At 5:20pm on Tuesday, 18 January 1955, a witness (no name was given in the report) saw a “bright, silvery ball of light” moving quickly, in an easterly direction, across the sky over County Donegal . It was about the size of an orange, and it reminded the witness of a Tilley light. “There was no trail as in the case of a shooting star and neither were there any rays of light shed around it.” The sighting lasted a “split second.”
That same evening, there were UFO reports from County Kildare and County Laois. According to the Irish Times: “Controversy has been caused in the midlands by the appearance in the sky on Tuesday evening of a brilliant disc which was seen by people living as far apart as Castledermot, Co. Kildare, and Portarlington, Leix. Some observers who have suggested that the disc was a flying saucer say that there were coloured streaks trailing from its base as it travelled slowly in an east-west direction.”
In fact, there were many UFO sightings across Scotland around the same time. While most of the witnesses saw a “ball of fire”, at 5:15pm, in Falkirk, a mother and daughter saw an object that had the shape of a flat fish and a tail made up of many brilliant coloured lights. The lights, said the mother, fascinated her.
A couple of weeks later, the Derry Journal reported that they had found some more witnesses in Donegal, including “some young ladies” who had become “overcome with fright” at the object’s “vividness.”
They also spoke to Mrs James Moore of Creenasmear in County Donegal, who saw a “bright, glowing light” pass over the area between 4:30pm and 5:00pm on that Tuesday. According to Mrs Moore, the object was “about the size of the mouth of a bucket and had a trail of fire as long as a telegraph pole.” It didn’t move in a straight line; it swooped and zig-zagged. And it didn’t move particularly fast.
Mrs Moore’s son, Charles, also noted the object’s strange swooping and zigzagging motion. Charles believed that the object was either a “damaged aeroplane or a robot.” Suspecting that it may have crashed on Beighy Hill - about two miles away - he set out the next morning to investigate. He found neither crashed aeroplane nor crashed robot.
1 The location of the sighting was not reported, but based on the Derry Journal's follow-up item it’s fair to say it was somewhere over County Donegal.
- Derry Journal 28 January & 11 February 1955
- Falkirk Herald, 22 January 1955
- The Irish Times, 21 January 1955