Visiting the landing site of Alcock and Brown's transatlantic flight.


I recently toured the west of Ireland by motorbike, ending up in Clifden, north west of Galway. John Alcock and Arthur Brown chose Clifden as their landing site after the first ever transatlantic flight. Their achievement is noted, not least by the main hotel in the town being named after them, but also by a monument near the site.

Click on the pictures to enlarge.

The monument represents a part of the plane, which the tourist office described as part of the wing - it looks more like a tailfin to me. It 'points' to the landing site, which is not easily identified. From the air Alcock and Brown thought it was quite suitable, but after they landed they realised it was very boggy. The plane stopped within 50 yards and tipped onto its nose. The two pilots were uninjured.

This gives a good impression of the general area - I certainly would not like to land there!

"This memorial honours the achievement of John Alcock and Arthur Whitten-Brown. The first men to fly non-stop across the Atlantic ocean. On the morning of the fifteenth day of June Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen they landed in their aircraft five hundred yards beyond the cairn which can be seen one and a half miles south of this point having left St Johns, Newfoundland, sixteen hours and twenty seven minutes before. The aircraft was a Vickers Vimy biplane powered by two Rolls Royce Eagle VIII engines of three hundred and fifty horse power each and the average speed during the flight was one hundred and fifteen miles per hour. Dedicated this the fifteenth day of June Nineteen Hundred and Fifty Nine.

A stone plaque on the side.

Me (in motorbike clothes) next to the monument, giving an idea of scale.

It's a shame it was raining that day... But it did not take anything away from the scale of their achievement.