'Culchies’ at Knock Airport - the final episode

Leitrim Observer Reporter

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Leitrim Observer Reporter

'Culchies’ at Knock Airport - the final episode

UTV Ireland’s six-part documentary series The Airport up in Knock concludes on Monday, December 12 at 8pm. The final episode sees thousands of pilgrims depart for Lourdes and an influx of self-proclaimed ‘culchies’ at Knock Airport.

In the final episode, it’s the busiest day of the year for Airport Customer Services with thousands of pilgrims setting off on special chartered flights to the miraculous springs of Lourdes in France. With most passengers in need of special assistance, Anne and the team will need to work fast and furiously to get everyone boarded.

Self-proclaimed culchies are flocking home from all over the world for the Kiltimagh ‘Culchie Come Home Festival’ with bale jumping, a big red barn shindig, and fireworks all part of the fun to come.

Local journalist Marian Duggan takes viewers through the glorious archives of The Western People newspaper, and reveals just how one man managed to raise the enough money to build an airport on ‘a foggy, boggy hill’.

Audrey in marketing showcases her presenting skills for Airport TV, before jetting off on an action packed weekend to Edinburgh with members of the media to promote the airport’s newest destination.

 Meanwhile, identical twins with mirror reflection tattoos depart for London and a plane-spotting duo enjoy a bit of aircraft ogling landside.

Nestled just inland off the Wild Atlantic Way, and with the shadow of Croagh Patrick looming in the background, the legacy of Monsignor James Horan is celebrating 30 years in business this year. In this series, we see inside the unlikely success story of an airport which was initially a strip of tarmacadam atop a peaty mountain.

With exclusive access to every part of the airport itself, The Airport Up in Knock is a unique documentary following the daily lives of the customers and staff of Knock Airport, and demonstrates how tightly woven the airport is into the modern DNA of Mayo and the West of Ireland.

Over the last three decades, the airport has seen its yearly passenger numbers increase from just over 9,000 in its first year, to a forecasted 725,000 passengers in its 30th. Knock Airport boasts an average of 150 flights per week, to 23 destinations across the UK, Europe and the United States.

More than 300,000 visitors from overseas visit the region annually through the airport, contributing to an annual tourism spend of€133m, which supports close to one million bed nights and over 900 jobs in the wider region.

Aside from providing a vital lifeline to the tourism trade and businesses in the West of Ireland, the airport also provides local employment, with 100 full time employees - rising to 150 (including part-time) during the busy summer season.

The final episode of The Airport up in Knock airs on Monday, December 12 at 8pm on UTV Ireland. The series has been part-funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland Sound and Vision Fund.