The above photograph was sent to me by Andrew Doherty, of Waterford Harbour Tides and Tales fame, and evoked a very strange sense of Deja-vu in me. I probably haven't thought about it in over 55 years but when I was very small, there was an object very like it in our house. I think it was black and the top unscrewed and then one of the adults did something and there was a smell of paraffin and the top was screwed on again and we had a light. Why we had it, I don't know, nor what became of it. As I said, I've never thought about it until now.
The lamp and the plaque above are on the wall of the sailing club in Dungarvan. As it says, it was exhibited at Wyse Point, one of two white leading lights there. From the British Islands Pilot Guide 1917, it seems that these fixed lights led ships through the channel from the Pool. Then two fixed red lights led up to the green light on the bridge at Dungarvan. I'm hopeful this will mean something to somebody.
Lamplighters were employed in all major (and indeed minor) harbours to go out every evening and light these lamps. They were normally local fishermen, eager to supplement their earnings with the pittance the Harbour Board paid. Where the lamps were on land, such as at Wyse Point, it wasn't so bad, but in places like Dundalk, Drogheda and Limerick, where boats were required, it was a thankless and dangerous job.