted by the time today finishes after two days of it but it’s well worth it. It’s one of our favourite weekends of the year and this is highlighted by the fact that the event helps to raise money for our Shannon Group charities for 2019, Limerick Suicide Watch and Irish Cancer Society.”

 

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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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