Office of Public Works
Architects & Aer Rianta
The siting of Shannon Airport on a river estuary near Limerick in the west of Ireland was originally decided upon by an international committee in the 1930s. At this time it was not clear whether the future of aviation lay in sea or land-based aeroplanes. The proposal of a transatlantic facility at Shannon was designed to accommodate both. It involved the dredging of the river to create a harbour for seaplanes as well as the draining and poldering of a wetland to create the conditions for a system of runways. The airport’s development gave rise to the construction of the world’s first Free Trade Zone (1959) and Ireland’s only New Town. The jumbo jet terminal emerged from this estuarine landscape as
a steel frame between 1967 and 1971.