Monday, October 31, 2016

Inis Oirr

So, the 10am trip sailing from Doolin in county Clare to Inis Oirr, the smallest and nearest of the three Aran Islands. The sailing only takes about 30 minutes. The island is about 3 kilometers long and two kilometers wide. The ferry docks at the north point of the island, next to the white Caribbean beach, and the lighthouse is at the southern end. I decided to walk it, rather than taking the 45 minute guided tour of the island by horse and trap or van and trailer. I was glad I did because firstly, it was such a beautiful day and secondly, I'm not terribly sure that any of the tours go down to the lighthouse. I saw none when I was there anyway.

The island, though small, is a maze of small roads, and its important to choose the right one if your time is limited. Leaving the pier, take the road around the white beach and keep going until you reach the airport. Take a right up the hill. About 300 meters up the hill, there is a turn off to the right. This is the road you need to take. It brings you directly to the lighthouse.

Unfortunately, not being armed with a map, I went straight on up the road less travelled. A beautiful walk among the incredible stone-walled fields, take a well-marked path to the right after about 2 kilometers and the lighthouse comes into view, Sadly the track then leads onto a big expanse of shingle, which you have to negotiate for about 400 meters (don't wear high heels!) until you see ared gate. Head for this. It joins on to the road you should have taken at the top of the hill!

The gate is of course locked and the compound is not open to the public. Someone though has very thoughtfully built stepping stones into the wall next to the gate so you can look over the wall. Unfortunately, while doing this, I accidentally fell over the wall onto a pallet placed strategically on a small scaffold and then down onto another pallet  leaning up against the wall. Oh, well, I thought, picking myself up off the ground and dusting myself off. I'm here now, so I  might as well take a few photographs.

Inis Oirr (angl. Inisheer) light was first exhibited on the 1st December 1857. The first light on the Aran Islands was built on Inis Mor but, like many others around the coast, was found to become fogbound due to its high latitude. It was decided to replace it with a light at the north end of the chain of islands (Eeragh) and one at the south (Inis Oirr) The light showed a red sector over the dangerous Finnis Rock which is now marked by a Super Buoy.

The tower is 34 meters high and the light is the same distance above high water mark. The light characteristic is W (partially vis beyond 7M) 225°-231° (6°), W231°-245° (14°), R245°-269° (24°), W269°-115°. Which I hope makes more sense to you than it does to me.

The compound also contains two keepers' cottages. A couple of broken windows excepted, they both look in pretty good nick to me. The light became unwatched in 1978.


  1. Beautiful Pete. Great shots of a beautiful light.

  2. An-deas ar fad, Pete. Great piece. I'm from Inis Oírr myself.