92 years ago, an amazing woman of her time, Lady Mary Heath (from Knockaderry, Co. Limerick) toured Ireland in the summer of 1928 flying her Avro Avian biplane. She flew to Renvyle to meet her husband and their friend, Oliver St. John Gogarty who owned Renvyle House Hotel. The remoteness of Renvyle from Dublin prompted Gogarty to investigate the possibility of an air link to Dublin, so while she was there, she surveyed potential landing places. Unfortunately, she became stuck in the sand when she attempted to land at Tullaghbawn Strand (the Renvyle whitestrand), and the plane had to be freed and moved to safer ground.
A newspaper report later wrote that “the intrepid woman showed that, equipped only with a light and comparatively cheap aircraft, it was possible to fly all over Connacht and, notwithstanding the ruggedness of the general terrain, always to remain within easy reach of a suitable landing place. Stretches of sandy beach along the indented coastline proved easy and convenient to Lady Heath and level fields are always within gliding distance. Lady Heath brought Renvyle, Conamara within little more than an hour’s flying to the capital.”
“To appreciate Galway properly one must see it from the air,” said Lady Heath. “It was magnificent, the bay and the mountains. The day was one of the clearest on which I have ever been up, and by flying low it was possible to see rocks on the bottom of the sea.”