Dublin Launch of Atlantic Flight Centenary Book

Leading figures from aviation and historical societies attended the Dublin launch (June 5) of Brendan Lynch’s Yesterday We Were in America, a book exploring the first non-stop Atlantic flight which landed in Connemara on June 15, 1919.

The Dublin author insisted ‘The occasion was more than a book launch, it was also a tribute to two of aviation’s most courageous pioneers.’ The flight will also be commemorated this week with a special postage stamp and a new Central Bank coin.

“For over sixteen hours, John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown battled the elements in their open-cockpit Vimy plane, to touch down in Connemara after an 1800-mile epic,” said Lynch. “With constant rain and cloud, navigator Brown enjoyed only three fleeting sun sightings between Newfoundland and Ireland. Yet the pair landed just twenty miles off their original target destination.”

MC Martin McCarthy reminded ‘Alcock and Brown’s success opened up the Atlantic for commercial flights and put Ireland firmly on the world aviation map. It also lifted people’s spirits after the horrors of WW1 and the Spanish Flu, which had decimated western Europe.’

Tony Alcock, nephew of John Alcock sent a special message to the launch: “Our family is always appreciative of the great welcome the fliers received in both Galway and Dublin. Their flight was triumph of rare skill and team work.  Not only the first crossing of any ocean, but also the greatest distance ever flown up to that time. This centenary book is a most comprehensive and accurate account of Alcock and Brown’s flight.”

The launch took place in Hodges Figgis, Dublin’s oldest bookshop. The attendance included authors John O’Grady and Oisin McGann, and aviation enthusiasts from as far away as Belfast.

Brendan Lynch will also launch Yesterday We Were in America in Clifden during the town’s special centenary celebrations this week (June 13). He will also speak at the Central Bank’s launch of a commemorative coin on June 14.

Signed copies of Yesterday We Were in America are available from Mountjoy Publishing, Dublin.

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