Brexit & Ireland, an inside story of the Irish response

Tuesday, 03 September 2019
Need to understand how Ireland helped to shape the EU's response to Brexit? RTÉ's Europe correspondent Tony Connelly tells the dramatic story of the Irish response to this political and economic earthquake. Read More...

Stanhope Forbes, father of Cornwall's Newlyn School of painting

Friday, 16 August 2019
Dublin-born Stanhope Forbes spent time painting Brittany before founding the influential Newlyn School of painters in Cornwall in the late 19th century. Read More...

Lough Derg: the spirit of a holy place

Wednesday, 04 April 2012
A small island in a lake called Lough Derg is one of the most famous of Ireland's places of pilgrimage. About 35,000 pilgrims come to it each year intent on doing penance for their sins or seeking divine intervention in their lives. Read More...

Nantes-Brest Canal, Brittany's popular leisure waterway

Friday, 07 October 2011
The Nantes-Brest Canal is a 364 km long waterway connecting the city of Brest, on the west of Brittany, to the city of Nantes in the south east. Read More...

The shrine of the Cailleach at Glen Lyon

Wednesday, 07 September 2011
Each year, in one of the most remote areas of Scotland, a family of stones are brought out of the house in the spring and returned to the house for the winter. The tradition stretches back thousands of years and the site is believed to be the only surviving shrine to the Celtic goddess Cailleach. Read More...

Brittany's largest airport gets green light

The project of an international airport between Nantes and Rennes is finally taking off almost 50 years after it was first put forward.

The project of an international airport between Nantes and Rennes is finally taking off almost 50 years after it was first put forward.

The French government has given the final go ahead to the project of a new airport in Notre Dame des Landes, 30 km north of Nantes, which is set to replace the existing airport of the city, Nantes-Atlantique. The €580 million new airport, called “Grand Ouest” (Greater West) will open by 2012 and will have a capacity to serve up to nine million passengers per year.

Grand Ouest Airport is intended to replace local airport Nantes-Atlantique, which is reaching its full capacity of three million passengers per year and can't be expanded due to its close proximity to the city.

By moving Nantes' airport to Notre Dame des Landes, flight safety will be improved and airplane noise in the southern part of the city will be gone as planes will no longer have to fly over Nantes at low altitude.

The project of an airport at Notre Dame des Landes had been launched in the mid-sixties but little progress was made until the late nineties when it was forecasted that passenger traffic in Nantes-Atlantique would be reaching soon its full capacity.

Grand Ouest poised to develop Brittany's eastern belt

Located 30 km north-west of Nantes and 90 km south of Rennes, Grand Ouest Airport will play a vital economic role bringing new jobs and business to Brittany's eastern region, which boasts the two largest Breton cities.

The new airport will also be conveniently linked by motorway and high-speed train with the west of Brittany and the cities of Lorient (150 km) and Brest (280 km). The catchment area of the airport will benefit as well of the passengers travelling to neighbouring cities in the west of France.

It is expected that Grand Ouest will be connected by regular flights to the major European capitals, allowing many Breton passengers to cut journey time as they will no longer be obliged to fly via Paris. The airport terminal will handle an estimated three million passengers when it opens in 2012 and up to nine million by 2050.

The project gained the support of all the major political parties with the exception of the Greens. The news was also received with mixed feelings in the city of Rennes, where many fear that Grand Ouest will harm business at Rennes' Saint-Jacques Airport.

Nantes, the former capital of Brittany with a metropolitan population of just over 790.000, is the largest breton city and enjoys a friendly rivalry with Rennes. Nantes is currently the capital of the French administrative region “Pays de la Loire” while Rennes is the capital of the Breton administrative region “Région Bretagne”.

Do you want to know more?

Visit Grand Ouest Airport's official website,

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Celtic Countries is the online magazine for people who enjoy the Celtic nations, their natural splendour, culture, and lifestyles.

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