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Museum plans to pay tribute to Maureen with Oscar and gowns

November 13th, 2016 7:15 AM

By Southern Star Team

Models from the Celia Holman Lee agency modelling Hollywood star Maureen O'Hara clothes at the Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum. (Photo: Sean Curtin True Med

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Some months ago, Conor Beau Fitzimons, the grandson of Ireland’s first Hollywood superstar, decided to bestow nearly all of his grandmother’s memorabilia to a Co Limerick museum, writes Áilín Quinlan

A RANGE of personal items,  including an Oscar award, a stunning Givenchy gown and Hollywood memorabilia which belonged to Hollywood legend  and long-time Glengarriff resident, Maureen O’Hara, is set to  go on permanent display in a specially-built €700,000 extension at  the Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime  Museum, in Co Limerick.

Management at the not-for-profit facility is currently in the throes of preparing to apply for planning permission for the ambitious project – while at the same time launching a fundraising campaign to pay for the construction of the proposed new ‘Maureen O’ Hara’ wing at the renowned museum, of which the former movie actress was patron.

Some months ago, Conor Beau Fitzimons, the grandson of Ireland’s first Hollywood superstar, decided to bestow nearly all of O’Hara’s memorabilia to the Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum – which O’Hara opened in 1989 – explains museum founder and manager,  Margaret O’Shaughnessy.

The museum now has so much  material – including all of her awards – that the exhibition will be a changing one, Ms O’Shaughnessy predicted. 

“We have some of her film material, musical scores, records, bags, shoes and hats,” she observes.

Other priceless  items to go on display include O’Hara’s Oscar and other international awards, costumes and accessories from many of her films, as well as dresses and accessories she wore to A-list Hollywood events and broadcasts, and personal effects such as her collection of Meissen china.

These include a jacket she wore in The Quiet Man, a dress in which she appeared during the Foxes of Harrow and  several outfits from her successful career as a singer when she appeared on many of  TV programmes with celebrities like Perry Como and Andy Williams.

‘We have her Oscar and the dress designed by Givenchy that she  wore on the night she received the Oscar. The clothes are superb. They are absolutely stunning and in very good nick,’ said Ms O’Shaughnessy, adding that  a fund-raising campaign is being planned to raise money to pay for the new extension which, it’s estimated, will cost in the region of €700,00 and will open in 2018.

;If there is a very generous fan of Maureen’s out there who would help us fast-forward the  opening of the new museum, we would be very grateful,’ Ms O’Shaughnessy suggested.

For more than a quarter of a century the life of Maureen O’Hara and the Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum was intertwined – O’Hara was first introduced to Foynes by her late husband, pilot and airline owner Captain Charles Blair.

Anyone who wishes to contribute in any way to the proposed project can contact Ms O Shaughnessy at 069 65416  or at  087 2490830 or email her at [email protected] 

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