The airport at Shannon in County Clare has a singular place in the history of Irish civil aviation. It played a pioneering role in the development of transatlantic flights. It was at Shannon in 1947 that the notion of duty free sales for passengers on international flights was introduced, so creating a fiscal loophole that governments have rued ever since.
Shannon has geography on its side. Close to Ireland’s west coast, it’s always been a good jumping-off point for flights to North America. It was thus much valued in the pre-jet era when aircraft range was so much shorter than today. Many itineraries paired Shannon with Gander in Newfoundland to give the shortest possible oceanic sector.