The Alcock and Brown landing site and the Marconi Station sites were only a mile or so from our holiday house in Ballyconneely – six miles south of Clifden- where we were staying during our recent visit to Ireland. We drove down a lane, had to open a gate, drive through, and then close the gate, and then drive out to the site.
These sites are located right next to each other and you take the same route to both. Note there is literally no room to pull over if you were to meet a vehicle that was leaving- and you would have to back up. I believe at least part of the road was originally a roadbed for a small railroad- the road is elevated. You could also park your car before the gate mentioned and walk from there- although it would be a good hike.
ALCOCK and BROWN Landing Site:
This site, located right next to the Marconi Station site, includes a large white obelisk monument in the bog, marking the approximate area where Alcock and Brown crashed landed their plane in the flat bog surrounding this site after making the first trans-Atlantic flight. While they could have landed in a better place farther east, they were anxious to land first in Europe, as there were competitors trying to do the same thing- and a 10,000 Sterling Pound prize! They were likely attracted by the Marconi station site and probably realized that the news of their successful landing could be broadcast around the world from this site. Because they essentially crashed landed in the bog, they were unable to fly the plane out and had it trucked out instead. While there is not much else to see here- the view of the area is nice.
Now, there is a corresponding site due west and on the highest point in the area which is also a monument to Alcock and Brown. I think reviewers get confused as to which location they are reviewing but the landing site and Marconi station are physically in the same area while the monument- in the shape of an airplane tail fin- is about a mile away to the west. The view there is great and the tail fin points directly to the actual landing site.
You’re either really going to enjoy this or you’re going to think it’s boring with nothing really there. So, read up on this site before visiting. We picked up 'Clifden- A Guide' which outlines 13 sites or drives in the area to visit and had an informative article about the Marconi Station and a picture of the site when the buildings were still there. We thought this place was pretty neat and enjoyed the historical perspective. After reading about the Marconi Station, you can imagine something like a secret military base, employing 150 or so; electrical sparks flashing at night; small trains bringing out supplies, and more. The station was essentially destroyed during the Civil War in Ireland in 1922 and was not rebuilt, because technology had changed and it was less expensive for Marconi to locate elsewhere.
This is a visit that appeals to a select few and my wife and I are in that group. Visiting a place like this is like an adventure. There is not much out there- a marker, and concrete remains, lots of sheep- and you have to let your imagination take over. There is no fee to get in; there are no “facilities”, and certainly there is no gift shop! We enjoyed it and recommend it to those who are slightly adventurous. I'll submit this review to the Alcock & Brown site also, with some different pictures.
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