Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields:

Ireland, West region

This collection of airfields is © 2010-2012 by RonaldV
(Disclaimer).

 

Oranmore Updated 12 May 2012 - Inishmaan Added 9 Apr 2012 - Inishmore Updated 11 June 2012

Inisheer Added 9 Apr 2012 - Inishbofin Added 9 Apr 2012 - Clifden Added 9 Apr 2012

Castlebar Added 12 May 2012 - RAF Castlebar Added 12 May 2012

____________________________________________________

 

Oranmore

53°16'59"N 008°55'08"W

 

runway: 09/27 - ...x..m - grass

 

Oranmore airfield (Oranmore Aerodrome, RAF Oranmore) was an airfield 170 kilometers west of Dublin.

The airfield opened in May 1918 as a Royal Flying Corps aerodrome.

Units assigned to the airfield were 2 Sqn, 100 Sqn and 105 Sqn.

It stopped being an RAF aerodrome after the independence of Ireland.

It continued as a civilian airfield however.

 

In 1970 Oranmore became home to a small airline operating Britten Normal Islanders.

Named 'Aer Arann', it was to serve the three Aran Islands (Inishmaan, Inishmore and Inisheer) off the coast of Ireland.

Capt. Hayden Lawford was operations manager of Aer Arann.

He and fellow pilot Bill Wallace lived in one of two caravans at Oranmore airfield, which doubled as a tool shed and a booking hall during the day.

 

Oranmore, photographed in 1974 by Antoin Daltun, via IrishAvSites.com

 

Oranmore remained open until 1976, when it was replaced by the newer modern Galway Airport.

The former airfield is now being used as a commerial/industrial area.

 

The location of the former airfield in 2008, about to be dug under a commercial area (Google Earth)

 

____________________________________________________

 

Inishmaan

53°05'31"N 009°34'12"W

 

runway: 05/23 - 265x20m - grass

runway: 15/33 - 546x20m - asphalt

 

Inishmaan air field (Irish: Inis Meáin Aerphort, ICAO: EIMN) is an airfield on the Aran Islands near the west coast of Ireland.

The airfield was built around 1970.

During the early days the airfield was opened, operations were run from a 16ft caravan with no external communications.

One night, the caravan blew away in bad weather.

On another night, when the airfield was not yet complete, the locals drove their cars and tractors to the airfield to light the airstrip for an emergency evacuation.

 

Inishmaan airfield in 2005 (Google Earth)

 

The airfield used to be operated by the local community (Comharchumann Inis Meáin).

This changed after a dispute escalated in the summer of 2010 however.

From 2011 the airfield was operated by Aer Arann, which also operates regular services from it with BN Islanders.

 

Inishmaan airfield as seen from the air in 2006 (Flying in Ireland).

 

Station building at Inishmaan airfield in 2009 (Panoramio).

 

____________________________________________________

 

Inishmore

53°06'25"N 009°39'14"W

 

runway: 14/32 - 490x18m/1,608x59ft - asphalt

 

Inishmore air field (Irish: Inis Mór Aerphort, ICAO: EIIM) is an airfield on the Aran Islands near the west coast of Ireland.

The airfield was built around 1970.

The airfield is a private airfield, operated by the local community (Údarás na Gaeltachta Na Forbacha).

Aer Arann operates regular services to/from the airport, using BN Islanders.

 

The 'head office' of Aer Arann at Inishmore, ca. 1971 (Forty Years of Aer Arann).

 

Michael Muldoon of Inishmore e-mailed me:

I don't have much information on airfields, but I did fly from Oranmore many times.

The first occasion was on Easter Monday 1974 and the late Bill Wallace was the pilot.

While Hayden always went through the check list at the end of the runway, Bill just roared "everybody comfortable " as he swung the Islander around and accelerated towards take off.

('Hayden', or Capt. Hayden Lawford, was the operations manager of Aer Arann - RonaldV)

I assume it was his training as a fighter pilot that triggered this, as he always seemed to be in a "scramble mode" as he left Oranmore.

The old people, who one might expect to be nervous, had absolute confidence in Bill, as any man who had survived the war and being shot down surely had God on his side.

(He) never worried too much about weight distribution and worked on the principle that if it could be fitten inside he would take it.

I suppose he regarded such minor concerns as trivial, and if he was not intercepted by the Luftwaffe over Barna and didn't come under fire from anti aircraft guns over Spiddal, he was doing well.

Inishmore airfield featured in the 1997 movie The Matchmaker.

 

UPDATE:On 11 June 2012 Michael Muldoon informed me that on Thursday 7th June Capt. Hayden Lawford suddenly passed away in his UK home.
His jovial, pleasant personality will be missed by many, not only in Irish aviation, but whoever had the pleasure to come in contact with this 'gentle giant'.

 

Inishmore airfield as seen from the air in 2006 (Flying in Ireland).

 

BN Islander of Aer Arann at the airport in 2012 (irishislands.info).

 

____________________________________________________

 

Inisheer

53°03'52"N 009°30'40"W

 

Runway: 13/31 - 520x18m/1,706x59ft - asphalt

 

Inisheer air field (Irish: Inis Oírr Aerphort, ICAO: EIIR), is an airfield on the Aran Islands near the west coast of Ireland.

The airfield was built around 1970.

The airfield is a private airfield, operated by the local community (Comhar Caomhan Teoranta).

Aer Arann operates regular services to/from the airport, using BN Islanders.

 

A recent picture of Inisheer airfield (flyinginireland.com).

 

____________________________________________________

 

Inishbofin

53°37'09"N 010°12'39"W

 

runway: 02/20 - 560x20m - asphalt

 

Inishbofin airfield (ICAO: EIIB) is an airfield on the island of Inishboffin near the west coast of Ireland

The airfield was built in 2008.

It features a 560m runway and a small platform on the south side.

Permits to build a station building had been issued in August 2012.

Plans exist to use the airfield as a port of entry for luxury holiday travel.

 

Aerial photo of Inishbofin airfield in 2009, with large X's indicating the airfield as 'closed' (FLYER forums).

 

The platform is very small however, allowing only two small commuter aircraft (such as BN Islanders) at the same time.

Additionally it will not feature any form of support (such as fuel).

So far the Department of the Environment is still working on the design and costings of the terminal building.

It was not expected to be published until the end of April 2012, with construction beginning at a yet unspecified date.

Meanwhile people are describing the brand new airfield to be getting overgrown and the perimeter fence is looking "the worse for wear".

In late March 2012 the airfield still had not opened yet, its runway marked with large X's to indicate the airfield is closed.

 

Inishbofin photographed on 29 Aug 2010 (Google Earth)

 

____________________________________________________

 

Clifden

53°32'34"N 010°04'58"W

 

runway: 06/24 - 500x20m - asphalt

 

Clifden airfield (ICAO: EICD) is an airfield on the west coast of Ireland

The airfield was built in 2008.

It features a 560m runway and a small platform.

Permits to build a station building had been issued in 2012.

 

Aerial photo of Clifden airfield in 2009, with large X's indicating the airfield as 'closed' (FLYER forums).

 

The platform is very small however, allowing only two small commuter aircraft (such as BN Islanders) at the same time.

Additionally it will not feature any form of support (such as fuel).

So far the Department of the Environment is still working on the design and costings of the terminal building.

It was not expected to be published until the end of April 2012, with construction beginning at a yet unspecified date.

In late March 2012 the airfield still had not opened yet, its runway marked with large X's to indicate the airfield is closed.

 

The runway at Clifden airport marked with a large X in January 2011, by totwoi, on Flickr

 

____________________________________________________

 

Castlebar

53°50'58"N 009°16'37"W

 

runway: 06/24 - 610x..m - asphalt

 

Castlebar airfield (ICAO: EICB) was an airfield 200 kilometers west-northwest of Dublin.

The airfield opened in August 1966, with the financial backing of two Mayo brothers, Peter and Hugh Ryan.

The private airport had a landing strip of over half a mile long.

A four-seater plane, chartered by Bobby Smith and Frank Gill of the Royal Blues Showband from Claremorris, was the first to land on the new airstrip.

In 1972, the first transatlantic flight from Castlebar took off.

A transatlantic flight from Castlebar had first been attempted on 28 August 1927, but the flight never made its destination and the crew and craft disappeared without trace.

 

Photograph taken at Castlebar Airport on occasion of departure of first transatlantic flight from the airport (Liam Lyons, via askaboutireland.ie).

 

Helicopter going through its paces for the crowd during the 1980 Castlebar Airshow (Castlebar.ie).

 

The arfield was used by the Mayo flying Club until the airport closed in 2001.

Its buildings were torn down in November 2001 to make room for a DIT retail park.

Nothing remains of the former airfield.

 

Aerial photo of part of Castledrome in the 1990s (flyinginireland.com).

 

The remains of the station building, tower and airport bar in late 2001 (castlebar.ie)

 

____________________________________________________

 

RAF Castlebar

53°51'09"N 009°16'41"W

 

runway: n/a - n/a - grass

 

RAF Castlebar airfield (also known as Drumconlan airfield) was an airfield 200 kilometers west-northwest of Dublin.

The airfield was built by the RAF and opened in May 1918.

It operated Bristol F.2b fighters of detachments of 2 Sqn and 105 Sqn of the Royal Air Force.

The airfield remained opereational until Irish independence in 1921.

 

In the 1930s the site was surveyed serveral times for use as an airfield by the Irish Flying Corps.

Although the Flying Corps ultimately did not use it, it was used as an airfield again.

In September 1933 Sir Alan Cobham's Flying circus operated from the airfield.

He returned a year and a half later, in mAy 1935.

 

No photos of the airfield are known to exist.

 

The airfield is (still) often confused with Castlebar airfield.

This is however a completely different airfield, although they were located in almost the same location.

The RAF airfield was located north of Breaffy Rd, the later airfield was located south of the road.

Today the site is occupied by the Baxter plant.

Nothing of the airfield is known to have survived.

 

1990's photo showing the Baxter factory covering the area used as the RAF airfield, situated North across the R60,
(Breaffy Road) from Castlebar Airfield, which can be seen in the top R/H corner of the photo.
(Hugo Wilhare, on irishavsites.com)

 

____________________________________________________

If you have any information about airfields (listed and unlisted) in Ireland, email RonaldV.

Disclaimer

____________________________________________________

Home

________________________________