Thursday, March 10, 2022

The old Ferris Point lantern - an update - and a bit of 19th Century versifying


The space age lighthouse at Ferris Point dualled as the Harbour Office when it was first unveiled in 1976. Sadly its use as a navigational light lasted less than 20 years.

In a recent post on the lighthouse at Ferris Point, I described how the old Ferris Point lighthouse lantern, dating from 1839, was moved up the coast to Carnlough to serve as as a tourist attraction in the harbour there and I wondered aloud if it was still there, as it was not mentioned as an attraction on any of the local tourist sites.
Well, thanks to the much-travelled Finola Finlay of the Roaringwater Journal and local man Frank Rogers, the answer is in and its very disappointing.
Initial enquiries seemed to suggest the lantern was still in situ but, on trying to get a photograph of it, it was discovered that it wasn't. Further enquiries elicited the information that the copper dome of the lantern had been stolen by thieves, presumably for melting down and selling on. Because of this, the lantern had been left in an unsafe state and it was removed. All that now remains is one small part which serves as a shelter for a couple of people.
So, another example of our maritime history disappears for ever. The only difference is that this time it was not due to Harbour Board or local council neglect but for monetary gain. In 1972, the dome and lantern of the very old South Rock lighthouse were stolen by audacious thieves, never to be seen again. Hopefully this won't be repeated around the country as lighthouses are left unattended.
To relieve some of the gloom of this post, I came across this poem, written about an incident at the time of the building of the old Ferris Point lighthouse in the 1830s. It comes from the Larne Weekly Telegraph of December 19th 1908 but is obviously much older: -

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