From the post office in Blacksod, the Sweeney family used to record the weather every hour throughout the Second World War. They sent their observations to the Irish Met Service in Dublin and these were then forwarded without their knowledge to the headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Force in England.
In the early morning of 3 June 1944, Maureen Flavin (21) dispatched a weather report from Blacksod, Co Mayo, that would change the course of WWII. The barometer at the remote weather station showed that pressure was dropping rapidly, indicating a major Atlantic storm was due to arrive and blow right across western Europe. Based on Ms Flavin’s readings, US general Dwight D Eisenhower postponed the D-Day invasion of France by 24 hours.
Seventy seven years later, Maureen Flavin, then 98 years old, was awarded a special US House of Representatives honour for her part in the war. Her son, Vincent Sweeney, who is the lighthouse keeper at Blacksod Point, said his mother was proud of the dispatch but primarily happy that she had got it right, “otherwise we could be wearing jackboots”.