The 80th anniversary of D-Day, the start of the Allied invasion of Europe, are being marked by special ceremonies in Blacksod on the Erris Peninsula today.

In early June 1944 Maureen Flavin Sweeney played a crucial role in the successful Normandy landings which paved the way for the subsequent liberation of western Europe.

Maureen, then 21, provided the weather report from Blacksod, which helped sway the  decision of the US to postpone the invasion from June 5 to June 6.

 On June 4 1944 Maureen provided a weather report that is credited with changing the course of history.

A native of Co. Kerry, Maureen married lighthouse keeper Ted Sweeney.

Her weather report submitted on June 4, 1944 was enough to convince planners that the D-Day invasion be postponed by 24 hours.

Maureen’s  report, which predicted bad weather,  was  forwarded from the Irish Met Service to the Allied headquarters in southern England. This led to the rescheduling of the landings.

Historians assert that this weather forecast significantly contributed to the success of the mammoth D-Day operation, the largest seaborne military invasion in history.

Some years ago, Maureen, who passed away last December aged 100, was honoured by the U.S. House of Representatives for her small but hugely significant part in World War Two.

 She is celebrated as “the woman who saved D-Day”.

Today’s day long events began at dawn with a remembrance ceremony.Weather permitting there will be an aircraft flyover later and special guest speakers have been booked

Throughout the day, exhibits will be open to the public, showcasing the roles of Met Éireann, An Post, and the Defence Forces during the war.

These exhibits, enhanced with materials related to the D-Day weather forecast, will offer insights into Maureen Sweeney’s life.

 Highlights include displays from Met Éireann, An Post, Military Archives, Irish Lights, and movie props from Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster, “Saving Private Ryan.”

The local Erris community are turning out in force for the ceremonies which will continue into the evening.

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