Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Bomore Point lighthouse, co. Sligo

Bomore Point lighthouse? Well, if you're not from Sligo in general or Rosses Point in particular, it is probable that you are not alone in never having heard of it. In terms of self-publicity, it makes Drogheda North light seem like the Fastnet. In fact, I suspect a straw poll of Rosses Point residents would show scant knowledge of this structure that stood proudly between two incredibly popular beaches for many years.

Detail from postcard above

One group of people who would recognise it would be the old keepers who manned Oyster Island lighthouse. There were always keepers out on the Black Rock lighthouse and they rotated with the Oyster Island keepers. However, the latter were also responsible for the unwatched lights on the north of Coney Island (x 2), the Metal Man, Bomore Point and the Rosses pile light. 

Irish Townland and Historical Map Viewer O.S. last edition, showing Bomore Point, top middle; Oyster Island, bottom right; Coney Island lights, left middle; and the Metal Man, in the centre of the three land masses. The Rosses Pile light would be roughly where the word 'However' is located in the paragraph above

With the exception of the Oyster Island light (and Black Rock) all of these lights came into existence during a blitz of navigational improvements in October 1908. At Coney Island, two green lights - one fixed, one flashing - were established, the lower on a tressle table, the other on top of a white hut. The Metal Man got a red flashing light to act as a leading light with the Oyster Island light. Lower Rosses (the pile light) had a triangular light with green, white and red sectors. 
Bomore Point, like the two on Coney Island, was a cylindrical light, mounted on top of a white hut - probably identical to the upper Coney Island light. It showed red, white and green sectors and was occulting, every ten seconds.  According to Bill Long in Bright Light, White Water, the light was moved onto the edge of the adjacent golf course in August 1951 and eventually discontinued in June 1964.

At a height of 23 feet above high water, the Bomore Point lighthouse was situated  on a rocky outcrop that divided the two main Rosses Point beaches. These beaches are incredibly beautiful and were, and still are, extremely popular in the summer months. As such, it is surprising that there are not better pictures of it around than the postcard above. If anybody has photographs of Bomore Point or either of the two Coney Island lights, I would love to see them.
The light is nearly sixty years gone from its position looking across Katey's Strand but, incredibly, it is still in Rosses Point, hiding in plain view outside Fenton Ewing's "Harry's Bar," from where it looks out over Oyster Island. Reading between the lines and with absolutely no evidence at all, I suspect this light - and possibly the Coney Island lights too - was rescued from a future in the scrapyard by enterprising locals and kept safe for posterity. I'm sure the Statute of Limitations has long since past and Irish Lights won't come looking for their light back!!

Another thought strikes me. The Great Lighthouses of Ireland initiative focusses solely on those lighthouses that have tourist potential, whether the keepers' dwellings are for let, or tours are available or, as is the case with the Great Optic on the Maritime Mile in Belfast, simply for people to come and look at it.
I would therefore like to formerly nominate Bomore Point lighthouse to be the next light to be inducted into the Great Lighthouses elite pantheon, even though it would probably piss Black Rock off bigtime.


  1. Where would our heritage be without such local commitment Pete? Great Post

  2. This optic is from Lower Rosses Light.

    1. Oh! The owner of the pub said it was from Bomore Point. Don't know how to go about verifying either claim!!

    2. Definitely ex Lr Rosses Lantern housng ,inside it is a small ex buoy lantern.I was Attendant Keeper when a new Tideland Buoy Lantern was placed on Lr Rosses Light , Harry Ewing RIP was CIL Boat Contactor and owner of Harry's Bar.

  3. Well, I can't argue with that!! Thanks so much for this information. You don't happen to have a better photo of Bomore light or the two on Coney Island, do you? I ask it more in hope than expectation!! Gouldingpeter@gmail.com

  4. Sorry no such photos,I'll make enquiries the next time I am on Coney Island