Visit Loophead Lighthouse
Situated at the tip of the Loophead Peninsula where the Shannon River meets the Atlantic Ocean this iconic lighthouse tower is now open to the public. For a small fee the visitor can take a guided tour up the tower and can go out onto the balcony at the very top. From this balcony one can see as far south as the Blasket Islands in Kerry and as for north as the Twelve Bens in Galway – a remarkable and unforgettable vista.
Outside the perimeter wall of the lighthouse compound is a spectacular walk around the Loophead headland where you can see the remains of the wartime lookout point and the EIRE sign as well as Diarmuid and Grainne’s Leap. You may see some of the dolphins that inhabit the mouth of the River Shannon or you may be lucky and see some passing whales. This area is a Natura 2000 designated area by the EU as a Special Protection Area (SPA) for the unique birdlife. The rocks in the area attract geologists from all over the world to study the unique formation.
The original cottage lighthouse was built here about 1670. The lightkeeper lived in the cottage with his family and an internal stone stairway led up to a flat stone roof where a signal light was kept burning. Part of this original building is still used and is situated beside the present tower. This ‘new’ tower was built in 1854. At that time the light was ‘fixed’ but in 1869 the present ‘intermittent’ light came into operation.
In 1871 the oil driven rotation machine for the beam was converted to electricity. In 1991 the lighthouse was automated and the days of the lighthouse keeper were over.
The present day lighthouse still acts as an aid to navigation for which it was built centuries ago. The lightkeeper’s house is in the care of Landmark Trust and is rented to tourists. The Commissioners of Irish Lights, who own all the lighthouses in Ireland employ an attendant to caretake the property in their behalf and he lives in one of the assistant lightkeeper’s houses. The other assistant lightkeepers house is converted into a reception for visitors. A small building in the compound houses the DGPS transmitting service.
Loophead Lighthouse will be open to the public from Saturday May 19th 2012 to early September during the hours of 10.00am – 5:30pm daily. Visitors have the opportunity to be guided to the top of the lighthouse and take in the magnificant views from the balcony. An informative, interactive exhibition also provides a history of the Lighthouse and allows the visitor to learn how the operation of this Lighthouse has progressed through the years. Admission: €5 per person with under 12’s free. Toilet facilities and light refreshments available on site.
FACTS & FIGURES
Tower height: 23 metres
Light range: 23 nautical miles
Latitude: 52°33.672′ North
Longitude: 009°55.938′ West
Daymark: All white tower with red balcony
For refreshments and food there are a number of bars and restaurants in the area
- Keatings Bar, Kilbaha village
- Lighthouse Inn, Kilbaha village
- Long Dock, Carrigaholt
- Kilkee has many restaurants, bars, cafes and delis
Original content: http://www.loophead.ie/loophead-lighthouse.html
Images Courtesy of: Carsten Krieger http://www.