The subject of UFOs has captured imaginations for many decades, especially since the early days of the cold war years. Prior to this, records of UFO sightings can be seen throughout history, often described or explained in terms relevant to the understanding of the times.
The USA is clearly the world leader in UFO sightings, for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s huge. Secondly, it is home to the infamous ‘Roswell Incident’ as well as the legendary Area 51. These two facts alone have dominated UFO debate and conversation for decades.
You would probably be forgiven, then, for not automatically thinking of Ireland as a hotspot for UFO sightings, especially as it is overshadowed by its more prominent neighbour, the United Kingdom. With the enigmatic landscape around the Wiltshire and Somerset area, including Glastonbury, Stonehenge, the Salisbury Plains, crop circles, etc, as well as multiple sightings the length and breadth of the country from Cornwall, right up to Roslynn Chapel, it is fair to say that the UK has kept Ireland somewhat off the map. High profile cases, such as the Rendlesham Forest Incident in 1980, have ensured the UK’s place in UFO history.
But it is time that this was balanced out. Ireland has its own history of UFO sightings, which goes back as far as the year 743. In the Annals of the Four Masters, a chronicle of Irish history, a mysterious passage explains that “Ships with their crews were plainly seen in the sky this year”.
Before we examine Irish UFO sightings, though, it is important to start with the basics.
What is a UFO?
This might seem an odd question, but it is vital to beginning any research on the subject. You probably won’t find an exact answer, but that’s fine. It’s not so much about knowing for sure, it is more to do with keeping an open mind. The question that is often asked is, “Do you believe in UFOs”, which is entirely the wrong angle. UFOs, as such, exist. That is a fact. People see them all the time and have been seeing them throughout history.
A more pertinent question would be, “What could it be?”. Many sightings can, and have been, explained away as optical illusions, misidentified aircraft or birds, and so on. The fact remains that it is a flying object that could not be identified, and therefore it qualifies as a UFO. When dealing with folk who have seen a UFO, you will feel their sincerity. If you’ve been lucky enough to spot one yourself, then you’ll know the feeling. And to a larger extent, you don’t care what others think. It isn’t whether you believe in UFOs. The intrigue and the mystery lie in wondering what it actually might be. Once you have ruled out the fakes, the obvious explanations and the mundane, then it is time to embrace other possibilities – keeping that mind open, whilst your feet are firmly rooted in the ground.
The Emerald Isle and UFOs
Ireland is a unique place, steeped in history, smothered with ancient sites and famous for its rolling, green countryside. It is home to a rich tapestry of folklore; the leprechaun, the sidhe (fairies or elves) and the Tuatha de Danann, to name just a few.
But UFOs? They don’t get them there, do they? Well, as we have seen, they’ve been recorded for at least a thousand years.
Anyone interested in the subject knows that gathering accurate statistics about UFO sightings is notoriously difficult. Before official records began, accounts like the one above would only be recorded if anyone actually took the time (or had the skills) to do so. Many people keep the sightings to themselves, understandably, fearing ridicule. And often the authorities do not take reported sightings seriously, especially when the person involved admits to having an existing interest in the ‘paranormal’. All this means that the records are far from complete, especially when you add the fact the official sightings by military personnel are frequently kept hidden, exposed only years later through ‘Freedom of Information’ requests and so on. This adds to the conspiracy theories of government cover-ups and simply fuels more interest and distrust.
So, the best type of sightings are those with multiple witnesses, who are deemed to be reliable and of sound mind. The trouble with this is that it marginalises other witnesses, but also makes the truth harder to find, as a ‘rational’ explanation is often insisted upon, in spite of any inconsistencies.
Take the case on Friday, November 9, 2018, when several pilots on commercial airlines spotted “Very bright lights” that were moving at about twice the speed of sound over County Kerry, and which “rapidly veered to the north”. These were reliable witnesses, at least three of them. The official explanation proposed that they were nothing more than meteors. Meteors that “rapidly veered”? You decide.
As in other places, UFO sightings in Ireland have increased over the past few decades. Here are a few that have been recorded, which shows a fairly even spread of events, but also highlights some places that could be considered ‘hotspots’:
- February 26, 1969 – Mullinahone, Carrick-on-Suir. Three witnesses spotted what was described as “A cloud with two lights shining out of it” which descended to the ground.
- August 15, 1977 – Kells, County Meath. A sighting which lasted for several hours, which included strange, coloured lights and a triangular craft flying at very high speeds. The craft had multi-coloured tail lights.
- September 30, 1996 – Carrickmacross, County Monaghan. An object was sighted moving slowly east to west, for about thirty minutes. Its movement suggested that it could not have been an aircraft.
- August 24, 2016 – Letterkenny, Donegal. A black, triangular craft was photographed. As usual, it was suggested to have been a ‘secret prototype aircraft’. It has not been spotted since, but a sighting from 2011 was eventually reported, claiming to have seen a triangular craft with red lights at each point as well as a row of red and orange lights. It moved silently across the sky, and appeared to have a glass dome beneath, in which there were ‘churning flames’ or ‘molten liquid’. Further to this, on February 1, 2018, another witness photographed a strange craft over the same area. This one was green in colour, and appeared to be textured underneath. It was followed by a series of six other lights that moved in formation.
- April, July & December 2017 – County Cork. During this year, several strange ‘orbs’ of light were seen travelling at high speed across the skies. While most would write these off as meteors of other natural phenomena, the fact is that each one of these either accelerated, changed direction or disappeared.
- Also in December 2017, over Dublin airport, two intensely bright lights were reported to be hovering over Dublin airport. The intensity grew as the sun rose, until the lights simply vanished. That same year, in November, a commercial flight was ‘tracked’ over County Tipperary by a bright, fast-moving light. Again, in 2017, over Bruff, County Limerick, onlookers were left shaken by seeing two bright blue orbs that were thought either to be part of a larger craft or two craft flying close together.
These few cases represent a sample of the many that are reported – and probably the countless others that are not.
Whatever the explanations, it is possible to spot patterns in the sightings and so begin to attempt to compile a coherent file on the possibilities.
There does appear to be an overall concentration of sightings to the south of Ireland, more specifically, the lower half below the line between Dublin and Limerick. If any one area could be described as a ‘hotspot’ for UFO activity, then Cork wins, hands down, with the most reported sightings.
Glowing orbs, or balls of light that move at high speed, are the most common sighting, although dark, triangular craft have been spotted at various times.
Observing patterns in sightings is one matter, especially given the caveats mentioned above. But actually explaining the sightings is quite another matter. Some of this will depend on how open-minded you are, or are prepared to be. It may also depend on your background and upbringing.
Many UFO ‘believers’ in the USA have a religious leaning, which means their suggested explanations will include bible prophecies, like those seen in the books of Daniel and Ezekiel (wheels within wheels, and so on). Someone with a more rational, and less imaginative, frame of mind will be more likely to suggest that the sightings are related to top-secret aircraft. However, with the best will in the world, the Irish air force is not famed for its aircraft or firepower and is unlikely to invest heavily in such things. Neither does it have any official US Airforce bases – though admittedly it is close enough to the British mainland for top-secret flights to pass overhead from time to time.
When all is said and done, the possibility remains for us to ask the question, “are these sightings a sign that we are being visited by extraterrestrial entities?”. Arguments rage about this continually, with the sticking point usually being that our scientific knowledge doesn’t allow for anything to travel faster than light-speed. Two points to bear in mind here are that, firstly, our knowledge is limited, and secondly, we must consider the possibility of dimensional travel.
The future of Ufology in Ireland
Although high-profile cases have somehow escaped Ireland – for the time being – sightings continue to be made across the entire country. And it is a fair guess that this will only continue, especially as mobile devices make it easier to capture images and the internet provides an instant audience.
Online groups that focus on UFOs can be a great source of information and support. Those who speak out about their sightings will always, sadly, risk the scorn and ridicule of others with minds that are less open.
When the skies clear over County Cork, as well as the wider area, it is well worth taking the time to look to the skies. Footage and photographs of UFOs never seems to be very good quality. That is generally as people are not prepared for it – most people aren’t actively out looking for them and are usually pretty shaken up after doing so. But it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Any footage can be examined for clues. Any sightings can be added to the record, whether the authorities actually take it seriously or not.
UFO sightings can happen literally anywhere, at any time, but there are patterns if you look carefully enough. It may be possible to increase your chances of spotting one if you do a little research beforehand. Sightings are often concentrated over or near to airbases – especially military ones – so keep this in mind. Some believe there is a correlation between UFO appearances and the existence of ley lines (another subject in itself!) but you might want to check the recorded sightings against the presence of existing ley lines in Ireland, just to investigate the possibility of a correlation.
UFO Hotspot Ireland?
Ireland has long been a place of mystery and intrigue, and its rich history of folklore continues to inspire and entertain us today. It deserves a place in the lore of Ufology, in spite of the lack of famous cases.
As technology and science advances, and as humans try to find ways to secure the future of our planet, which faces some terrifying challenges if it is to survive, it is safe to say that we will most likely see a drastic increase in UFO sightings. This often seems to be that case, but it is hard to say why.
Perhaps someone is watching over us? Perhaps they are, after all, humans, from the future, coming to help us out?
We can’t say for certain – yet. So we keep watching the skies avidly.
All we know is that the truth, as they say, is out there.