Walk to Sheep’s Head Lighthouse

Sheep’s Head Lighthouse is located at the tip of the Sheep’s Head peninsula.  The walk to the lighthouse takes in spectacular coastal scenery, this walk traverses a National Heritage Area (NHA) and Special Protected Area (SPA) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC) as there are protected plant, animal and bird species in the area.  The walk to the lighthouse is part of the overall Sheep’s Head Way trail and for a day walker the Lighthouse Loop walk allows visitors walk to the lighthouse and return to where they began at Tooreen Car Park.  See www.thesheepsheadway.com or http://www.discoverireland.ie/Activities-Adventure/sheep-s-head-loops/62329  for more on the Lighthouse Loop walk.

 Information on the Sheep’s Head Lighthouse

Sheep’s Head lighthouse marks the southern tip of Bantry Bay, it was built in 1968 as a consequence of the development of the terminal at Whiddy Island.   The design of the lighthouse is similar to that on Achill beg built in 1965.

Because of the remoteness of Sheep’s Head and the lack of a road, the building materials and equipment for the lighthouse were air lifted from Kilcrohane, 9km away, to the site by helicopter.

When the lighthouse was constructed and the long flight of steps leading to it complete, the helicopter again lifted the lantern, optic, standby engine and control gear to Sheep’s Head.

The lighthouse was put into operation for the first time on 14th October 1968.

The lighthouse is a seven metre high tower on a square building.  The lantern is 83 metres above sea level.

The light flashes three times every fifteen seconds.  The light is white, but a red  sector of the light warns mariners of the submerged South Bullig rocks, off Three Castle Head to the south.

The white light’s range is 18 miles and the red light has a 15 mile range.

If a lamp fails an automatic changer immediately substitutes a standby lamp.  Power is provided by mains electricity but in the event of power failure a standby diesel engine automatically takes over.

Sheep’s Head lighthouse is looked after by a part time Attendant who lives nearby.

The operation of lighthouse was monitored by the Keepers at the Mizen Head Lighthouse but since the Mizen was automated in 1993 Sheep’s head is monitored remotely by UHF radio to Irish Lights in Dun Laoghaire.

 

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