A Selection of the Celebrated Visitors to Foynes: 1939-45

Our Hollywood-Foynes exhibition explores the glamourous Flying Boat era of the 30s & 40s when many famous faces visited Foynes; owing to the fact that during this time the sleepy town of Foynes was transformed into a major international air-base. Passengers in transit to and from the America frequently had long stopovers at Foynes for operational reasons, weather or mechanical delays.

Anyone that was anyone passed through Foynes during these years. Have a look at some of these famous faces below.


John F. Kennedy

35th American president John F. Kennedy flew through Foynes on at least one occasion. Kennedy was the youngest person to assume presidency by election.


Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt

In 1942, Roosevelt arrived in Foynes under the alias “Mrs. Smith”. Eleanor was first lady of the US from 1933-45, during her husband’s four terms in office.


Ernest Hemingway

Celebrated novelist, short-story writer and journalist Ernest Hemingway is confirmed to have passed through Foynes in May 1944.


Humphrey Bogart

American film and stage actor Bogart visited Foynes during the golden era. Voted by the American Film Institute as the greatest male star of classic American cinema.


Douglas Fairbanks

In February 1944, actor and decorated naval office Douglas Fairbanks passed through Foynes with his wife Lady Ashley (photo above is the pair with station manager BOAC Lord Headford in Foynes)


Gracie Fields

Dame Gracie Fields visited Foynes during the iconic flying boat era. One of the top ten film stars of 1930’s Britain; she was considered the highest paid film star in the world in 1937.

Take a look at some of the other famous names to pass through Foynes below:

Artists and Entertainers

  • Bob Hope Actor and comedian
  • Merle Oberon Actor
  • Bill Rogers Actor
  • Edward G. Robinson Actor
  • Yehudi Menuhin Musician


  • John Curtin Prime Minister of Australia
  • Mikolajczjk Prime Minister
  • Jan Masaryk Czechoslovakian Minist
  • P. Frazer New Zealand Prime Minister
  • Anthony Eden Foreign and Dominions Secretary
  • John Maynard Keynes Renowned economist also of the British Treasury
  • A.P. Herbert British Minister
  • Lord Louis Mountbatten


  • Prince Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia
  • Charlotte Duchess of Luxembourg
  • Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands
  • King George of Greece
  • Olaf Crown Prince of Norway
  • Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands

Secret Winston Churchill visit?

There is a strong hint in the journalist’s report in the Daily Telegraph, 5th July 1944 that Winston Churchill , British Prime Minister, travelled through Foynes by flying boat. This has neither been confirmed nor disproved.