Derrigimlagh Signature Discovery Point
Stretching from the shore of the Atlantic Ocean towards the mighty Twelve Bens mountains, this blanket bog is one of the most magnificent wetland environments in Europe. The bog boasts a rich archaeology, dating back over 6,000 years, but it also has a remarkable modern history. In the early 20th century, Derrigimlagh was at the centre of not one but two outstanding transatlantic technological achievement that marked the beginning of an era of modernity.
First commercial transatlantic wireless transmission
In 1907, the great Irish-Italian innovator, Guglielmo Marconi, combined cutting-edge technology and business acumen to achieve the first successful commercial wireless transmission across the Atlantic from Derrigimlagh. His radio station dominated the local landscape from 1905 until its partial destruction and eventual closure during the Irish Civil War (1922-1923).
First non-stop transatlantic flight – “Yesterday we were in America”
On 15th June 1919, daredevil airmen, John Alcock and Arthur Whitten-Brown, won the first race to make the first non-stop transatlantic flight and claimed prize of £10,000 offered by the English Daily Mail newspaper. Starting from St John’s, Newfoundland in their Vickers Vimy bi-plane, they landed in the bog at Derrigimlagh 16 hours and 28 minutes later, making it the first European site to connect directly with North America by aeroplane. The Marconi station broadcast the news of their triumph to the world.
The Looped walk
The looped walk is approximately 5km (3.1 miles) long and the story is told across seven stop points. Six of these stops are shelters. Starting at the car park, the walk will bring you from the entry and orientation point of the Marconi site to the location of former landmarks such as Marconi’s Condenser House, Power Station and Social Club, as well as the Cairn highlighting the landing of Alcock & Brown. Pathways and timber boardwalks lead you back through a bog landscape of
outstanding beauty. The looped walk will bring you on a fascinating journey, with each stop point allowing you to visualise the wonders of Derrigimlagh, both past and present. You will also encounter a number of art installations celebrating the site’s history of innovation. Allow 1½- 2 hours to complete the full trail.
Take a short drive, or hire a bike in Clifden, and travel across ancient blanket bog with a mosaic of tiny lakes to Derrigimlagh where you can uncover two remarkable events of 20th century history.
Derrigimlagh is located 4.3 kilometres south of Clifden on the R341. From Clifden take the Ballyconneely Road, crossing over 3 bridges before reaching the Derrigimlagh Signature Discovery Point. Location: 53.4615 N, -10.0235 W.
Close-by, on the Errislannan Penninsula, is the aeroplane wing-shaped memorial to Alcock and Brown. Location: 53.4671 N, -10.0330 W