One of two Blackrock Lighthouses (the other is in county Mayo) this is a very photogenic light (as are all of them in Sligo Bay) situated off the end of Rosses Point. Basically just keep heading west until you hit the sea. There are good views of it from the land, although probably best not to go in the evening or you’ll only get a silhouette. Certainly the pictures I got this time were far clearer than the last time I was here with my old camera.
Blackrock Lighthouse started out life as a day beacon in the 1700s. Not a very successful one apparently, as they kept getting washed away. In 1819 another solid, 36 feet tall, limestone beacon was built by a local Ballina builder called Thomas Hamm. The original idea was that Thmas Kirke’s Metal Man would stand on top of the beacon but in 1821 it was decided to locate the Metal Man on Perch Rock between Rosses Point and Oyster Island.
After a lot of throat clearing from Blackrock, it was decided to make Blackrock into a proper lighthouse. Another 47 feet stone tower was added to the solid 36 feet beacon already there and it was painted white. This came to fruition in 1835. It looks very impressive but the fact that the bottom is solid means that access is by a stairway running up the outside of the tower, which can’t be very pleasant in gale force winds, even on the lee side.
From 1863, the lighthouse had two panniers on the outside to increase living space but these were disposed of in the 1970s. It also acquired a black horizontal band just above the join of the two towers.