The Origin of Irish Coffee

Here’s the story of the world’s most famous drink.

Foynes and flying boats are closely connected to Irish coffee, playing a significant role in the invention of this favorite Irish treat. Of course, as with anything in Ireland, the weather played a role, too.

In 1943, Brendan O’Regan opened a restaurant and coffee shop in the Foynes terminal building. It quickly became regarded as one of the best restaurants in Ireland. Chef Joe Sheridan, originally from Castlederg, County Tyrone, had been recruited by O’Regan to run the kitchen.

Late one night in the winter of 1943, a flight left Foynes for New York. After flying for several hours in bad weather, the captain decided to return to Foynes to wait for safer conditions. A Morse code message was sent to the Foynes control tower to inform them of the return. Staff were called back in and the passengers were brought to the restaurant upon landing for food and drink.

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What Our Visitors Say

Great fun and all of the staff, Helen, Mags, Ellen and Julie were so welcoming and brilliant craic. I have made and had many Irish coffees in my time but I can honestly say this was the best Irish Coffee I have ever had. Can’t wait to see the new section next year!

Eloise H

We are an Active Retired group and we really enjoyed the museum, there was loads to see and do and Valerie was great fun with the Irish Coffee demo.


Fantastic presentation of flight history. Video at start sets you in the history and time period. Exhibition is well presented and lots to see. Coffee shop at end is worth a stop. Good home treats.


Very interesting museum, well worth visiting. We loved looking over the restored flying boat. Highly recommend visiting, we also enjoyed a Irish coffee in the museum’s cafe

Wendy B


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