Saturday, October 21, 2023

Good news from the East Coast of Ireland Part 2.


It is nine years since I visited Greenore at the entrance to Carlingford Lough. There has been a lighthouse here since 1830, erected after representations from the Newry Chamber of Commerce. Not only was it an important harbour light in its day but, in conjunction with the much more famous and statuesque Haulbowline light in the centre of the lough, it also helped the wary mariner clear lurking dangers at the entrance to the lough.  

The light really came into its own with the building of the Dundalk and Greenore Railway in the 1860s. Shipping routes to Heysham and Fleetwood brought prosperity to the area and a large hotel was built to accommodate visitors. 
Unfortunately, the partition of the country saw the port go into decline as northern travellers to Britain often didn't fancy journeying to the Free State to avail of shorter shipping routes. The lighthouse was discontinued in 1986 and has sat disconsolately behind a wall and a locked gate ever since.

I commented on its dilapidated appearance in my 2014 post and, in fact, put the sorry-looking light on the second version of my lighthouse fatalities book last year. The lighthouse itself was dirty and unkept but of more serious concern was the adjoining cottage, which had windows smashed and slates missing from the roof. The writing seemed to be on the very grubby wall for Greenore lighthouse.

But then, a couple of years ago, there were rumblings that the tower and cottage were going to be given a makeover. Yeah, right.

Greenore in 1905, photos taken during a Commissioners' inspection

But, a couple of days ago came proof that, in fact, the rumours had been true and I had been my usual negative and wrong self in doubting them. Lee Maginnis, who was probably in the Marines in his younger years, managed to get these photos of the newly painted tower and newly-painted and restored cottage.

How fantastic do they look now!! I can't vouch that the same care to design and materials was given as was lavished on Broadhaven lighthouse but, hell, it would make great tourist accommodation with maybe a tree or two to mask the somewhat unattractive port hinterland.

There's an old saying around the Carlingford area - "Where there's a Lee, there's a Cane." And so, once again, Ireland's most photogenic lighthouse dog strikes the pose.

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