05 Oct 2022

Tipperary author Brendan Lynch's book on first transatlantic flight is flying high

Toomevara writer recalls Alcock and Brown’s historic trip 100 years ago

Tipperary author Brendan Lynch's book on first transatlantic flight is flying high

Toomevara author Brendan Lynch at the launch in Dublin of his book Yesterday We Were in America, which celebrates the historic transatlantic flight of Alcock and Brown, with fellow author Oisin McGann

Toomevara author Brendan Lynch’s latest book celebrates the courageous flight of two men in their magnificent flying machine 100 years ago this weekend.

On June 15, 1919, aviators Alcock and Brown touched down in a field outside Clifden in County Galway having spent 16 hours crossing the Atlantic from St John’s in Newfoundland.

It was the longest flight recorded up to that point and paved the way for transatlantic flying.

The episode is recalled by Brendan in his book, Yesterday We Were in America, which was launched in Dublin’s oldest bookshop Hodges Figgis last week.

Among those who sent him good wishes was Tony Alcock, nephew of John Alcock, who crossed the Atlantic with fellow British flyer Arthur Whitten Brown.

“The flight was a triumph of rare skill and navigation. Not only the first crossing of any ocean, but also the greatest distance ever flown up to that time,” said Tony.

“The occasion was more than a book launch, it was also a tribute to two of aviation’s most courageous pioneers,” said Brendan.

He recalled that for over 16 hours, Alcock and Brown battled the elements in their open-cockpit Vimy plane, to touch down in Derrygimla bog after an 1,800-mile epic.

“A scarcely credible story I often heard around my Tipperary childhood fireside. With constant rain and cloud, navigator Brown enjoyed only three fleeting sun sightings between Newfoundland and Ireland, yet the pair landed just 20 miles off their original target destination,” he said.

Martin McCarthy, MC at the launch, reminded the attendance that the 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 WWI and the Spanish Flu, which had decimated western Europe.

Among the attendance was award-winning author and illustrator Oisin McGann who said: “For anyone looking for what must be the definitive account of Alcock and Brown’s historic flight, Brendan Lynch’s Yesterday We Were in America is immersive, engaging and packed with facts and character detail.”

Brendan will also launch his book in Clifden this Thursday as part of a week of centenary celebrations. 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, ph: 01-830 2511.

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