Monday, May 12, 2014

Old Head of Kinsale (5)

And so to the Old Head of Kinsale. I'm figuring that this is the 5th light on this headland. The first was an ancient fire that some say was used to lure ships to their doom so the locals could get the wreckage. In 1665, a cottage style lighthouse with a brazier on the roof was built. In 1804, a six foot temporary lighthouse was constructed to replace the brazier. In 1814, a new tower was erected which unfortunately was frequently obscured by fog. And so, in 1853 the new lighthouse was built. It was originally white with two red bands - this changed in 1830 to the current black with two white stripes (or, presumably, white with three black stripes!)
The lighthouse here is usually blocked off to the public by the Golf Course here but once a year the Old Signal Head Tower Restoration Fund hold an open day. The one last year, which I missed, was apparently a huge success. This year I arrived at about 10.30 and there were very few people there. This could have had something to do with the weather which, despite the photographs, was very windy (Force 6, gusting to Force 8) and showery. However, in my opinion, this only augmented the whole lighthouse experience.
We ascended the 124 steps to the top and ventured out onto the platform. I'd read about Antarctic adventurers battling gale force winds, but never really appreciated it until now. Even walking was difficult. The seas around the headland were quite dramatic too.
The history and the technical stuff can be found at the CIL page here. The inside of the tower, incidentally, has been painted royal blue.

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