WAW Site – Derrigimlagh Bog

The location of the Marconi Station, the first regular wireless transmission tower across the Atlantic & the landing site of the first transatlantic flight.

A beautiful piece of history & landscape come together only 1km from The Ardagh Hotel & Restaurant. Whether you choose to take a bicycle or walk to the Derrigimlagh Bog you will surely be captivated by this triumph of human history.

The FlightDerrigimlagh

British aviators John Alcock and Arthur Brown made the first non-stop transatlantic flight in June 1919. They flew a modified First World War Vickers Vimy bomber from St. John’s, Newfoundland, to DerrigimlaghClifden, Connemara, County Galway, Ireland. The Secretary of State for Air, Winston Churchill, presented them with the Daily Mail prize for the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in ‘less than 72 consecutive hours’. There was also a small amount of mail carried on the flight, making it the first transatlantic airmail flight. The two aviators were awarded the honour of Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) a week later by King George V at Windsor Castle.

The Marconi Station

Guglielmo Marconi caused a communications sensation when he transmitted wireless messages from his station at Poldhu in Cornwall to Newfoundland on 12th December 1901. Having received a grant of $80,000 from the Canadian Government to build a station at Glace Bay in Nova Scotia, he commenced the task of perfecting wireless communication with Poldhu from late 1902. He experienced extreme difficulty in providing commercially viable communications and decided to move his easterly station as far west as possible and decided on Clifden (Derrigimlagh) after making tests at a number of sites.

Derrigimlagh

The station was not officially opened until 17th October 1907, when commercial signalling commenced between Clifden and Glace Bay. It was a sight to behold, with the huge condenser house building, the power house with its 6 boilers, and the massive aerial system consisting of 8 wooden masts, each 210 feet high extending eastwards over the hill for a distance of 0.5 kilometres. The aerials gave off sparks which could be heard in the distance, indicative of the huge power and voltages involved (150KW at 15,000 volts).

As time moved on, advances were made in the technology and a more powerful station was built at Caernarfon in North Wales. The Clifden station was attacked by republican forces in July 1922 and some buildings were damaged. The Marconi Company sought compensation from the new Free State government, but this did not materialise. The station was closed shortly after.

Text courtesy of Wikipedia & Shane Joyce
Photos: Marconi with original desktop transmitter c. 1896 (above) / original station buildings c. 1907 courtesy of The Marconi Company