Having celebrated the centenary of the first ever trans-Atlantic flight last year, Clifden will tomorrow (Friday ) welcome back the pioneering pilots behind that feat, Alcock and Brown. And this time it’s forever.
It’s almost 101 years – June 14, 1919 – since those two brave English men took off from Newfoundland in their modified Vickers Vimy bomber. They braved cloud, snow, ice and a near-fatal stall over the Atlantic before finally landing at the Marconi Station at Clifden, County Galway. Their achievement changed the world forever.
These two heroes will now return to the town square in Clifden tomorrow Friday March 6. This time they’re coming back in the form of a beautiful bronze statue, which will become a permanent fixture in the town.The statue is an exact replica of the original monument, located at Heathrow Airport, which was lent by Heathrow to Clifden and Connemara last year to mark the centenary of the flight.
The original was commissioned by the British government in 1953 and sculpted by William Mc Millen. Since then it has only ever been in Heathrow Airport – apart from the 2019 visit to Clifden. The new replica has been beautifully crafted by Bronze Art Ireland and this internationally important monument will be formally unveiled on Friday, March 6, at 11am by His Excellency Robin Barnett , British Ambassador to Ireland.
The unveiling will be aided by Sean and Bernadine Mulryan from Ballymore who have kindly funded this project. Also on display that day will be a replica of a propeller made by students from the local furniture school (GMIT Letterfrack ), a Waterford Crystal replica of the original airplane, a one-off €15 coin specially minted by the Central Bank of Ireland and a postage stamp commissioned by An Post, Ireland.
All guests will be entertained by the school band from Scoil Mhuire, Clifden.