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Lord Ashbourne’s ‘charming’ flight over Dublin
Captain Inglefield and Lord Ashbourne before their flight across Dublin Photo: Irish Life, 11 January 1918. (Full collection available at the National Library of Ireland)

Lord Ashbourne’s ‘charming’ flight over Dublin

Dublin, 4 January 1918 - ‘It was altogether a charming experience’.

That is how Lord Ashbourne described what many would consider the opportunity of a lifetime – the chance to ride in an aeroplane and view the city of Dublin from the air.

Taking off from the Fifteen Acres in the Phoenix Park and reaching heights of 3,500 feet, Lord Ashbourne was the passenger on a 35 minute flight that circuited Dublin City four times.

Piloted by Captain Inglefield of the Royal Flying Corps, the aircraft rose to a height where, according to Lord Ashbourne, it was difficult to make out particular landmarks. Even those that were identifiable looked different from the air'. ‘Howth’, Ashbourne said ‘looked perfectly flat, and for some time I could see the Sugar Loaf Mountain slightly, but then it disappeared.’

It was not easy to make out people walking the streets and what he suspected to be motors car travelling along the city thoroughfares were, most likely, trams. The railway lines appeared only as very narrow strips and trains were discernible only from the smoke from their engines.

As for the sensation of flying, Lord Ashbourne said there was no ‘sensation of height as there was nothing to compare with it’. However, the air was ‘very invigorating’, producing a feeling of  exhilaration akin to what might be experienced in Switzerland.

During the flight, which had been arranged by the Countess of Drogheda, Lord Ashbourne dropped pamphlets promoting the Aerial Services Exhibition at the Earlsfort Garage.

Captain Inglefield ready for the flight. (Image: Irish life, 11 January 1918)

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]


Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.