A dark sky boils overhead as streaks of sunshine illuminate pastures and meadows of County Clare, Ireland, with the intersection of the Shannon and Fergus Rivers and County Limerick in the background.
Roll back to the 1930s, and you might be seeing one of Pan American Airline’s Boeing 314 Clippers — think flying boat from the Indiana Jones movies — landing on the Shannon Estuary.
Foynes, on the County Limerick side of the Shannon was used as a seaplane port for the first commercial transatlantic flights under a 1935 agreement between Ireland, Great Britain, the U.S. and Canada.
Flights back then took 15 hours to cross the Atlantic, but they were quite luxurious — the planes accommodated only 36 passengers in seats that converted to bunks.
White-coated stewards served five and six-course meals prepared inflight by four-star chefs in the onboard dining room with real silverware. Quite a far cry from today’s discount air travel!