A Curious Craft Over Carlingford
On Saturday, 14 April 1990, between 4:30pm and 5:00pm, a UFO circled and hovered over the County Louth village of Carlingford. It was spherical and domed, was 30 to 40 feet in diameter, and according to the Irish Independent: “The object was lit up with orange lights that changed to blue as it went nearer the ground and then to red as it took off again.”
Pharmacist John O’Callaghan had been taking photos of properties for sale for a friend in England when he encountered the UFO.
|Sunday Life headline|
“I heard a terrible loud noise, my first reaction was to cover my ears with my hands. I then saw a dome-shaped object hanging and spinning in the sky and there was an orange colour all around it.
“After a few minutes it descended down to the ground. There were three bulges at the base of it and it had turned a bluey/purply colour.
“I am not into UFOs at all and have always been very sceptical about such things but there was certainly a craft of some nature hovering in the sky.”
Another witness was Kevin Woods, who lived on the southern shore of Carlingford Lough. Woods had heard a whistling noise and looked outside to see what it was.
“There was a red ball in the sky around the Rostrevor and Warrenpoint [two towns on the Northern Ireland side of Carlingford Lough] area. It was a sphere of some description. It stayed in the sky and moved at great speed. I then lost sight of it behind some houses.”
Woods said that he knew a number of people who had seen the same object.
|John O'Callaghan's photo in the Sunday Life|
Like O’Callaghan, Woods was eager to convince journalists that he wasn’t some sort of UFO nut.
“I am not into UFOs or moving statues or anything like that. I don’t believe in flying saucers and anyone who knows me in this area would know I am not a crank.
“But all I am saying is that it was a sphere and it moved very fast and I saw it and heard it. There was no smoke or blades. I didn’t find it frightening. It was just extraordinary.”
This was a physically close encounter - according to the Independent, at one point the UFO was just 12 feet off the ground – as well as being a close encounter of the second kind.
The object spooked a horse, which later required veterinary treatment, and it left a number of witnesses with a buzzing/whining noise in their ears. Eamon Thornton was one of them.
“My ear drums hurt with the sound of a terrible whine,” he recalled.
And the whine wasn’t confined to his ears. According to Thornton, while the object hovered over Carlingford, the radio in his truck whined loudly. The encounter also seemed to permanently damage the radio – as it didn’t work properly after the encounter.
So, what was this object that circled and hovered over Carlingford, changed colours, spooked horses and interfered with the ears and truck radios of the good people of Carlingford?
Was it a passing aircraft or a child’s Frisbee “swept up into the cloud by the wind,” as suggested by The Argus newspaper?
According to John Flynn of the Armagh Planetarium, it was neither of these things. It was probably either a meteor, ball lightning or a rocket.
“If I had to guess I would go for a large meteor. It would travel faster than sound so you would get a sonic boom and the splash of colours,” explained Flynn.
“You would get a lot of colours with ball lightning. The weather conditions over Easter would make that a possibility.
“It could also be a flare or a rocket from either the British or Irish armies.
“It is easier for us to say what it isn’t and it certainly isn’t a craft from another planet. Anything like that is immediately tracked down by the Russians or Americans.”
The Argus, 27 April 1990 & 4 January 1991
Irish Independent, 19 April 1990
Sunday Life, 22 April 1990