Sunday, September 14, 2008

Capel Island

A drive down through Ballymacoda and basically keep going until you see signs for a Dominican camp(?) The road descends sharply to Knocknadoon Head pier, which doesn't appear to serve any village. Capel Island lies just off the headland.
Built in the 1840s, this would probably have looked like Ballycotton (see entry above) had it been completed. The island is now run by Birdwatch Ireland.
A stump. That’s all there is. No more.
A nippled breast that rises
From the fathomless domains,
While loud gulls in many sizes
Skim like paper aeroplanes.
A stump. That’s all there is. From shore,
She bears her breastbone proudly,
Unabashed and unashamed,
While around her, waves crash loudly
As the sky becomes inflamed.
A stump.
That’s all there is.
No more.


  1. Hi Pete,I just came across this in a google search for ballymacoda.

    I am from the area and as far as I am aware, the light house was in operation for a number of years but was abandoned due to the lighting patern created by this one, ballycotton, youghal and ardmore lighthouses being very similar to a series of lighthouses up the wexford coast and hence mairiners of old were running aground due to them thinking they were some where where they were not!
    I wil double check this and get back.

  2. Hi Eoin, many thanks for that. Its all good information. I did come across another source - - that suggests that the lighthouse was never completed. I think it would have made a very impressive light, like Ballycotton.

  3. hi i happen to live in ballymacoda the island was also used as lookout for the army during the emergency i know this as my grandfather
    and local was stationed here it's a very interesting piece of land

  4. The Lighthouse was never lit. It was near completion when they decided that it would be dangerous and put one in Ballycotton instead. I had originally thought that it had been completed but listening to the comissioner of lights on Newstalk recently said that it was half completed. It looks more than half. Read up on this years ago in a book whose name I have long since forgotten.

  5. Many thanks for that. I too had thought it was never lit!