Lighthouse tours to help fund tower’s restoration

An historic lighthouse is set to open to the public to help raise funds for an ambitious restoration project.

The Commissioner of Irish Lights has given permission for guided tours of the Old Head of Kinsale lighthouse in Co Cork, on Sept 7 and 8 to help a local committee raise funds to restore the nearby signal tower to its former glory.

The Old Head Signal Tower Restoration Committee plans to restore the tower and develop a panoramic viewing point, to recreate its original signalling system, and develop interpretative facilities.

It is hoped that, once completed, the restored tower will become a key visitor attraction on the proposed Wild Atlantic Way.

“This open weekend will be a unique opportunity for people to come to the Old Head of Kinsale and visit the lighthouse and hear about its history,” committee member Jon Hynes said.

“This will be a phased restoration project but we hope to have the first phase — the restoration of the tower and the development of a viewing platform — open to the public in time for the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania on May 7, 2015.”

The committee has to raise at least €90,000 for the entire restoration project which could cost up to €1m.

An application for matching funding is being considered by the West Cork Development Partnership.

The project has also been endorsed by the minister with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, Brian Hayes. Cork County Council has granted planning permission for phase one of the scheme.

The Old Head Signal Tower, built in 1805, was one of 81 such towers built within sight of each other on strategic headlands around the coast, as a response to the threat of invasion from Napoleonic France.

Theoretically, a signal could travel from tower to tower some 1,076km around the coast, between Malin Head and Dublin, but low cloud and sea fog often made signalling difficult.

The open weekend will take place on Sept 7 and 8 with a park and ride bus ferrying passengers fromthe Lusitania memorialto the Old Head golfclub, from 9.50am each morning.

Tickets cost €10 per adult, with family deals available, and further information from info@h2oseakayaking.com.

* oldheadofkinsale.com

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