Twin Irish Monuments Across the Sea

Marconi Monument in Ballycastle. Photo by Cindy Thomson

When you are traveling, it’s always a good idea to keep your camera ready, and there’s no place where that’s truer than in Ireland. When my husband and I were in Ballycastle, I snapped this photograph. After all, a monument in the middle of a parking lot (or carpark as they call them there) is unique. This one might not have been majestic or particularly beautiful, but I had plenty of room on my camera, so why not?

Odd But Interesting

Now I wish I had done my homework. Of course I did glance at the plaque (and photographed it for future reference) and knew that it was a memorial to Guglielmo Marconi of wireless telegraph fame. I remembered that I had seen a memorial to Marconi in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. What I didn’t learn until later (and if you paid more attention in history class than I did you already know this) is that his mother, Annie Jameson, was Irish. (Yes, she was a Jameson Whiskey family member.) The monument in Ballycastle, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, memorializes a venture he undertook there in 1898 to transmit a radio signal from a lighthouse on nearby Rathlin Island to White Lodge on Ballycastle harbor.

Plaque at Ballycastle. Photo by Cindy Thomson

The experiment succeeded.Marconi’s cottage, a few miles away, is sometimes wrongly assumed to be the site of the transmission.
The American Connection
IMG_0146 Marconi Station bronze plaque

Photo by blacque_jacques

In Cape Cod the memorial is found in South Wellfleet where the first successful transatlantic wireless telegraph transmission originating in the United States was made in 1903. The message was made for President Teddy Roosevelt to England’s King Edward VII.

Well, okay. They are not really twin monuments, at least not visually. But there are two memorials marking the work of this Irish/Italian man, one in Ireland and one in America. Well, okay, there are more than two, but so far I’ve only seen two. I’ve since learned that there are many. Marconi traveled a great deal to find proper sites for his stations and many of these places set up memorials in his honor.

Learn More

Learn more about Marconi’s Irish connection here.

The Marconi Radio Group set up a Marconi Festival in Ballycastle.

Learn more about Marconi’s Cape Cod wireless station here.


Yet another connection between America and Ireland. Finding such links is fast becoming my hobby!

Cindy Thomson is the author of Celtic Wisdom and Brigid of Ireland. She enjoys exploring Irish history, especially the Early Christian period. She has written numerous articles on Irish genealogy. Visit her blog Celtic Voices and her web site where you can sign up for her monthly newsletter.

Author: Cindy

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  1. This first photo is known as The Granny Rock, I dont know why. It really has no connection to the plaque as it has been standing there for generations. A memorial was erected beside it to commerate Marconi in 1973 consisting of stone tables along with the plaque but the tables have since been removed leaving only the plaque.

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    • It’s called the Granny Rock because when you view it from a certain angle it resembles an old lady.

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