This week’s blog post comes courtesy of Neal Doherty, the mind behind the newly launched guidebook – “The Complete Guide to Belmullet & the Mullet Peninsula”. Within its pages, you’ll discover a wealth of exploration points spread across three captivating tours. From the Erris Head Loop walk as well as journeys north and south of the peninsula, and a captivating walking tour of the town, this guide is your passport to the rich tapestry of Belmullet’s history. Find it at local bookstores or grab your copy at AlchemyTours.ie/shop.
Unveiling History: The Role of Blacksod in Shaping D-Day
Today, Neal shares with us one of the most intriguing stories encapsulated in the guide. The pivotal role played by the weather forecast from Blacksod and its impact during the historic D-Day in 1944.
Weather, War, and The Strategic Blacksod Lighthouse
Weather information was top secret top secret and highly prized during the second world war. Access to information from the north Atlantic was often difficult to attain due to the conflict. Weather information from Ireland was very valuable. What was happening on the West Coast of Ireland today would predict what would happen in northern France within a day or two.
While Ireland remained neutral during the war, daily weather reports from Blacksod Lighthouse were transmitted to the Met Service in Dunstable, UK. In planning the D-Day landings the allies needed to ensure that the invasion was not impacted by inclement weather and took heed of the information coming from Blacksod in Co. Mayo.
D-Day Decision-Making and Maureen Flavin’s Forecast
The information provided by Maureen Flavin (later Sweeney) was suggesting that there was going to be a storm in the English Channel on the 5th June 1944, the original day planned for the landings. Allied leaders were reluctant to accept this forecast as southern England has been enjoying a heatwave in early June 1944.
James Stagg, a Scottish weather expert on the planning team was under immense pressure to ensure an accurate forecast. Other leaders wanted to go ahead on the 5th June. Stagg prevailed, and as a result of the forecast from Blacksod, the landings were postponed by one day to the 6th June 1944. Maureen Flavin’s forecast proved accurate, as a storm indeed battered the English Channel on the original D-Day, 5th June 1944.
Luckily the postponement of the landings resulted in allied success….and the rest, as they say, is history.
Explore Belmullet’s Untold Stories
As you embark on the discovery points outlined in “The Complete Guide to Belmullet & the Mullet Peninsula,” remember that each location holds a story, often untold, that has shaped the world we know today. Join me in uncovering the mysteries, marvels, and moments of significance in this picturesque corner of the world.
Neal Doherty, 4th December 2023
Visit www.alchemytours.ie to book a tour with Neal. In addition to this, click here to purchase ‘The Complete Guide to Belmullet & the Mullet Peninsula’.