Famous lighthouse illuminated in memory of people who died in Carlingford Lough

Famous lighthouse illuminated in memory of people who died in Carlingford Lough

A famous lighthouse which sits near the border of Northern Ireland and the Republic has been illuminated in memory of people who have died in the lough.

The Haulbowline Lighthouse, situated on Carlingford Lough, separating Co Louth and Co Down, is thought to be the first and only lighthouse in Ireland and the UK to be externally illuminated.

The 34-metre tall lighthouse will remain lit up for the month of August to remember all those who have lost their lives there.

Carlingford Lough experienced its worst maritime disaster in 1916 when a coalship  collided with a passenger ferry bound for Holyhead out of Greenore.

Some of the passengers on the Carlingford Lough Ferry travelling out to see the Haulbowline Lighthouse illuminated (Paul O’Sullivan)
Some of the passengers on the Carlingford Lough Ferry travelling out to see the Haulbowline Lighthouse illuminated (Paul O’Sullivan) 

The disaster claimed the lives of 97 people, including passengers and crew. Only one person, a fireman on the collier, survived.

Most recently, Co Down mother Ruth Maguire was recovered from the lough after she went missing during a night out in March.

She was due to marry her partner this month and was attending the hen night of a friend.

It is thought that several hundred people have died in Carlingford Lough.

Paul O’Sullivan, founder of Carlingford Lough Ferry, said the event will also help promote water safety in the area.

He said: “The idea was an endeavour undertaken by the Newry Maritime Association four years ago as it was the centenary of the famous SS Connemara and Retriever boating disaster.

“They wanted to do something novel so, with the permission of the Commissioners of Irish Lights, the lighthouse was externally illuminated for a month.

“That was successful and we have carried it on since. This year’s illumination is to remember all those who have died on Carlingford Lough over the years and to promote water safety.

“I believe the number of drownings in Ireland is at a record low so the promotion of water safety has been very effective and if the unique event of illuminating helps to do that then it’s something that is very positive.

“Several hundred people have lost their lives in the lough so we hope our small event helps bring to the fore the importance of water safety.”

The Haulbowline Lighthouse will be illuminated from 9.30pm to 12.30am every evening until the end of the month with the Newry Maritime Association overseeing the illumination with the permission of the Commissioners of Irish Lights.

The occasion also marks the 195th anniversary of the commissioning of Haulbowline Lighthouse.

- Press Association


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