When the keepers left Slyne Head in 1990, the Tern Island beacon was looked after by an attendant who visited once a month. Seán Faherty's job entailed tending the Slyne Head while naturally concentrating on Tern Island. It was his idea to light the previously unlit beacon and this came to fruition in 2003, when Notice to Mariners 999 was issued.
NOTICE TO MARINERS
West Coast of Ireland
Tern Island (Mini Slyne Head) Lighthouse
Notice of Establishment of New Solar Electric Light
Irish Lights Office,
16 Lower Pembroke Street,
29th February 2003
The Commissioners of Irish Lights hereby give notice that on Monday 24th February 2003, or as soon thereafter as circumstances permit, a new solar powered electric light will be established at the previously unlit lighthouse at Tern Island, inner lake, Slyne Head.
The position, character, phasing and lighting times of the new light are as follows:
Position 53° 24.0' N 10° 14.0' W
Character Fl (2) W 15s (fl 0.1, ec 2.4, fl 0.1, ec 12.4 = 15s)
(as per main Slyne Head Light)
Range 300 nautical metres
Lighting Time 24 hour
Height above MHWS 500mm
Sectors Visible from main lighthouse compound and path.
Obscured to seaward. Structure 300mm lighthouse tower. White with red band
All other details remain unchanged.
A Radio Navigational Warning will be issued when the above changes have taken place.
Sean Faherty (left) and Jim Murphy at work on the solarisation project 2003 (Beam 32)
One worries now for the future of Tern Island. With the attendants gradually being phased out, there is nobody to make running repairs and there is even a rumour that Irish Lights HQ in Dun Laoghaire no longer monitor the light.
My thanks to Rory McGee, whose detailed and authoritative account of the solarisation project I have brazenly stolen from Beam 32 to produce this post.