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Take TwoRTÉ Two, Thursday, Breathing Space: 8.00pm, Planespotting: 8.30pm

Planespotting: Come Fly with Me

Come Fly With Me is the first programme in the series which looks at the famous faces that have flown into Ireland in the past.

'And of course for Ireland I have always contended the invention of the airplane has been the greatest invention of the 20th century.'  Sean Lemass, 1968

Grace Kelly, The Beatles, Louis Armstrong, Richard Burton, and Elizabeth Taylor.stars that shined in the 1960's on runways at Irish airports. With the arrival of commercial air travel, Ireland opened up as never before.

In the 1950s, planes took emigrants to America and returned in the 1960s with celebrities, business people, and returning Irish who'd struck it rich or learned new skills. Dublin, Shannon, Cork & Belfast airports became the stage on which some of the most famous people of our century entered and exited.

Suddenly we were welcoming a host of international statesmen and stars through our airports. TV and newspapers offered free advertising to Aer Rianta and Aer Lingus.  Famous folk flocked to Ireland for many different reasons: presidents and princesses came to find their roots, rock-stars came to greet their fans, some visitors came by accident, others faced protests and still others wouldn't even get off the plane! This programme charts the comings and goings of a variety of characters from Bob Hope to Che Guevara, from Pope John Paul to Boris Yeltstin - and the response from Ireland of the thousand welcomes. Is Ireland as welcoming now as it was then?

 

Bing Crosby at Dublin Airport
Pope John Paul II at Dublin Airport
Bing Crosby at Dublin Airport
Bing Crosby at Dublin Airport
Bing Crosby at Dublin Airport
Che Guevara at Dublin Airport