Thursday, May 21, 2015

Calf Rock / Bull Rock Shore Dwellings

There was certainly something fishy about the construction of the dwellings for the lightkeepers of Calf Rock when they were constructed back in the early 1860s. The land was acquired for £181. George Halpin's original estimate for the construction of the shore dwellings was £2,000, an amount considered to be ridiculously expensive. Yet when the contractor Henry Grissell put in a tender of £6,151 for the shore dwellings, it was accepted without question!

The accommodation, built on the mainland on the southern entrance to the Dursey Sound, was in view of the Calf Rock Lighthouse at the other end of the island.It consisted of a double house, two smaller units and an end section which was reputed to be haunted. The end section was reserved for visiting workmen.

In 1939, the families were moved to a more convenient location in Castletownbere, as the old accommodation was so remote that provisions and schooling were a big problem. Eventually the dwellings were sold in 1946 for a miserly £260, mainly for the slates on the roof. In 1994, the dwellings were purchased by a Swiss/German couple who did the houses up. They are now owned by another German family.

The house is easy to locate. It is the next house southwards of the excellent Windy Point Bed and Breakfast accommodation just above the cable car.

Above, the tiny pier on the mainland - between the shore dwellings and the cable car - which was used to ferry animals and provisions to and from the island prior to the cable car's introduction in 1969. It also served as the embarkation and disembarkation points for the keepers going on or coming from shore leave.

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