A LIFE-SIZE statue of a Clare native and one of the county’s greatest innovators will be unveiled in Sixmilebridge on Monday.
Dr Brendan O’Regan’s legacy will be marked in a prominent position in his native Sixmilebridge forevermore when a life-size statue in his memory is unveiled at The Square at 2pm on Monday (July 10th).
Kilbaha’s Seamus Connolly who is one of the country’s leading bronze sculptors was commissioned by Sixmilebridge Historical Society and Shannon Chamber to cast the statue.
Twenty members of the O’Regan family from Ireland and overseas will attend the unveiling ceremony, which is open to the public.
CEO of Shannon Chamber, Helen Downes said they jumped at the opportunity to get involved. “When we were approached by the committee of the Sixmilebridge Historical Society to get involved with this amazing project, we did not have to think twice”.
She added, “The impact Brendan O’Regan had on this region is extraordinary. He was a visionary. However, taking a project from concept to delivery requires support and that’s what we got from the many sponsors who have enabled the delivery of what will be an amazing statue”.
Chairperson of Sixmilebridge Historical Society, David Deighan, added: “Brendan O’Regan has left an extraordinary inheritance to Ireland which can never be forgotten. We are all indebted to his vision which has impacted our lives in so many ways. The population of Sixmilebridge, Shannon and all the towns and villages in the county and region have emanated from his vision to establish Shannon Free Zone. It is fitting that the statue being unveiled will serve to perpetuate his memory among current and future generations”.
O’Regan studied hotel management in Germany, France, Switzerland and the UK before he became one of the greatest visionaries to have come from Co Clare. He helped to transform the Shannon region through the development of Shannon Airport, the creation of the world’s first duty-free shop, the establishment of the Shannon College of Hotel Management, the opening of the Shannon Free Zone and the birth of Shannon Town.
Brendan was voted Clareman of the Year in 1984, he was given the Freedom of the City of Limerick in 1995 and obtained several honorary doctorates. In February 2007, Clare Museum held an exhibition, opened by the then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern (FF) to mark his achievements, this was one year before his death at the age of ninety.
Several initiatives have noted his immense contribution to Irish life, including the O’Regan Park, a recreational facility in Newmarket-on-Fergus where he lived in his later years. Three restaurants, one at the Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum, another at Shannon Airport and the third at the Old Ground Hotel in Ennis are named after him.
Shannon Airport commemorated the centenary of his birth in 2017 by unveiling a bronze bust sculpture in his memory following a proposal led by Cllr John Crowe (FG) at a sitting of Clare County Council.
To coincide with Monday’s event, Clare FM’s programme director Padraic Flaherty has produced an hour-long documentary on the life of Brendan O’Regan. This will be aired on at 11am while Morning Focus presented by Alan Morrissey will broadcast live from The Bridge on Monday morning.