Irish locations of Jehovah's Wind

April 27, 2023

“I guess you’re right, Phil,” I said, looking across Donegal Bay towards the River Erne’s windswept estuary as the Mammoth, the world’s largest floating crane, groaned under the weight of its as-yet-unseen undersea charge.

County Donegal

This is the bottleneck shaped River Erne estuary, which Sangster would have seen from the bridge of his ship, moored in Donegal Bay. The town of Ballyshannon, where Sangster soothes relations between the local mayor and the commander of the Royal Navy flotilla sent to reclaim a sunken flying boat in 1944, lies at the upper end of the estuary. The broad patches of water behind Ballyshannon are the Assaroe and Lower Lough Erne lakes.

As can be seen from the map, Donegal Bay, and County Donegal in general, lie just as far north as Northern Ireland, with Donegal's Malin Head (Cionn Mhálanna in gaelic), being the most northerly point of the island of Ireland. This northerly latitude accounts for the local accent, which Sangster notices does not quite sound like northern or southern Irish.  

The idyllically set Ballyshannon, where Sangster finds himself in 1944, is one of the oldest towns in Ireland, named for a fifth-century warrior, Seannach, who was slain there. The town’s name means ‘The mouth of Seannach's ford’. During World War II an air corridor in the region was secretly agreed between the British and Irish governments for operations by the Royal Air Force. In particular, this ‘Donegal Corridor’ was used by RAF 'Sunderland' flying boats of the type salvaged at the start of Jehovah's Wind.  

Sangster’s temporary billet whilst in Ballyshannon, the Dorrian’s Imperial Hotel, has been welcoming guests since 1781. And although the name has changed slightly (in 1944 it was simply called The Imperial), the hotel’s façade is exactly as Sangster would have seen it.  


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