In the UFO community, people tend to focus on the United States and Africa above many other locations. These discussions often look at sightings like the Roswell event, Area 51, or the Ariel School events in Zimbabwe. It is this author’s belief that it is because a large proportion of the UFO researchers live in these areas, or that these events are often more publicized than most others.
Whether most people realize it or not, a large portion of the globe has seen an unidentified flying object. Ireland is not a place that comes to mind when discussing these types of occurrences, but, like with many other places around the globe, Ireland is an under-discussed hotbed of UFO activity.
Notable UFO Events in Ireland
Below are a few notable sightings involving UFOs throughout Ireland. While there are hundreds of reports submitted, these were chosen because they had the most witnesses and the most cohesive testimonies from all the witnesses. These events have not been publicly investigated by any major bodies, and many of the details are scarce or otherwise difficult to locate. None of the witnesses report being expert in the subject of aliens or UFO’s, or even in any kind of sky-based or atmospheric science. However, that does not change what they reported seeing.
It should be noted that, though much research was done to find more detail, it will be difficult (if not impossible) to fully verify the claims of these individuals as their names have been left out of most of the reports. Additionally, with little to no investigation being done into these matters, most of the UFO sightings in Ireland are left without an official cause provided by any respected body.
In the Ox Mountains of County Mayo, on Rooskey Lake, a fisherman and his hired rower were making their way out onto the lake so the fisherman could do some fly fishing. A movement in the sky caught the eye of the rower, who quickly got the attention of the angler to confirm what he was seeing. They both described it as, “looking light a bright star, but moving erratically – up and down and sideways while falling and coming toward us”. It was a bright white, but made no sound as it went. Later, both men said that it slowed down then changed direction as it got near them. It moved erratically under cloud level for a bit, then, it took off at a high speed and vanished (or turned off the lights) from their view.
At first, both observers wondered if it could be a plane. They threw this possibility out when they realized how fast it was moving and that its pattern of movement would rip the plane apart. As with many UFO reports, there has been no official explanation offered for the events these men described.
Carlow Centre was home to a strange near-ground occurrence on 1 November 2008. Three friends were walking home after a night out when they noticed that there was a blue light emanating from an object hovering over a nearby house. All three watched the object hover for a short time before a blinding flash of light went out and the object disappeared. The observers described everything as “eerily silent” afterwards.
There was no sound from the hovering object, which the three discussed as they tried to come up with normal explanations for the events they saw. The light was present for too long to be lightning, and there was no sound to indicate it was a series of fireworks. They also described it as being very small, as they estimate they were roughly one hundred feet from the object as it hovered around twenty feet in the air. To this day, no explanation has been given for these events by any authoritative body.
On 19 January 2014, a Dublin mother and her two daughters reported seeing strange triangles passing slowly over the night sky as they were out stargazing. These objects made no noise and had no real light on them. When all three were asked separately to describe what they had seen, the descriptions were almost identical to each other, but with few signs of being rehearsed or prepared beforehand. Additionally, all three said that the objects seemed to vanish into thin air after travelling through their view for a while.
Official documentation writes this occurrence off as a satellite passing through their field of view, but it seems unlikely they would have been able to make out any accurate shape in this case. Also, the objects were said to have had no light source on them, further ruling out the idea that this was a satellite. No other official statements have been made on this occurrence.
The Most Recent UFO Report: 9 November 2018
One of Ireland’s most noteworthy and unexplained reported UFO sightings occurred a bit less than a year ago. In this case, it was in the morning hours and was witnessed by numerous pilots.
What We Know
On 9 November 2018, around 0700, British Airways flight BA94 was flying from Montreal to London. As they were passing over Shannon, a town in Ireland, some kind of object that was only described as being “very bright” moved past the aircraft, then veered north. The pilot of BA94 called in to report her sightings to Shannon air traffic control.
While speaking with the control tower, the pilot asked if there were any military exercises underway. The air traffic controllers reported that there were no military exercises scheduled for that day. After a short period of chatter discussing what the pilot had seen, at least four other aviators called into the tower to confirm that they had seen the object as well.
BA94’s pilot later stated that she did not believe she and the object were on a collision course – she was just wondering what it was. At least one of the other pilots who had seen it is quoted as saying the speed of the object was “absolutely astronomical, like Mach 2 or something.” For those who are unfamiliar, this means that the object was moving at roughly two times the speed of sound.
While there is no official explanation offered for this event as of yet, the one most generally accepted is that this was just a meteorite entering Earth’s atmosphere and burning up on entry. The Irish Aviation Authority is still conducting its investigation, but it is likely that it will come to the same conclusion. Aviation journalists have spoken up, saying that it is not uncommon for meteorites to enter at a “low trajectory” and to move horizontally during their descent. A spokesman for the IAA also made sure to specifically say that is highly unlikely to be aliens from another planet.
What Else Is There?
As stated above, most of the authorities in Ireland are ready to chalk this event up to a meteor shower and move on. That explanation, while satisfying to the laymen who are unfamiliar with the nuances and physics of aviation, is most likely not satisfying to those who study UFOs in depth.
The reported speed of the object was the first thing to come into question for this author. Meteorites move very fast – the average range for speeds of meteorites entering Earth’s atmosphere is between 11 km/sec to 72 km/sec. In mach numbers, this is between Mach 32 and Mach 209. These speeds are much faster than the Mach 2 reported by the aviators in the area, who we can safely assume would have at least a basic ability to give a rough judgement of airspeed. As a matter of fact, it is likely that the aviators would have caught only a brief glimpse, if any sight at all, of the object at those speeds. Instead, they were able to watch it move and then turn towards the north, able to follow it for quite some time.
To piggyback on this, there is the odd trajectory of the object. The pilot described it as moving alongside her plane, which means it was likely travelling in a generally horizontal direction before splitting off northwards. This is not a typical meteor movement pattern – while they can change directions in the air, and can have odd trajectories, they are still falling and, as such, will have a generally downward movement pattern. A downwards slope was not reported by any of the aviators who saw this particular object, which would indicate that it was more likely to either be gliding or under some sort of controlled flight.
This is one of the more peculiar UFO reports in Ireland’s history – it is one of the few that has been addressed by news media, possibly because of the higher profile or reputation of the witnesses. It also has the most witnesses and records of conversations from the exact moment, due to all radio chatter being saved by control towers in the event of an aviation accident.
The witnesses were almost all pilots, which are individuals who are more likely to be familiar with astronomical and atmospheric events such as meteors and satellites. These are the types of individuals who are going to notice something abnormal in the sky, and, being that they were flying at the time of the sighting, often have a better view of events like these due to their physical proximity.
This raises another concern: meteors falling to Earth is not an uncommon event. It is estimated that somewhere between eighteen thousand and eighty thousand meteorites hit Earth every year, not including the masses that do not make it all the way to the surface and burn up completely in the atmosphere. A career pilot like the one on BA94 has likely seen meteors burning on atmospheric entry before, so she would be less likely to be concerned if it was just another event like this. This one struck her as abnormal – hence why she reached out to Shannon air traffic control.
No military exercises were reported to be scheduled on that day, which helps to rule out that possibility. However, it does not rule out test flights of an experimental or prototype aircraft. This could be the case, and, with no word of explanation of “meteor shower” from a respected body with any knowledge of the subject matter, it would be difficult to rule this out entirely until the Irish Aviation Authority completes their investigation and associated documentation becomes public domain material.
One final thing that strikes this writer as odd about this occurrence is the Irish Aviation Authority’s response, particularly in one part. The spokesman specifically mentioned that it is “unlikely to be aliens from another planet.” This is not a commonly made statement when investigating aerial phenomena, especially right at the outset of the investigation. Most organizations will not outright say this, even if the rumours are starting to mount, until much later in the investigation when they can offer a credible explanation to provide some weight to their explanation. It is possible I am overthinking this or reading too much into the statement, but it almost feels like an attempt at preemptive damage control or another way of making UFO researchers look like fringe scientists and conspiracy theorists.
Ireland, like much of the world, sees more than its fair share of odd aerial phenomena and potential UFO sightings. There are only a small handful of organizations dedicated to investigating Irish UFO claims, and most of these organizations do not have the manpower or the resources necessary to be able to fully substantiate every claim made. As an example, the most respected organization in Northern Ireland (the Northern Ireland UFO Society) has less than twenty members.
Nonetheless, these sightings happen regularly. US conspiracy theories abound and are investigated by all kinds of bodies – there are more documentaries about Roswell, Area 51, and the Arizona lights than I care to try to count. It is time to stop ignoring the rest of the world and truly dig into some of these events listed above.