Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tuskar Lighthouse Relief Cottages (1)

The only lighthouse I haven't photographed on the east coast of Ireland is Tuskar Rock, off the south east corner (though several will have to be re-visited) So yesterday, I betook myself down to Rosslare to rectify this situation.

 Tuskar Rock lighthouse, which marks an area of Irish coastline that has probably claimed more ships than any other, was built in 1815. Its construction was unusual in Irish lighthouse history, as there was a certain amount of tragedy involved - ten workmen got swept to their deaths in a storm and an eleventh fell from the tower and was killed. To compound the tragedy, the Ballast Board's compensation to the widows and dependants was derisory to say the least.

 Anyway, the lighthouse was built in 1815 and keepers' cottages - four in a row, were built on the seafront overlooking St. Helen's Pier (see below) from where they actually had a view of the light (bottom picture - click on it to enlarge!) The cottages were for the families and the keepers when they were on their 'off' weeks. With Rosslare nowhere near the major port it is now, the relieving boats came in and out of St. Helen's pier.

 However in 1834, the keepers' houses here were sold due to "the disgraceful attitude of the keepers while ashore" and the families were moved to the Rock itself. It's not difficult to find the cottages - in the village of Kilrane on the main road, turn right (when heading towards Rosslare) down the road marked for St. Helens Golf Club. Follow the road around - do not go into the Golf Club itself but keep going further. When you hit the coast, the pier is on your right, the cottages on your left. Unfortunately, they are fronted by a high wall, which makes photography rather difficult!

I'd love to know what the 'disgraceful attitude' of the keepers was!

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