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Clifden Radio

Clifden Radio was a station established by Marconi to serve traffic between the United Kingdom and North America.

While making improvements at his Glace Bay station, Marconi had discovered the value of the directional aerial. The low frequencies employed at this time meant that directional aerials were very large and Poldhu was unsuitable for such a size of aerial. Clifden, as well as being one of the closest points to the USA, had plenty of room in which to build the large buidlings and aerials required . together with a ready made fuel supply in the peat which surrounded the area.

Building work on the Clifden site commenced in October 1905.

On 15 October 1907, Clifden was finally ready for transatlantic communication and the inaugural message was sent at 11.30 am from Lord Avebury to the New York Times.

Clifden's receiving station was located 40 kilometres away at Letterfrack.

In July 1922, the huge transatlantic station at Clifden was wrecked by Irish irregulars as part of the struggle for Home Rule. Traffic passed to the Caernarvon station in Wales and, since improvements in transmission technology had removed the need for a station so far west, Clifden was never rebuilt.

  • Read more about Clifden Radio at "Marconi Calling" including pictures of the station.
  • In 2010 the BBC TV programme "Coast" visited the west coast of Ireland and took in the Clifden site, including setting up a miniature version of a spark transmitter.


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