Monday, September 14, 2009

South Rock Superbuoy

This is the same lighthouse that I was puzzling over here

At the time, I was puzzling over what it was, as there was no mention of it in Trabas. I think I may have found the answer. From CIL "Monday, March 2 2009
The South Rock Lightfloat was permanently withdrawn from station and replaced by a port-hand lateral superbuoy on Wednesday 25 February 2009.A lightship was first established at the South Rock on the 1st April 1877, replacing the lighthouse which had been established in 1797. The lightship was automated and redesignated as a lightfloat, and the crew was withdrawn on 31 March 1982. The South Rock Lightfloat is the last lightfloat in the Service. "

And from "The small red ship on the horizon about 3 miles East of Cloughey is to be withdrawn at end of February 2009. It will be replaced by a 'superbuoy' which will not have a fog horn, so the familiar wailing sound heard in the middle of the night will be a thing of the past."

Monday, August 31, 2009

Lightship Petrel

And so to the lightship Petrel. I didn't think I'd find this, as directions were pretty vague but it rather fell into our laps. Go into Balloo on the A22. At the Saintfield crossroads take the road signposted Whiterock. Go through Killinchy and when yo get to Whiterock, there is a sudden bend to the left. Keep following this road, ignoring a road that leads right across a causeway, and after about 3/4 mile, the lightship is on your right.
Built around 1915, decommissioned in 1968, it has been the headquarters of the Down Cruising Club since 1969. Delighted to find a lightship that has been put to some use.


And so, up the coast to this very picturesque lighthouse standing smartly to attention at the end of the pier in Donaghadee. Originally erected in 1836, it was designed by the men who built the Eddystone Lighthouse off Plymouth, though substantially repaired when gutted by fire in 1900. Brendan Behan apparently painted this lighthouse, though I suspect more in a fine art way than a decorating way.
Incidentally, approaching Donaghadee from the south, I kept glimpsing what I assumed was the lighthouse at Mews Island, north east of Donaghadee. Ah, says I, I'll get a better view of it the further up the coast I go. Unfortunately between Donaghadee and the outskirts of Bangor there was no sea view at all. If I'd had time, I'd have detoured off to Groomsport where I believe it might have been possible to get a decent view, but the shops of Newry, like Danny Boy's pipes, were calling.

Near South Rock

The other object sticking up above the horizon from Cloghey is this mystery object. No mention of it in Trabas, it appears to be sitting on a rock directly east of Cloghey, maybe 2 miles out to sea, possibly less. If it isn't a light, I've no idea what it is.

South Rock (Kilwarlin) Lighthouse

Driving north from Portaferry on the A2, after about 5 miles, you finally hit the sea at Cloughey, Cloghy, Cloughy or Cloghey and lo and behold, gazing out onto the still waters, there are two objects sticking up above the horizon.
This is the more southerly of the two, the famous South Rock or Kilwarlin Lighthouse. Built by Thomas Rogers in 1797, it is the oldest waveswept lighthouse in Ireland and possibly in the world. It was replaced by the South Rock lightship in 1877.

Swan Rock (again)

Better photos than the last time - - this little pepperpot light is situated on an island just off Strangford and very close to the route of the ferry that plies its 8 minute journey between Strangford and Portaferry on the Ards peninsular.

The Narrows, Strangford

Okay, okay! At first I thought this had to be a lighthouse, even though I could find no reference to it. I mean, what else could it be?
From Wikipedia - "SeaGen is the name given to the 1.2MW tidal energy convertor that was installed in Strangford Lough in April 2008"

Salt Rock

See entry for Gowlands Rock -
Below, the finishing line...
Strangford was named by the Vikings - strang fjord - to describe the extremely strong currents that are forced up the narrow channel.

Gowlands Rock

Again, I pose the question - what constitutes a lighthouse? This looks more like a lighthouse than many others, yet apparently it is merely a light. Possibly because the tower has no room, house, shed attached?
On the short 2 mile drive from Kilclief to Strangford, the lighthouses on Salt Rock and Gowlands Rock suddenly appear. This one, Gowlands Rock is on the far, Ards peninsular side, while the red Salt Rock lighthouse is on the near side. They sort of form a finishing line for sailors

Angus Rock Subsidiary Lights

Right! When viewing the Angus Rock light from Kilclief, there appears to be two further lights on either side. Neither are listed in Trabas' Online List of Irish Lights, which is strange. This one above appears to be located on the most southerly point of Angus Rock itself...

...while this baby looks to be sitting in the water off the northerly end of Angus Rock. I can find absolutely nothing about them but this one in particular looks like more of a lighthouse than some others I could mention - Muglins, Arklow Roadstone Pier etc

Angus Rock

On the drive north from Ardglass to Strangford, you come across the little village of Kilclief, nestling on the shores of what is the entrance to Strangford Lough. The road passes a little car parking space which is ideal for viewing this lighthouse which, to me, looks like a snowman with a red hat looking right. According to the Lighthouse Bible, the tower was built as a daymark probably in the nineteenth century but the solar powered light was installed only in 1983.

Ardglass Pier

According to Hansard, this lighthouse only became operational in 1887, nearly 50 years after the original blew down in a storm! Very much your archetypal lighthouse, with a nice maroon door and guard rail, it is however showing some signs of rusting. Located at the end of the North pier, the whole area seemed spookily deserted when we drove up, save for the squadron of seagulls dive-bombing the harbour.

Haulbowline Range Rear

The Haulbowline Range Front and Rear are almost identical twins. Doubtless their mother could tell the difference but for us, one has the orange vee pointing up and the other has it pointing down. I would have thought green, white and orange was a strange colour scheme to have in the North of Ireland. These photos taken from the beach at the end of Fair Road, described in the Haulbowline entry. Note county Louth behind.
Not only are the lighthouses almost identical but the blog entries practically are too. The photo above shows the 2 lighthouses in relation to one another in Carlingford Lough

Haulbowline Range Front

The Haulbowline Range Front and Rear are almost identical twins. Doubtless their mother could tell the difference but for us, one has the orange vee pointing up and the other has it pointing down. I would have thought green, white and orange was a strange colour scheme to have in the North of Ireland. These photos taken from the beach at the end of Fair Road, described in the Haulbowline entry. Note county Louth behind.

Haulbowline (again)

This is another picture to complement the one taken last year on

This picture was taken at the end of Fair Road. Driving from Warrenpoint heading east-ish on the A2, take the right turn signposted for Greencastle. Wind through the countryside for a couple of miles until you come to a few houses and a staggered junction. Turn right (signposted Greencastle) and then 100 yards on, branch left (road marked Fair Road) Where the road hits the beach, all 3 Haulbowline lighthouses are visible.
(A closer view is availabe from Cranfield Point - this can be reached by taking the next right turn off the A2. The photo above only seems larger because it was taken on my camcorder which has greater magnification)

This is quite a striking lighthouse, sitting as it does just offshore where Carlingford Lough starts to narrow. Built in 1824, it was the first Irish offshore light to be automated. Appears to be just in Northern Ireland rather than the Republic.

Newry River Range Front

From the location described in the Rear light post, the front light is also visible, if slightly further away. It is located further down towards Carlingford Lough and, like the rear light, is very evocative of the round towers favoured by Irish monks of yesteryear. Appears to be smaller than the rear light but that may be an optical illusion!

Newry River Range Rear

Last year, I did a blitz on the lighthouses of South Down. Unfortunately, my primary research wasn't up to much as I simply followed the lighthouse symbols on my road atlas of Ireland. Consequently, there were many that I missed, so in order to rectify things, I did blitz number 2, with Monica in the passenger seat. The deal was that I get her back to Newry in time to do some retail therapy.
So, first port of call, the Newry River. Follow the A2 from Newry and just as you come into Warrenpoint, there's a roundabout with a run off area quite large enough to park and the two Newry lights are right in front of you.
This one is Date Unknown, an unpainted stone tower, sitting on the far bank. I think it might be in the Republic, but I could be wrong!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Oyster Island co Sligo

This is actually the first lighthouse that you see when coming into Rosses Point but probably viewed best from the coastal path at the head of Rosses Point, from where the Metal Man is best seen. To me, it looks remarkably similar to the Baily Lighthouse in Howth.
Erected in 1821, the same year as the Metal Man, the lights in both lighthouses were changed from gas-powered to solar in 2003.
A brilliant description of life in Oyster Island lighthouse in the 1930s can be found on the Commissioner for Irish Lights website at

Metal Man Light co Sligo

Located in the narrow waters between the mainland and Oyster Island off Rosses Point, the nearest view to the Metal Man Light is probably gained from walking down the coastal pathway for 100 yards. The cast iron sailor warns ships away from the rocks - the light is beside him.
Erected in 1821, the Metal Man has an identical twin that stands guard on the south coast of Tramore Bay in county Waterford. However, his Waterford sibling is on land and stands atop a much taller pillar.

Blackrock Lighthouse co. Sligo

Above is an old picture of the Blackrock Light. The little external rooms at the top of the staircase were added in the 1870s to give extra accommodation but were removed in the 1970s.
May Bank Holiday weekend and, a bit poemed out, we decided to take a break from the Strokestown International Poetry Competition, and travel up to Rosses Point in county Sligo. Following the road in to the long drawn out village, we eventually reached the headland where we had three lighthouses in view at the same time.
I was sorry I didn't have my camcorder with me as it has a greater zoom than my camera. Therefore these pictures of Blackrock Light (not to be confused with Blackrock Light in Mayo) are a bit far away.

Located on a rocky islet, a light was placed on here in the late 1700s but was washed away in a storm. The lighthouse is white with a black band and access is gained by a red spiral staircase which reaches halfway up the outside.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Arklow Roadstone Jetty Lighthouse

Couldn't find this on my flying visit to Arklow last year but succeeded this time!
Heading south, go over the main bridge in Arklow and immediately turn left. Follow the quay road towards the sea, passing the Lightship Skua on the other side of the river. When you reach the small harbour, go around two sides of it. You will then see a signpost for South Beach. Follow the road around, heading south as far as it will go.
At the entrance to the Roadstone works, the narrow road to the left will lead you around to some rocks on the outside of the perimeter fence. A short walk from there will lead you to around 100 yards of the light.
Alternatively and quite illegally, we simply drove through the site unchallenged until we reached the jetty!
The light is situated on top of a corrugated iron building, seemingly at the end of a conveyor belt. It is a red light and has a range of nine miles.
If all lighthouses were as unprepossessing as this, I probably wouldn't have any interest in them. But you don't stop loving one of your children just because he's ugly...