Latest Laois News: Final journey of ‘The Portlaoise Flyer’ sees it come home
The Portlaoise Flyer, the plane built by Frank and Louis Aldritt in the early part of the 20th century has returned home to Portlaoise. The plane, which is believed to be the first plane to fly in what later became the Republic of Ireland, had been bought by a collector in the UK. It was purchased, restored and returned home by the Colonel Fitzmaurice Commemoration Committee, who hope to use it as a centrepiece of a display on Portlaoise Aviation History.
Teddy Fennelly, President of the Fitzmaurice Commemoration Committee said “We are absolutely delighted to see this plane coming back to its rightful home in Portlaoise. I’d like to thank all the management and elected members of Laois County Council and Portlaoise Municipal District who have helped the plane on its journey so far, and we look forward to working with them in finding a permanent home for this invaluable artefact”.
The Plane will be stored at a secure location in the town while further restoration work is finalised. An event to introduce the pane to the public is planned for Heritage Week, on Saturday 21st August. The plane will be displayed on Fitzmaurice Place, in tribute to the builders of the plane, the crafts people who have restored it and to Col James Fitzmaurice, who was involved in the building of it as a young boy.
Catherine Casey, Heritage Officer with Laois County Council said the following:
“It’s a proud day for Portlaoise as this priceless link with our past returns home. We are looking forward to sharing the plane with the people of the town during Heritage Week, and we will also have a chance to share details of the Heritage Council funded project to conserve newspapers and other archives relating to the first East West Transatlantic flight in 1928. As Colonel Fitzmaurice himself said he was inspired to take up his flying career by working with the Aldritts on the Portlaoise Plane, it is fitting that we celebrate the Plane in the square named after Fitzmaurice in Portlaoise during Heritage Week.
For more information on Col Fitzmaurice and the restoration of the Portlaoise Flyer click here
For more on Heritage Week events coming up in Laois click here