Chance to bed down for the night in lighthouse

Loop Head lighthouse, Co Clare.

Ever wanted to stay in a lighthouse, to hear the waves crash around you and wake up to stunning views?

Well a major tourism drive is going to allow you do just that.

The Great Lighthouses of Ireland initiative promises to be an “experience to take your breath away” and features 12 lighthouses dotted around the coast where tourists can visit, and in some cases rent as accommodation.

The ‘Great Lighthouses of Ireland’ are:

  • St John’s Point in Donegal;
  • Fanad Head in Donegal;
  • Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre in Antrim;
  • Black Head in Antrim;
  • St John’s Point in Down;
  • Wicklow Head in Wicklow;
  • Hook in Wexford;
  • Ballycotton in Cork;
  • Galley Head in Cork;
  • Valentia Island in Kerry;
  • Loop Head in Clare; and
  • Clare Island in Mayo.

With a range of services from accommodation to visitor centres and guided tours, visitors from home and abroad will have the chance to explore the distinct experiences offered by the 12 lighthouses, each reflecting its own history and heritage, nature and environment, people and place, with aspects to appeal to people of all ages and interests.

Irish Lights today operates more than 70 automated lighthouses around the coast of Ireland, all of which continue to play a vital role in maritime safety.

Addressing an assembled audience of 200 people at the Irish Lights Head Office in Dun Laoghaire in Dublin, Tourism Minister Paschal Donohue said the Great Lighthouses of Ireland experience has been developed to build on the momentum and success of the Wild Atlantic Way and contribute to the new Ancient East initiative.

Chance to bed down for the night in lighthouse

Ballycotton Lighthouse in East Cork. Picture: Eddie O’Hare

“Our island’s maritime heritage is a source of pride to us all. This initiative allows us to celebrate and share this with our visitors and with each other. The Great Lighthouses of Ireland is a unique and exciting collaboration between many people and organisations, each with different and specialist skills, who have come together to create something exceptional,” he said.

Chief executive of Commissioners of Irish Lights, Yvonne Shields, said lighthouses have contributed to the maritime and seafaring story of Ireland for over two centuries.

“Advances in technology and automation means that we no longer need as much of the old physical infrastructure at lighthouses to operate our aids to navigation today.

“So as part of a new strategy we are developing a range of new uses for our infrastructure and tourism is an obvious option for some of our lighthouses. This project celebrates and shares the history, tradition and heritage of our organisation as well as sustaining it for the future,” she said.

The Great Lighthouses of Ireland project is supported by the European Union’s Interreg Iva cross-border Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.

All of the 12 lighthouses will be open to the public from July next.


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