Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Poer Head Fog Signal Station

Poer Head (also called and pronounced Power Head) lies about four miles east south east of Roches Point, although the name does not appear on my sat nav. Therefore I used the coordinates 51°45.595'N, 008°06.679'W and was somewhat taken aback to find that a T-Junction was my 'destination'. However, a quick call to a nearby house advised me to take the road to the right, skirt the locked gate and follow the cliff path 'for ten minutes' to reach the Head.
Well, it was one windy day! The beach at Inch was deserted and the grey seas smashed into it in a particularly uninviting fashion. After about 15 minutes I came to the small compound at the end of the headland.
Poer Head was unique among Irish Lights stations as it was the only one that didn't include a light.It operated from 1879 to 1970 as a fog signal station. Built under the direction of the celebrated William Douglass, it started out life as steam siren and ended up as a combination of Ruston engine and Atlas Copco compressor, whatever that is. It was then transferred to the Old Head of Kinsale.
Approaching down the cliff path, I at first thought that the outhouse in the bottom two pictures was the old fog station, as it bore a resemblance to the Barr Point Fog Signal Station. However, a notice to Cork County Council on the gate looking for planning permission made me re-think, and I eventually figured it out.
There were two semi-detached houses from the 1870s (the white house in the photo above) which must have been the keeper's cottages. There was a large house from the 1950s - the other large house with the single double chimney, with a wooden free-standing building behind (to be converted into a granny flat)
And finally, the old fog signal station itself from the 1870s, to be converted into holiday accommodation. (the first four photos on the page) Not being technically minded , I have no idea what the two large orange tanks beside the building are (oil tanks?) I also presume, but don't know for certain, that the triangular structure on the roof (pictures 2 - 4) is where the signal was emitted from.
In 2012 we holidayed in the summer on the lovely Sheeps Head peninsular and I expressed an opinion that I could easily live there. Ah, said my wife, but wait till you see it in the winter. I was reminded of her words visiting Poer Head, imagining myself trapped in the ex-fog signal station cum holiday apartment by a storm force wind.

I doubt very much that you could build a holiday apartment out of this bunker!


  1. As always another great series. Always enjoy your posts. Cheers.

  2. And, as always, I appreciate your comments, Neal!

  3. I just came across your post on here by happenstance. Some years ago (c2001) I visited Pwr Head with a view to buying and restoring it. I was totally besotted by the place. Eventually, I saw the light and realised that having three active children running about close to such high cliffs would have been a mistake. I'll always remember it though and wonder what might have been.

  4. Hi Chris, yes, it has a kind of magic to it and a beautiful, small sandy beach nearby (which, even in the biting wind and grey skies looked quite inviting!) but I think you're right. You couldn't let active kids out there with any degree of certainty that they wouldn't try to push the boundaries!