St John’s Point
You can’t miss St John’s Point Lighthouse in gorgeous County Down. Its strikingly tall tower is marked with vibrant bands of yellow and black. These vivid colours, which distinguish it from other lighthouses, are known as its daymark.
You can now live the life of a lightkeeper in this remote and beautiful spot. Enjoy very comfortable and characterful self-catering accommodation in either of the two lightkeepers’ cottages, Ketch and Sloop, managed by Irish Landmark Trust.
St John’s Point is the perfect place for a quick visit or a proper refreshing time out. It’s also a great base for walking, discovering the likes of Strangford Lough, an area of outstanding natural beauty, the Titanic Museum and 130-year-old Great Light in Belfast, or the early Christian church in nearby Killough.
A quick history
- St. John’s Point Lighthouse was designed by George Halpin Senior, one of the most famous civil engineers of the time. The light was first exhibited in 1844.
- The original lighthouse was painted white. In 1902 three black bands were added. Its current markings of black with two yellow bands have been in place since 1954.
- The tower was originally only 14m tall. It was extended to its current dizzying height of 40m in the 1880s and is now the tallest onshore lighthouse on the Irish coast (Fastnet is the tallest offshore lighthouse).
- The lighthouse was automated in 1981.
Did you know?
- St John’s Point has a curious connection to Irish playwright Brendan Behan. Behan’s father was contracted to paint a number of lighthouses across Ireland and enlisted Brendan to paint St John’s Point in 1950. However, Brendan’s efforts were reported to be less than impressive!
- St John’s Point is one of the places mentioned in Van Morrison’s song ‘Coney Island’.
- It is one of 65 lighthouses operated by the Commissioners of Irish Lights around the coast of Ireland and continues to provide a vital role in maritime safety today.