Wednesday, October 4, 2023

The Tagoat cliff top lighthouse (revisited)


What I believe is the old lighthouse at the end of the old Ballygeary pier which served Rosslare Harbour before the current pier came into existence in 1906

On a recent trip to see the Maritime Exhibition in Kilmore Quay (great stuff, lads and lasses) I decided to nip over to Tagoat to see if I could find any evidence of a lost lighthouse on the cliff top. I've been banging on about this lighthouse and its brother on Ballygeary pier a couple of times (see here and here) and not had much response, save to say that, if there had been a lighthouse at Hill of Sea, it would have fallen victim to coastal erosion years ago, which is fair enough.
Suffice to say that, unsurprisingly, there was no evidence of a lighthouse at Hill of Sea. Of course, I may have been looking in the wrong location. There is some discrepancy in the O.S. maps at the period in question, which doesn't help. The 25 inch map shows it quite definitely:

So, head from the pub and graveyard on the main road towards the sea. Take the small road to the right where the main road turns left and follow it until it crosses the railway. Look north and halfway between that bridge and the next bridge, right next to the railway line, is the black dot that signifies the lighthouse. 
However, when you go into the 6 inch map, the lighthouse has disappeared.

Okay, I accept its possible that they prepared the 25 inch map and by the time the 6 inch map was ready, the new Rosslare pier light was operational.

This is a Google Street map view from the Rosehill bridge looking south to the Hill of Sea bridge. The lighthouse should be on the left hand side of the track? As you can see, there's a lot of land between the track and the cliff, yet no ruined house?
What other clues do we have?
  • The Notice to Mariners at the end of 1894 says the fixed green light is "to be exhibited from a window in a Light House situated on the Cliff one and a half miles from the light at the end of Rosslare pier."
  • There were only three houses at Hill of Sea in the 1901 Census. Two were private dwellings; the third was built on land owned by the G.W. & S. Railway.
  • It was a three-roomed house, according to the 1901 Census

I'm presuming that an Admiralty Chart between 1895 and 1906 would show the location of the lighthouse. But I'd still love to see a picture of it.

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