In 1918 the Royal Naval Air Service operated large cigar shaped balloons (Airships) over and around Ireland. They were based at Ballyliffin Co Donegal, Larne Co Antrim, Malahide Castle Co Dublin and Johnstown Castle Co Wexford.
Their main duty was to hunt for and attempt to sink the many German U.Boats that menaced allied shipping around the Irish coast at that time. Operations started in 1915 and when WW1 ended in Nov 1918 some of the airship stations were still being brought up to strenght and upgraded. It took until the middle of 1919 to reverse the process and retire the airships and crews from active service. So 1919 was used as a training period for as long as they were flying. But by 1920 they were superceeded by aircraft.
The airships were ideal for the job as they had very long endurance plus the fact they could hover over a slow moving sub with just a periscope showing. They managed to cover vast distances during their patrols, so anywhere along the west coast was local
Amazing coincidence that the photo showed it directly overhead the Clifden Airport runway. Ghosts of the future??
Hope thats of some help. Can you remember the title of the book you were looking at.
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