Foynes is a new town by Irish standards, less than two centuries old. Foynes as a port was first formally surveyed by J.F. Burgoynes, Harry D. Jones and Richard Griffith.
Reporting to both houses of Parliament at Westminster in 1837 in the second enquiry of the Commissioners for the Improvement of the River Shannon, they pinpointed what was properly to become Foynes, and made detailed recommendations for its development.
The plans submitted carried an estimated cost of £8,500, and incorporated tidal charts, soundings and other maritime statistics, and so it was that Foynes as a port came into being, and the village development followed naturally.
The terminal building at Foynes Airport 1939–1945 was formally the Monteagle Arms Hotel. It presently houses the Flying Boat Museum and was the headquarters for the Foynes Port Company. Built in the 1860s on lands leased from the Monteagle Estate, it was Foynes’ first public bar and hotel, and later the first headquarters for aviation in Ireland. In 1938 when the Department of Transport failed to buy the building, they acquired it by means of a Compulsory Purchase Order.
The village of Foynes had a population of less than 500 people at that time. A large number of personnel moved in to operate the Airport. Foynes had no Hotels, Guesthouses or B&B’s. The more senior personnel stayed at the Dunraven Arms Hotel in Adare or in Limerick City. Rates for Hotels varied between 25 and 40 shillings per day including all meals for two adults, but most workers were looking for something locally.
Some rented accommodation in the village. A Nissan Hut converted for accommodation purposes cost 30 shillings a week while wages at that time for passenger services personnel were £3.5 shillings.
Local women decided that renting rooms would provide a good income so they took in paying boarders. After a while the street was lined with HOTEL Signs some of the more unusual were The Crystal Palace Hotel with 4 rooms to rent, or the UNEEDA HOTEL. Surrounding villages also started doing likewise.