On Thursday March 18, Blather received an email from an Edel Chadwick:
‘I was driving across the bog (ostensibly a road)… between Borrisokane, Co. Tipperary and Cloghan, Co. Offaly. Anyone who knows that road will know it is unrelieved flat bog. It was Saturday March 6 at about 11.30pm. I saw what I presume to be a meteorological phenomenon… it was a very clear dry night, cold. I saw what looked like a very large shooting star, comet type thing, about 10 times larger than the comet that was visible last year. It moved through the sky extremely quickly but not for a very long distance (similar to shooting star)… it was a very vivid green. It lasted a second or two and vanished… ideas?’
Oddly enough, we do have a few. Firstly though, we shall take the pedantic liberty of discussing any confusion surrounding ‘meteorology’, which is ‘the study of the processes and phenomena of the atmosphere, especially as a means of forecasting the weather’. The phenomenon described by Ms. Chadwick probably did involve the Earth’s atmosphere, but as a meteor (or bolide), a relatively small body of matter which becomes incandescent on contact with the Earth’s atmosphere, brightening into a fireball. It may burn up entirely, or if sufficiently large to survive its burning, may fall to earth as a solid meteorite.
While this sighting was most likely a meteor, we as yet are unaware as to whether or not it came down anywhere. Despite the plethora of scaremongering documentaries that have recently graced our TV screens, telling us of the Earth’s potential devastation from collisions with heavenly bodies, we’re so far unaware of the total destruction of any Irish centre of population in recent weeks.
Blather, you see, was already aware of the March 6 fireball. A couple of days after March 6, Blather had received an email from the erudite David Moore of Astronomy Ireland, also editor of *Astronomy & Space* magazine, who had been on Djouce Mountain (727m, 2385ft, near the east coast, in Co. Wicklow, about 160km, 100 miles east of Ms. Chadwick’s sighting) on the night in question. David told us that ‘there was a brilliant fireball on Saturday night at 10:50pm. (I) saw the ground light up myself from Djouce mountain where we were using telescopes… it happened in the north’. Another witness had also contacted Astronomy Ireland’s hotline, from Tuam in Co. Galway. Word has it that Astronomy Ireland intend to investigate further.
Blather finds the apparent discrepancy in time rather curious – Edel Chadwick recorded her sighting as having taken place at 11:30pm. David Moore and Astronomy Ireland recorded theirs at 10:50pm. Has someone made a mistake, or were there *two* huge fireballs over Ireland that night?
Another odd little report of recent times comes from the keyboard of Brian Lynchehan, who was in the crowds at O’Connell Bridge, in the centre of Dublin, on the evening of Saturday 13th March, awaiting the gigantic fireworks display to mark the opening of the St. Patrick’s day celebrations (apparently some 6 tonnes of fireworks were used).
Several hundred thousand people lined the keys for the display, which was set to start at 8pm. In fact, this Blatherskite braved the crowds and *was also* at O’Connell Bridge that evening, while two colleagues of Blather were atop two of the tallest buildings in the area. Neither we nor they reported anything untoward.
Mr. Lynchehan writes:
‘Hopefully I’m not the only person to have seen this: between 19:30 and 20:00 (I’m not sure the exact time) I saw a light moving above the crowd on O’Connell Bridge. I was on the Bridge, it was directly above us. It was EXTREMELY faint, so I don’t think that it was a plane, as even at a great distance, planes are usually quite visible, and have more than one coloured light. This was white. The light was also moving quite quickly.
When I first saw it, it was moving westerly (against the flow of the Liffey), but was curving around southwards. There were 2 low-flying helicopters that night, but [were] rather obviously helicopters. I’m not saying that I saw an extraterrestrial craft, I’m saying that I saw a light, and that if it was a plane at EXTREMELY high altitudes, was extremely manoeuvrable (i.e. the further an object, the slower it appears to move. This made a 30 degree turn in about 2-3 minutes, much too fast for an airplane that’s a great distance away).
The only way to describe the level of intensity of the light is just within the level needed for the human eye to see it. It was quite difficult to see due to being extremely faint. If anyone else saw this, I’d like to know.’
‘If you come across an explanation for it, even better! (mundane explanations happily accepted).’
As stated, *we* noticed nothing that night – doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. However we admire Brian’s approach, as he doesn’t fall prey to automatically equating UFOs with craft of an extraterrestrial origin (longtime suffers of Blather will be well used to our somewhat caustic opinions on such matters).
We can confirm (twas hard to miss ’em) the two choppers circling the city centre – at least one belonged to the Gardai (police), while the other may have been a TV camera helicopter (we’re unsure of this detail). But as for other lights in the sky *before* the fireworks? We didn’t see a thing. If any other readers were around that night, be sure to share your (non)experiences with us…
Foolishness and Codology