Wednesday, August 20, 2014
This time, my intrepid brother-in-law Aido managed to get a much better photo from the same ferry! The original light here was a brazier atop a cottage on the top of the hill (where the bungalow below the Summit car park now stands) The second light was a proper tower built on the same site but proved to be too high. Finally they got it right in 1814! This iconic light is actually difficult to photograph from the mainland, as the compound gate and the contour of the land conspire against you
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Tuskar Rock lighthouses is one of the great Irish lighthouses. The oldest Rock lighthouse on our coasts that is still in active service (South Rock off the coast of county Down is older but is long derelict) Tuskar has guarded the treacherous shoals and submerged rocks off the south east coast of Ireland since 1815. The area itself is where the Atlantic Ocean sweeps up the Irish Sea and can be subject to ferocious seas, such as the one that swept away the workmen's huts when the light was under construction, killing ten of them instantly. The remaining fourteen clung grimly to the rocks for 48 hours until rescued.
Harbour Thrills, a Wexford based company. They mention the Tuskar in their introductory blurb but don't specifically go there on their regular trips. Presumably you need to arrange with the captain and bring the numbers yourself.
It must have been the morning sun though because the photos again were quite hazy. The sea was light gey, the sky was light grey and the lighthouse is white, so they didn't come out great. Fortunately on the return, the contrast appeared a bit sharper! Sun would have been nice but it only poked its head out of the blanket of cloud when we were practically docked.
The light was first exhibited on 4th June 1815 and in foggy weather a bell was tolled every half minute. The tower was and still is painted white. The two keepers committed the ultimate lighthouse sin in 1821 when they failed to light the optic one night. With bad luck (or possibly good luck, whichever way you look it) the King of England happened to be sailing past and complained to the lighthouse board that the light wasn't showing. A subsequent investigation showed that the two men on duty had promised to guard a consignment of smuggled brandy for a local boatman and had helped themselves too liberally to their charge! Both men were downgraded as a result!
Tuskar was the third lighthouse on the coast to the converted to electric, the previous two were Donaghadee in 1934 and Chain Tower (Larne) in 1935. It was the first Irish off-shore lighthouse to be electrified. During wartime small rocks like Tuskar were very vulnerable to drifting mines which had parted from their moorings. One of these mines exploded when it struck the rock on 2nd December 1941 injuring two assistant keepers, W. J. Cahill and P. Scanlan. Both were brought ashore by the Rosslare lifeboat but unfortunately Patrick Scalan died in hospital the next day.
The shallows and barely submerged rocks are quite treacherous off Rosslare. Coming out of Rosslare, two parallel rows of red and green buoys mark the route past the Tuskar Light that the large ferries need to follow, whether heading east across to Wales or south to France.
The one marker I was hoping to find was Splaugh ATON (Aid to Navigation) which is a new addition to the CIL charts. I quote -
The Splaugh Buoy (@IrishLightsBuoy) is a Type 2 Port Laternal Marker (the second buoy type in the Commissioners of Irish Lights inventory) which has been deployed off the coast near Rosslare. The buoy is fitted with a variety of meteorological and oceanographic sensors which will be tweeting data automatically via the automatic identification system (AIS) , giving a unique insight into weather conditions in the area
CIL chart, it could be the laddo above, or maybe the buoyo in the bottom picture. Both the buoys have birds on them, so that might be where the tweeting is coming from. The point is, all the people who might have known were up front in the luxury control room. I tried asking the girl who was filling up the chip pan in the cafeteria but she looked at me blankly.
Apparently the first light on the pier here was established in 1886 but I have been able to find no mention of it. More to the point, nor has Leo Coy, who is very much the Rosslare Harbour expert. Maybe it was just a lantern on a pole?
This lighthouse was constructed when the new pier was built around 1906 ish to facilitate the larger ferries crossing to the South Wales coast and later to France. Unfortunately, the only way to get close up shots of this lighthouse is to take one of the ferries. I chose the Rosslore to Fishguard (Wales) day trip - which costs €5 on a Tuesday!
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
previous post, the lightkeepers' families continued to live on the rock from 1834. Due to the cramped nature of the accommodation available, the Ballast Board endeavoured to only post unmarried or childless keepers to Tuskar. The dwellings were expanded in 1856, 1857 and 1875 and eventually shore accommodation was built overlooking Rosslare harbour in 1886.