From Grianan Road in Buncrana (see previous post) it was but a short drive to the pier, where the ferry was just arriving and there stood the new very colourful Buncrana Pier Light, one of the three main lights on Lough Swilly (the others being Fanad and Dunree) It is located on the pier with plenty of parking nearby.
The tower itself was erected in 2009. It feels like fibreglass and stands 28 feet high. The light flashes white or red (depending if you're in safe or dangerous water!) every 4 seconds (two seconds on, two seconds off)
The light is situated next to the slipway from where the Lough Swilly ferry moors to pick up and let off cars. The slipway was, as everybody in Ireland will remember, the scene of a terrible tragedy one evening in March this year, where a car, attempting to do a three point turn on the slipway to return home, got into trouble on slippery algae and entered the water. Five members of one family were drowned. A baby was rescued. Flowers on the quay wall (see photo above) are a reminder - if any is needed - of the tragedy. The slipway now appears to be closed by a gate when not in use.
Because my next point of call was Fanad and because the ferry was ready to go, I decided to pay the €17 for me and my car to cross to Rathmullen. It would save me the long drive down to Letterkenny and back up again and give me a break from driving and a chance to eat my sandwiches while not losing any time. The ferry held about seven cars and you have to reverse onto it and then drive off at the other end. The slipway is steep enough in Buncrana and I could well see how a car might get into trouble if slippery underfoot.