Top 5 Most Interesting Lighthouses in Ireland

Lighthouses of Ireland

Lighthouses of Ireland.

The territory of the country is washed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea, and the locals have long been reputed as great experts in the craft of ships. On the territory of the state there are about 70 functioning lighthouses, some of them are the oldest on the planet. Today many of them are placed tourist centers and hotels, which have recently become very popular.

Ireland’s most famous lighthouses

These signal structures play an important role for passing liners. They keep ships safe and are operated by special automatons. Some time ago the Irish government decided to modernize lighthouses to provide tourists with additional services. For example, it is planned to build apartments with self-service or create a modern viewing platforms, to which tours will be organized.

Separate attention is paid to the coastal zone – they want to save for future generations, so carefully protect and strengthen. The most famous lighthouses in Ireland are considered:

  1. Hook Head Lighthouse – is the oldest in the country and among the oldest working lighthouses on the planet. It is located in the south of the Emerald Isle and is considered one of the most beautiful in Ireland. The lighthouse in V century was built by monks, who then for 6 centuries supervised it, that it did not go out. The building acquired its present appearance in about 1189, when the Normans repaired it with burnt lime mixed with bull’s blood. The interior of the building looks rather ascetic, yet checkrooms, lavatories and cell-like recesses have survived. Today, Hook Head is a squat structure with walls between 2.7 m and 3.9 m thick. Visually, it seems thicker than it really is, due to the horizontal strips. Special tours are organized here.
  2. Poolbeg Lighthouse – it is painted bright red, is located on the shore of Dublin Bay, and is considered a popular attraction of the city. It was erected in 1768, at that time it was the first lighthouse in the world to operate by candlelight. Eighteen years later it was rebuilt and began to illuminate the sea in the traditional way. At the top was an 8-cornered lantern with as many glass windows. It was reached by a stone staircase equipped with an iron balustrade, which encircled the structure on the 2nd floor. The structure acquired its present appearance in 1820.
  3. Cromwell Lighthouse – located on Valentia Island, surrounded by majestic nature. Here the high waves crash against the shore, the wind blows hard, and the impregnable cliffs spread around. The lighthouse was built in 1828 on the site of Fetwood Cromwell’s house in the 16th century, the ruins of which can still be seen in the area today. The structure was inaugurated by an honorary Knight of Kerry named Maurice Fitzgerald, though the lighting began 10 years later. The caretaker and his family lived in the building at the time. In November 1947, the system was automated and the workers were evicted.
  4. Fanad Head Lighthouse is one of Ireland’s most beautiful lighthouses and is situated in a picturesque location in County Donegal. It was built in the early nineteenth century after the Saldan ship sank in coastal waters during a violent storm. It was on its way to where Fanad was, but the sailors never made it to shore because they just didn’t see it. After the tragedy, a signal structure was erected on the rocky coast to show the ships the way. Today you can see a stunning Blue Flag beach near it, and experience a variety of wildlife, including whales, gray seals, and numerous birds. It’s also a great place for water sports enthusiasts. There are organized group tours.
  5. Fastnet Rock Lighthouse is a popular lighthouse in Ireland that has a sad history. It was first erected in 1818, but about 30 years later the American ship Stephen Witney crashed near it. During the shipwreck almost all of the crew were killed, so the government decided to revise the layout of the structure. A few months later there was a new construction, which reached 54 meters in height. It was made of cast iron and the inside was lined with stone. In 1899 Fastnet Rock was renovated, and its appearance has not changed since then. The renovation improved the signal system, which today can be seen within a 50 km radius. Inside the building there are bedrooms, storage rooms and a kitchen, although no one is currently using the facilities.
  6. Howth Lighthous is at the entrance to Howth Harbor and was built not only as a signal structure but also for defensive purposes. It had strong walls and battlement windows to protect the coast. Construction of the lighthouse began in 1807, with the first signal made 11 years later. The process was accelerated by the British, who frequently entered the sea and wished to save their ships and cargo. The building was made of stoneware and equipped with 12 oil lamps. In 1955, electric lighting was installed here. Around the same time, the building was modernized and improved, leaving the exterior unchanged.
  7. Loop Head Lighthous is located in the western part of Ireland in County Clare and attracts tourists with its mesmerizing panorama from the observation deck. In 1670 the signal was located on the roof of a single-storey villa (it survives to this day), in which the keeper lived. In 1854 a modern lighthouse, reaching a height of 23 m, was built. Its light was visible at a distance of more than 400 km. After 17 years the structure was electrified and 20 years later it was automated. You can visit Loop Head between March and November, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Admission is $5.50 for adults and $2 for children.
  8. Ballycotton Lighthouse – Located on the uninhabited island of the same name on East Cork Bay. The signal structure is surrounded by unspoilt nature and is home to a variety of fauna. You can only get here by boat, so the tour can be quite interesting, and the guides will tell you the local legends and myths. The building was erected in 1847 after the ship Sirius, which, working on steam, was the first to cross the Atlantic Ocean, crashed in local waters. In 1975, electric light was introduced here, and it was automated 17 years later.
  9. Galley Head Lighthouse is located on the south coast of the country in County Cork. The lighthouse is situated on Dundee Cape at a height of 10 meters above sea level. Its construction began in 1875, but it gave its first signal only three years later. At the time it was considered one of the most powerful lanterns, it was visible within a radius of 30 km. In 1991 they made automatic electric lighting here.
  10. Wicklow Head Lighthouse is located in the southeastern part of the town of the same name. The lighthouse is an 8-corner stone structure, which is equipped with a hotel. It is an ideal place to stay, allowing you to enjoy the local nature and amazing scenery. The signal tower was erected in 1781, 55 years later it was struck by lightning, which caused a fire. During the reconstruction it was decided to preserve the historic appearance of the building.
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As the westernmost point of Northern Europe, the island of Ireland and its many historic lighthouses have been essential to safe maritime travel in the region for generations. Today, thanks to the EU-funded Great Lighthouses of Ireland project launched in 2015, they and their history have become a major attraction–with twelve lighthouses on the Irish coast now open to the public and some you can stay overnight.

Blackheads, Antrim.

Built in 1902, the Sea of Blackheads of County Antrim sits on the black volcanic cliff of Blackheads at the mouth of Belfast Loch. There are three renovated light keeper residences that can be found near the lighthouse, all operated by the Irish Landmark Trust. Once guided by the Titanic on its original voyage from where it was built on the site in Belfast where it sailed on its tragic voyage from Southampton, England, this still functioning lighthouse has a beautiful coastal walkway nearby.


Fanad’s Head, Donegal

Famed as one of the most beautiful lighthouses in the world, Fanad Head is one of the highlights of the famous Wild Atlantic Way hiking trail along the north, west and south coasts of Ireland. Built in the early 19th century shortly after the shipwreck of HMS Saldanha at Lowe-Swilly-with an estimated 250 survivors aboard-it emerges from one of the most picturesque locations in the entire country. Three self-catering homes accommodate up to ten people.


St. John’s Point, Donegal

A harbor light designed to guide sailors from Donegal Bay, St. John’s Point showed its first light in November 1831, nearly 250 years after more than twenty doomed Spanish Armada ships sent by Philip II from Spain invaded England washed up on Irish shores – three of them across the bay at Stradha Strand. With two light owner’s cottages, this lighthouse sits on one of the longest peninsulas in the country, looking out toward Mullahmore and the coast of County Sligo, and into the North Atlantic.

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St. John’s Point, Down

The second St. John’s Point is on the opposite coast of Northern Ireland, near the village of Killough in County Down. It differs from the Irish other lighthouse of the same name by its distinctive coloration – it is decorated with stripes of yellow and black, unlike the giant bee, and an impressive height of 40 meters (131 feet). The lighthouse mentioned in Van Morrison’s song here also has subtle literary connections-the Irish writer Brendan Behan apparently helped his painter father paint it in 1950 (before the yellow stripes were added).


Clare Island, Mayo.

Located on a rugged island in Clare Bay in County Mayo that was home to the legendary pirate queen Greinne O’Malley and her clan, the Clare Island Lighthouse was first built in 1806. Taken down since the 1960s, it has since been luxuriously renovated and transformed into an ideal vacation spot with six tastefully furnished rooms. The only two-story lighthouse in the country, it is also the only one to provide B&B accommodations and a six-course dinner for its guests.


Roche Point Lighthouse, Cork

Farther east on the south coast, Roche Point Lighthouse is at the entrance to Cork Harbor, one of the largest natural harbors in the world. Although it’s not part of the Great Irish Lighthouses initiative, the self-catering beach cottage at Roches Point can be rented through Book the Lighthouse. The three bedrooms sleep up to five guests and feature a fully equipped kitchen and a terrace with sun loungers.


Galley Head, Cork.

Not far from the award-winning West Cork town of Clonakilty – recently named the best town in Britain and Ireland – the Galley Head Lighthouse featured the world’s most powerful lighthouse when it was built in 1875. According to the Great Lighthouses of Ireland, illuminators standing here would have seen history unfold before their eyes, witnessing the sinking of the Lusitania after it was torpedoed off Old Head Kinsale in 1915 and saw many warships during World Wars I and II.

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Loop Head, Clare.

The County Clare Clare Peninsula has previously been voted the best place to stay in Ireland, and by far one of the best places to stay in this popular region is the 1850s lighthouse, at the cozy traditional lighthouse keeper’s station, which sleeps five. When conditions are right, this spot appears to have views as far as the Clery Clery Islands and the Twelve Pines Mountain Range in Connemara.


Wicklow Head, Wicklow.

The oldest and certainly one of the most unique of all lighthouses to be found in Ireland, Wicklow Head Lighthouse consists of an octagonal stone tower that would be at home in a fabulous picture book. Built in 1781, it now has two double bedrooms and an upstairs kitchen that achieves a staggering 109-step climb that is not for the faint of heart. But its arched windows look out over the Irish Sea, and it has buckets of character.


Crookhaven Lighthouse, Cork

Another missing project of the Great Irish Lighthouses is the lighthouse first built in 1843 in the village of Crookhaven, at the southwesternmost tip of Ireland, Cork. Here, in the same year, guest housing with an indoor swimming pool was originally restored in 1999, followed by a major renovation in the early 2000s, so that the airy, modern and comfortable upstairs living space now has spectacular views of Ballydeville Bay, Fastnet Lighthouse, Streak Head and more.

Speaking of Great Lighthouses of Ireland, the CEO of Irish Lights, the main body responsible for developing the project, says the strategy is to “celebrate and share the history, tradition and heritage of Irish lights, and support it for the future. “The goal they pursue with great enthusiasm. The second annual Great Lighthouse of Ireland Shine Light on Summer Festival will take place at some of the aforementioned venues over the May Bank Holiday weekend in 2017.

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