Founder of the Shannon Aviation Museum and Atlantic Air Adventures, Edward Ryan has died with many tributes highlighting the legacy he has left on aviation in the county.
On Monday evening, Eddie died peacefully at University Hospital Limerick. A native of Tipperary, he lived in Shannon Town and more recently Carrygerry in Newmarket-on-Fergus.
In 2008, he founded the Shannon Aviation Museum and Atlantic Air Adventures. The idea its establishment first dawned on him in 1997 while he began pursuing it when he retired from a distinguished career in aviation in 2001, the first step began with a model of a 40 acre transport theme park. This project was set up to honour the aviation history of Shannon.
When it opened, it became the first learning facility of its kind in Ireland or Britain that was accessible to the public. “We want to make people aware that Shannon is an aviation town, that the town was born out of the Airport and not vice versa,” he stated at the time of its unveiling.
Last August, Eddie received the Royal Aeronautical Society Distinguished Service Award for a lifetime dedicated to aviation excellence and inspiring many young people.
He joined the Irish Air Corps some 72 years ago. From there, he moved to the United Kingdom and worked on iconic aircraft including the Lightning, Victor, Vulcan and Valiant as well his treasured Buccaneer and TSRII.
Eddie had always been regarded as a strong advocate for Shannon and the importance of aviation to the locality.
Managing Director of the Aviation Museum, Aviation Education Centre and Flight Simulation Centre, Jane Magill in an online tribute stated, “We will all miss your infectious inspiration and passion which touched so many, encouraged and enabled so many, not least me. You left an incredible legacy which will live on past us all”.
Ex Aer Lingus worker, John Moran of Ennis noted, “Eddie will be a loss to those who knew him and those who encountered him. His contribution to aviation and community in Shannon will not be forgotten”.
Similar sentiments were issued by former CEO of Shannon Development, Kevin Thompstone, “Eddie has left a wonderful legacy,” he reflected.
Commercial Project Manager at Lufthansa Technik Shannon Limited, Sheena Quinn commended his passion for aviation, “Eddie has done so much for aviation in Shannon over the years, I really enjoyed all our conversations over the years”.
He also served as the first acting CEO and a founding director of Shannon Chamber. Current CEO, Helen Downes stated, “Without much help from anyone, Eddie established the Aviation Museum, and along with Jane Magill has since developed it into one of the few visitor attractions currently in Shannon. His dedication to Shannon was obvious. Eddie was instrumental in introducing the first full-time employee to hold a CEO position in the Chamber, a position that continues to be retained. Throughout my tenure as CEO, his interest in the Chamber continued and he was always curious as to how we were progressing and our wide range of initiatives. His presence will be sadly missed in Shannon but his legacy will live on”.
Eddie’s private funeral mass will be celebrated in St. John and Paul’s Church, Shannon this Friday (30th April) at 11am followed by cremation in Shannon Crematorium. He will make his final stop at Atlantic AirVenture at 10.20 on Friday morning.