The dreams of Monsignor James Horan came true on the 25th of October 1985 when the Connaught Regional Airport saw off its first commercial flight.
Monsignor Horan had developed a name for himself when it was at an invitiation from him to see the shrine at Knock that Pope John Paul II visited Ireland in October 1979. The hoardes of visitors to the shrine that year prompted Horan to push for the development of a commercial airport for Knock. The pipe dream became a reality with the airport eventually being renamed to honour the clergyman who believed in it so strongly. Horan International airport saw its first funeral touch ground in 1986, that of Monsignor Horan himself, who had died whilst on pilgrimage to Lourdes. The airport has since undergone 2 subsequent name changes, first to Knock International Airport, then to Ireland West Airport as it is known today.