American ambassador to mark Clifden wartime generosity to stricken airmen

Edward Crawford, US Ambassador to Ireland

Edward Crawford, US Ambassador to Ireland

On September 14, 1944 a United States Navy PB4Y-1 Liberator Bomber crashed into the Atlantic Ocean close to Ballyconneely in Connemara.

The ill-fated flight was en route from Virginia, USA to Reykjavik, Iceland. On board the Liberator Bomber were 10 US Naval crew, five of whom died in the incident.

The remaining crew members were rescued at the shore, following 33 hours afloat on a life raft, before they came to a stop on a rocky inlet at Ailleabreach.

The men recuperated in Clifden hospital, and made warm friends with the nurses and local doctor. When the crew had recovered they were taken to England via the North of Ireland.

To mark the 75th anniversary, US Ambassador to Ireland, Edward F Crawford will unveil a monument to the fallen men.

He will be presented with honorary life membership of the Connemara golf club, and will be presented with the freedom of Connemara on the grounds of the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel.

Connemara is steeped in aviation history. It was there, in a bog in Derrygimlagh, that the landing site for the first ever non-stop transatlantic flight, captained by aviators Tony Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown is located.

2019 marked the 100th anniversary of this tremendous feat of aviation, without which Euroepan aviators would not have such connectivity with our neighbours in the United States of America and Canada.

The Alcock and Brown centenary celebrations continue throughout 2019 – to mark such a momentous occasion Waterford Crystal have launched a limited edition miniature replica of the Vickers Vimy biplane.

This exceptional piece has been created using the finest quality materials, synonymous with the Waterford name since 1783.

The replica is modelled on the original details of the Vickers Vimy plane and is made up of 51 individually hand crafted pieces which took over 160 man hours to complete.

An Post have also launched a commemorative postage stamp and the Central Bank of Ireland launch a €15 silver proof coin.

Eleanor Shanley and the Celtic Swordsmen will perform at a champagne and canapes reception at the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel at 5pm on September 19, this is a complimentary event and all are welcome.

The longest running community arts festival in Ireland, Clifden Community Arts Festival, now heading into its 42nd year will take place from September 19-29 and yet again promises to have something to excite everyone in the 2019 programme.

Audiences can expect a very high quality artistic programme with a superb literary, musical and visual art content which again will have the community arts of Clifden and the surrounding hinterland as a central focus with creative writing, music, theatre and film workshops and performances.

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