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Clifden | by Dave G Kelly
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Clifden

In the heart of Connemara, overlooked by the peaks of the Twelve Pins, is the busy little town of Clifden (Irish: An Clochán, meaning "bee-hive cell"), seen here with the cloud-capped Maumturk Mountain in the distance. Clifden, some 80km from Galway City, is both the commercial and tourist centre for the region. The two spires that dominate the Clifden skyline are of the neo-Gothic church, built on the site of a beehive-shaped ancient stone hut, and nearby, the more austere Protestant church.

 

The town was founded at the start of the 19th century by John D'Arcy who lived in Clifden Castle (which is now a ruin that can be seen from the Sky Road west of Clifden).

Clifden gained prominence in the early 1900s when Guglielmo Marconi built his first high power transatlantic long wave wireless telegraphy station four miles south of the town to minimize the distance to its sister station in Glace Bay Nova Scotia. The first point-to-point fixed wireless service connecting Europe with North America opened 17 October 1907 and closed 25 July 1922 after suffering serious damage in the Irish Civil War.

 

Clifden is also near the landing place of the first transatlantic flight by Alcock and Brown 15 June 1919. The plane crashlanded in Derrygimlagh bog, close to Marconi's transatlantic wireless station.

 

Special thanks to our friends Miechelle & Conor for being our tour guides for the weekend!

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Taken on September 26, 2009