75th anniversary of D Day marked at Mayo Peace Park

Thursday, 6th June, 2019 3:51pm

75th anniversary of D Day marked at Mayo Peace Park

Michael Feeney M.B.E., a founder member of Mayo Peace Park, addressing today's event in Castlebar to mark the 75th anniversary of D Day.

The Mayo Peace Park Committee and the Irish United Nations Veterans Association today hosted a D Day Remembrance and Wreath Laying Ceremony at Mayo Peace Park in Castlebar.

It was part of worldwide ceremonies taking place on the day to mark 75th anniversary of the Allied Forces heroism during the D Day landings, which initiated the Liberation of Europe on June 6, 1944.

A big crowd turned out to honour all who served and died, especially those from Mayo and other parts of Ireland.

Lone piper Pat Conlon got proceedings underway before Michael Feeney M.B.E., a founder member of the Peace Park, gave a broad outline of the history of D Day and its huge significance in shaping the course of history across Europe.

Some 5,000 ships and over 11,000 aircraft carried 156,000 Allied troops into battle on D-Day across a 60-mile beachfront and into the interior of Normandy's Cotentin peninsula.

The assault on Hitler's 'Fortress Europe' signalled the beginning of the end of the Nazi regime in Europe with the German surrender less than a year later.

The Castlebar event heard that years of planning for the Allied invasion came down to one crucial but uncontrollable factor – the weather.

As the original planned day of the greatest invasion in history approached (June 5, 1944), British and American forecasters could not agree on the likely weather for that date.

But an accurate forecast from the Irish Meteorological Service, based on the observations from Blacksod in north Mayo, was to prove the most vital.

Blacksod lighthouse keeper Ted Sweeney's crucial Blacksod reports from June 3, 1944, indicated a cold front lying halfway across Ireland and moving rapidly south eastwards and that a deep depression lay between Iceland and Scotland.

It could now be firmly established that gale-force winds, low clouds and heavy showers would still be affecting the English Channel in the early hours of June 5, thus the invasion was postponed for 24 hours.

The late Ted Sweeney's son, Edward, recalled the story when he addressed the Castlebar attendance.

A wreath in memory of all Mayo people who died in World War Two was laid by the outgoing cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, Councillor Blackie Gavin, accompanied by Councillor Martin McLoughlin.

Piper Pat Conlon performed The Lament at the close of the ceremony.

 

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