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Best Of Belfast: Northern Ireland's #1 Interview Podcast

Nov 30, 2020

Lillian Bland was the first women in the world to design, build and fly her own airplane.


She was also a sports journalist, photographer, investor, gambler, smoker, mechanic, hunter, markswomen, the owner of Belfast’s first Ford Dealership and the first woman in Northern Ireland to apply for a jockey’s license.


Living at Tobercorran House in Carnmoney near Glengormley, her curious, defiant free-spirit shattered the societal norms of women living in Presbyterian Ulster during the 1900s.


But despite all her achievements and quirks, very few people in Northern Ireland today even knows the name Lillian Bland, never mind the inspiring details of her story.


In today’s episode, we set out on another journey through the pages of local history to find out more about this incredible woman, and the streets she once called home.


Check it out.


This episode is part of The Streets Where They Lived: a new documentary collaboration between Successful Belfast, Belfast Buildings Trust, and Best of Belfast. The Streets Where They Lived will feature the stories of six incredible but sometimes overlooked men and women from Belfast and some of the buildings and places in the City with which they’re connected.


The project is a collaboration with Successful Belfast, a project of Belfast Buildings Trust. It is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Belfast Buildings Trust is a charity founded in 1996 to regenerate Belfast’s landmark buildings. The Trust works to ensure that the City’s authentic heritage is made relevant for people today. One of its projects is Successful Belfast, which champions new and creative ways of involving people in Belfast’s future development.  


The beautiful song played at the end of the episode is from musician Fionnuala Fagan. You can discover more of her work here.



To see a 'treasure trove' of all things related to Lilian (including a photo) please visit


Best Of Belfast is Northern Ireland's #1 Interview Podcast. We've shared 100+ hour-long conversations with incredible people from Northern Ireland.


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— Matt