FLYING INTO HISTORY: Celebrating Amelia Earhart’s historic solo flight to Ireland 90 years ago


Mrs Isabel Gallagher and her children were relaxing in the garden of their home on 21st of May, 1932. The Gallaghers were farmers living in Culmore, a few miles from Derry. The day was pleasant and everyone was enjoying the afternoon sunshine when suddenly the peace was shattered by the sound of an aircraft engine.

A small red monoplane appeared and made a couple of rapid passes over the farm at low level, before disappearing behind the farmhouse.

Two farm workers, Dan McCallion and James McGeady, were working nearby and had noted the approach of the aircraft with some interest, as the appearance of an aircraft in that area was an uncommon sight.

The plane suddenly lost height, came in low, clipped a hedge and landed in the Gallagher’s pasture. Once it had come to a stop the workers ran up to see a tall slim figure climb out of the cockpit.

Stepping down from the aircraft, Dan and James noted with surprise that the pilot was a woman, with short tousled hair, dressed in a leather coat and trousers. She looked tired.
“Have you come far?” Dan asked.

“From America,” she replied. Dan and his friend did not realise it at that moment, but they were the witnesses to an important event in aviation history. For the pilot was none other than the renowned flyer Amelia Earhart. With her landing in Ireland in her single-engined Lockheed Vega, she had just broken two world records.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own