Le phare de l'île pourri, as a bad French student might say
I have photographed, in my time, almost all the lighthouses in Ireland, some from a nearer vantage point than others.
When it comes to actually ascending the tower and getting in the lantern room, however, the total is much smaller. Off the top of my head, I can count Hook Head, Ballycotton, Old Head of Kinsale, Galley Head, Valentia, Blacksod, Fanad, Rathlin East, Rathlin West and Donaghadee, a small total that does little credit to my claims of being a lighthouse enthusiast.
Of course, there are not many more that are open to the public - St. Johns Point, county Down; Loop Head; Wicklow Old High light (annually); Clare Island. Tarbert has had open days in the past and may do so again. I think Little Samphire Island is either open or is opening. But you get the point. The opportunities are limited.
So it is fantastic news that Killybegs Sea Safari in south-west Donegal have announced two new tours departing Killybegs. One is a sea journey to Rotten Island with a guided tour of the lighthouse; and the other is a sea journey to St. John's Point, Donegal, again with a guided tour of the lighthouse. As such, they have been partnered by the Great Lighthouses of Ireland initiative and give visitors and locals to that beautiful part of the world the opportunities to get up close and personal with two iconic lights each over 175 years old.
It seems that you can do the two lighthouses consecutively on the same day, though any non-lighthouse nuts in your party may claim overkill. Of course, you can get a 'free' tour of St John's Point simply by staying there!
You'd think I'd be delira and excira by this development and truly, I am. But I only heard about it on Monday, two days after coming home from a fortnight in south-west Donegal.