Sunday, June 15, 2014

Annalong

 I was intrigued by an entry in the Lighthouse Directory for Annalong and I quote:
"Date unknown. Inactive for many years. Approx. 5 m (17 ft) round stone tower, painted white. Eric Jones has a photo, but the tiny tower has not been found in Bing's satellite view of the town. Jones writes that "In the old days a light used to be placed in the pepper-pot style white tower to assist ships wishing to enter the harbour." Located on the south side of the Annalong River in Annalong. Site and tower closed (private property), but the light can be seen from nearby."
 Annalong looks to be a nice modern village on the shores of the Irish Sea, slightly tarnished (to southern eyes!) by the abundance of Union Jacks and kerbstones painted red, white and blue, which many of us in the Republic find a bit intimidating but is really only an expression of pride in their nationality up here. A turn on the main road, signposted to Harbour (on the north side of the church) brings you down to the lovely old-fashioned harbour.
 The top photo shows a view of the harbour with the strange lighthouse up on an elevation behind it. The house can be half seen from a number of locations in the vicinity but in the end, I took the bull by the horns and knocked on the door of the house in whose garden it was.
 A man answered and he was very helpful, telling me to go ahead and snap away. He told me the light was 300 years old and was built when the harbour was built. It was a leading light and there had been another one at the mouth of the harbour. Boats would line the two lights up to access the narrow entrance of the harbour.
 He pointed out the very significant lean on the lighthouse and pointed out where the holes for the lights (oil lamps, he said) had been plastered over in the past. He also said that when they had come to build the extension on their house, they had been amazed at the extent of the foundations of the lighthouse! The building was a Grade 2 listed building, which meant they couldn't even give it a lick of paint.
I later found that Annalong Harbour was built around 1820, which would put this most unusual and unique lighthouse at an age of nearer 200 years, than 300. But it still is a most remarkable edifice.
 Below and above, the new light at the end of a pier outside Annalong Harbour itself.

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