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It May Fly with Shirley McDermott

Updated: Apr 15, 2020

Today we have Shirley McDermott, who is a member of the Irish Language class and the Book Club. She writes of a famous Irish patriot and a slightly lesser known but most remarkable Irish woman.

Lilian Bland

Whilst attending the McCracken Summer School with friends, a couple of years ago, I rented a house in Whiteabbey, just north of Belfast. It had been the home of Lilian Bland - the first woman in the World to design, build and fly her own aeroplane.

Largely unknown to the wider world, she is commemorated locally in The Lilian Bland Memorial Park, Glengormley with a plaque and a children’s climbing frame in the form of her plane, which she named Mayfly... because it may fly... and it did!

The McCracken Cultural Centre

The McCracken Cultural Centre in The Antrim Road, Belfast is named after the Belfast Industrialist and founding member of The Society of United Irishmen - who was executed at the age of 30 in 1798, outside Belfast Market House, for his part in the rebellion that year.

The Centre has an active social and cultural programme and holds an Irish Language Summer School for one week in July each year. This is attended by about 250 people. The standard of tuition is first class with a team of teachers led by the boundlessly energetic Dr. Art Hughes of Ulster University. The charge is reasonable as it is non- residential but there are evening concerts and events too and the centre is served by a frequent bus service from the city centre.

Become a member of Liverpool Irish Centre here

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