Sunday, December 13, 2020

Rosslare Light, Ballygeary Pier


Sadly, I have no picture of the lighthouse at the end of the Ballygeary Pier in Rosslare, so I will brighten up the page by a gratuitous photo of the current, very pretty lighthouse (above), which is the third lighthouse in Rosslare. 
The first was at Rosslare Fort at the entrance to Wexford Harbour, long defunct, its circular foundations now lying under the sea.
In between, was the lighthouse at the end of the Ballygeary Pier, which has been stated as being established in 1881, as per the Notice to Mariners below. I have only begun to research this light recently and don't have all the facts but seemingly it was wooden, possibly similar to the East Twin Light up in Belfast. It obviously was pulled down when the current light was established.

I hope to write more about this light when I have more information (and anybody who can provide any, please get in touch!!) Suffice to say, that the pier was described as ill-fated. Built from The Point and extending 1000 feet out at a cost of £80,000, it was designed as providing a much shorter crossing from Ireland to southern parts of England. However, something happened to the railway line (it was described as 'disused' in 1892) and this hare-brained scheme fell through.
The reason for this post though is a rather wonderful letter, written by one Philip Kennedy, lightkeeper at Ballygeary Pier, in response to an article in the Wexford People on 19th April 1882, just six months after the green light was first exhibited.
The article says the Harbour Board discussed complaints by local mariners to the Wexford Harbour Commissioners that the light could not be seen more than 300 yards away. The explanation was given that the light only shows through one narrow sector. However, it was suggested that someone should go out in the tug-boat Ruby to see for themselves. At this juncture, one of the Commissioners, Mr. Hutchinson, remarked that "the best time to test it is about two o'clock in the morning when the oil is burned low and the lightkeeper, perhaps, asleep" (laughter.)
The lightkeeper responded on Saturday 29th April and I print it verbatim with no comment, except to say 'Good on ya, Philip': -

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