The Alcock and Brown 100 Festival has been launched, celebrating the centenary of the first non-stop transatlantic flight in history, completed by John Alcock and Arthur Whitten-Brown in 1919.
The festival was launched in Buswells Hotel by Brendan Griffin, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport T.D. Special guests in attendance were Tony Alcock MBE, retired RAF pilot and nephew of John Alcock, as well as RTE’s Ryan Tubridy, who was awarded the freedom of Connemara in 2011 and has a close connection to the Clifden area.
Starting from St John’s, Newfoundland in their Vickers Vimy biplane, Alcock and Brown made history as they crossed the ocean and landed in Clifden, Connemara, Co. Galway 16 hours and 28 minutes later, with Alcock famously being the first person in Europe to announce “Yesterday we were in America”.
The actual landing site of the plane, Derrigimlagh is one of the 15 Signature Discovery Points along the Wild Atlantic Way. The landing site was also the site of Guglielmo Marconi’s Wireless Station and is located just south of Clifden.
The Alcock and Brown 100 Festival will take place next summer and will include a range of different events to celebrate one of the most important flights in history, with the highlight being a full reenactment of the 1919 landing and welcome of Alcock and Brown to Clifden.
Terence O’Toole, President of the Connemara Chamber of Commerce and Chairperson of the Festival, said: “We are delighted to officially launch the centenary celebrations of this significant milestone in history. We are looking forward to welcoming people from across the country, and from farther afield, to Clifden, to learn more about the remarkable achievement of Alcock and Brown and the extraordinary journey that ended with them crash-landing in a bog in the West of Ireland.”
Fionnan Nestor, Fáilte Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, said: “Alcock and Brown’s landing site at Derrigimlagh is one of our Signature Discovery Points along the coastal route and we have invested €1.2m in the site to significantly enhance the visitor experience there. The centenary celebrations will build on that investment and drive further interest in the site which brings to life the rich history of the area.”
For more information about the Alcock and Brown 100 Festival please www.alcockandbrown100.com.