Friday, November 21, 2008

Fanad Head

Continue past the turn off for Portsalon, following the signs for Cionn na Fhanada. At the T-junction, turn right and the lighthouse will come into view after about 3kms. A most photogenic lighthouse, whether from near or far.
The lighthouse itself dates from 1886, though there was a station there since 1817.

See also 2016 visit

Dunree Head

Didn't manage to get to this lighthouse which is on the west coast of the Inishowen peninsular. Had to content myself with a photo from Portsalon on the east coast of the Fanad peninsular. Not a great photo but it was a very gloomy late November afternoon.
Built 1876.

See 2016 visit here

Moville Lighthouse

Arrived in Moville, armed with a description that the lighthouse was 1/3 mile off shore.
Took the short side street down to the Lough and you can't miss it, dead ahead of you and it doesn't seem like 1/3 mile anyway.
Built in 1882, this is the largest of a series of pile lighthouses built at the end of the 19th Century. The keepers lived in town but spent the night in the watch room. Together with the Cobh Harbour lighthouse, there are only 3 of these left in the country.

See also 2016 visit

Warren Point Lighthouse

A few miles south of the Inishowen Head lighthouse is Warren Point. In order to access it, you need to drive into the Greencastle Golf Club, park in the car park, walk past the first tee, across a fairway and down to Lough Foyle. Station established in 1861.

See also 2016 visit

Inishowen Head

Spending three days in Letterkenny in November. On one of the days we did the Inishowen peninsular and there are three lighthouses in about five miles up on the northern end of the R241.
The most northerly is Inishowen Head - turn right in Shroove and the road winds right past it. Built in 1837 it was actually one of a pair, the other being demolished in 1961.
My wife doesn't like either photo as they don't include the sea!

Note - the second light was not demolished See here

See also visit to Inishowen Light in 2016

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Lightship Kittiwake, Dublin

I had been informed that the Lightship Kittiwake (or the Automated Lightfloat - ALF - Kittiwake had been moored at Pigeon House Harbour - Dublin docklands (see previously) After wandering around the South side of the Liffey for hours, asking people where Pigeon House Harbour was, I gave up.
Eventually Simon Coate of the Dun Laoghaire Port Authority was able to tell me that it is actually moored alongside the Point Depot - soon to be the O2 Village - on the north bank of the Liffey

These pictures were taken around 07:45 on the October Bank Holiday morning with the sun just rising up over Dublin Bay.

Built of steel in 1959, it was converted to an ALF in 1981. It was previously moored in Dun Laoghaire harbour (2002) It was decommissioned in 2007 and now is up for sale "as is" price on application!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Arranmore Island

Bikes and taxis are available to hire on the pier, say the guide books. Not in September, they're not. So began the long hike from the pier to the lighthouse on the far side of the island. You go up and up and up. And up and up. And then, for the last mile, down. Its about four miles there, a lonely walk but spectacular views of the bay and at least its all on tarmac.
Although a station was established here in the eighteenth century, it was demolished when Tory Lighthouse opened. However, the current light was erected in 1865 after protests from the islanders.
On the way back, for the first time in 30 years, I hitched a lift from a passing truck!

Tory Island

On my trek across Arranmore Island (see a previous post), I could see a light blinking, far to the north, past Bloody Foreland. This is the light on Tory Island, although the island itself was not visible.
Indeed, for the first fifteen minutes of the 50 minute boat crossing from Magheroarty, the island was still not visible, though it was obvious we were heading for the light. Traveller beware! The boat crossing was one of the stormiest I have experienced, particularly the nearer you get to the island. Worse still, it cost 26 euro.
There is a tarmac track from the pier in West Town (approx 30 houses, and much bigger than the 10 houses in East Town) out to the lighthouse. In retrospect it seems amazing that I managed to miss it. The main road towards the west actually changes into a grass track which I soon found, ends in a bog. It was only by picking my way very carefully out of this, at the expense of soaked feet, that I discovered the tarmac track!
The distance, despite other sources, from the ferry to the light is about one mile, not the 2.5 miles I had been bracing myself for. Located on the western tip of the island, the lighthouse was erected in 1832.
Below, the light on West Town pier.

See also 2016 post here

The Sound of Aran

The sea route out of Burtonport, whether by the Arranmore ferry or on fishing boats, is fraught with dangerous shoals and reefs and a very definite route must be followed. Here, although not strictly lighthouses, are some of the many lights that mark the route.

Ballagh Rocks

Located in the Sound of Aran, easily viewable from the boat that regularly plies its trade between Burtonport and Leagbarrow on Aranmore Island. A comparatively new lighthouse, built in 1982. There are great views from the top of Arranmore Island of the light and the surrounding bay.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Spit Bank, Cork Harbour

I tried locating this lighthouse from Whitegate on the eastern bank of Cork Harbour but it isn't visible. Best seen by driving through Cobh until almost at the end of the town and then driving down a cul de sac along the front.
Doesn't really look much, but the Lighthouse Directory waxes lyrical about it. It is apparently "exceptionally rare and historic" being one of only three survivors of Alexander Mitchell's "screwpile lighthouse" design. Built in 1853, it marks a mud bank in the harbour, see pale water below.

Roches Point

You'd think one of Ireland's most famous lighthouses - it is mentioned regularly on weather reports - would be signposted! Forget it. From Whitegate continue south and then take the turn right where Trabolgan has its entrance. Miss the turn and you end up in Gyleen.

Aside from the lighthouse and outbuildings, guarded by a red CIL gate, Roche's Point is home to a line of very picturesque brightly painted terraced houses all facing inland towards Cobh. "When the weather's good, the views are spectacular," a resident told me. "However, at the moment, you can't even see Cobh - its utterly ridiculous. Still, at least the foghorn isn't blaring!"

Built in 1835, this originally housed Duncannon North Light (see elsewhere), which dated from 1817. Stands as a sentinel on the eastern entrance to Cork Harbour.


Comparatively easy to find, lying as it does on an island off Ballycotton harbour, from where the first two pictures are taken. Actually it is on the second island out (see below) The bottom picture was taken from the north shore of Ballycotton Bay. Built in 1851, this lighthouse is completely black, save for a red galley rail and a small white hoop just above it. I love the path scored on the island's northern face like the mark of Zorro!

Capel Island

A drive down through Ballymacoda and basically keep going until you see signs for a Dominican camp(?) The road descends sharply to Knocknadoon Head pier, which doesn't appear to serve any village. Capel Island lies just off the headland.
Built in the 1840s, this would probably have looked like Ballycotton (see entry above) had it been completed. The island is now run by Birdwatch Ireland.
A stump. That’s all there is. No more.
A nippled breast that rises
From the fathomless domains,
While loud gulls in many sizes
Skim like paper aeroplanes.
A stump. That’s all there is. From shore,
She bears her breastbone proudly,
Unabashed and unashamed,
While around her, waves crash loudly
As the sky becomes inflamed.
A stump.
That’s all there is.
No more.


Marking the easternmost point of the county Cork shoreline, Youghal lighthouse is described as being accessible from the N25. It isn't. The N25 now skirts the town. You need to go into the town and simply follow the main road to the southern part of the town and sure enough, it is on the former main road.
Like Mine Head below, this was built by George Halpin, a year later in 1852. It commands a spectacular view (don't all lighthouses?) across the harbour to county Waterford.
See also post about the original lighthouse to stand on this spot here

No idea who is responsible for this sign. George Halpin was no relation of Robert Louis Stevenson's. In fact he was born well before Stevenson. Halpin had no hand nor part in the construction of Bell Rock lighthouse, though Robert Louis Stevenson's ancestor did!!

Mine Head

Off into the small but perfectly formed gaeltacht enclave in county Waterford to seek out Mine Head lighthouse (teachsolais?) Of course there are no signs and now the signs are in Irish! Great! Didn't actually find the road. I tried three different roads, all of which ended up in farms. This is the nearest I got!Built in 1851, it is apparently Ireland highest lighthouse, so my picture unfortunately does not do it justice.

Ballynacourty Point

A blitz of lighthouses in the west county Waterford / east county Cork area one September day with the weather gradually deteriorating. My slow progress along the coast indicative of the lack of signposting. Finding the lighthouses was more down to judging sense of direction as there is no help! This is Ballynacourty Point on the northern point of Dungarvan harbour. Found by taking the local road skirting the harbour until you can go no more, turn inland and at the T junction turn right up the road marked cul de sac. The lighthouses, along with the usual dire warnings, is located down a long skinny lane between holes 6 and 7 of the golf-course (Golfers have to cross this lane)

The lighthouse itself was built in 1858. The picture below was taken from An Rinn on the south shore of Dungarvan harbour.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Duncannon North

Set in what appears to be someone's garden about a half a mile north of Duncannon Fort Lighthouse (below), this is in fact the original lighthouse that stood in Roches Point in Cork! Built in 1817 it came to Wexford in 1838.
The lighthouse and cottages are located at the end of a short lane which is unfortunately locked by a gate. The two photos above are taken from the road to Arthurstown.
The photo below is taken from Duncannon Fort. Interestingly, the guide there told me that due to a big cock-up while dredging the estuary, the light has recently been put back in active service. Indeed, I noticed it flashing while I was there.