Legends of the Lighthouse

Five stories celebrate lighthouse, maritime, and cultural heritage.

In 2019 seven young filmmakers were awarded a Film Bursary by Great Lighthouses of Ireland to turn their lenses and focus on some of the Northern Ireland’s landmark lighthouses.

Legends of the Lighthouse, launched on Thursday 5 December at the Titanic Belfast, compiles the resulting short video stories. These discrete videos are the filmmakers' individual, creative responses to the heritage, stories, people and settings of one of our truly unique great lighthouses: Blackhead, Co Antrim; Rathlin West Light, Co. Antrim, St. John’s Point, Co Down, and The Great Light in the Titanic Quarter, Belfast.

Legends of the Lighthouse is one of nine projects funded by a unique partnership between the Heritage Lottery Fund, Tourism NI and the Department for Communities, Historic Environment Division, to mark the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.  The aim of the fund was to uncover and promote the hidden heritage of Northern Ireland as a lever to attract additional investment, boost tourism and aid regeneration.

The project evolved as an idea during consultation with Irish Lights staff, local lighthouse communities and experts in the field. Following an international open competition, five projects were selected. Filmmakers were supported by people locally and in Irish Lights as they got to know the history and have their own experience of their chosen lighthouse and its community. Filmmakers also received support and mentoring from bigO Creative.

Legends of the Lighthouse marries the need to explore and conserve the heritage of lighthouses with the ongoing demand for digital content. These short videos enable the history, stories and imagery to be shared online by industry stakeholders and by individuals – visitors and enthusiasts alike.

A lighthouse at night with moonlight reflected on the water

The Legends of the Lighthouse videos are as follows:


Rathlin by Nathalie Baker (UK) | Rathlin, Co. Antrim

In this amusing and engaging video, our London-based, self-taught videographer finds joy in the small moments of island life – and in her favourite place near one of Rathlin’s three lighthouses.


Light in the West by Lawrence Eagling (NI) and Tasha Philips (NI)| Rathlin West Light, Co. Antrim

Liam McFaul, Rathlin native and RSPB Warden, shares the story of the remarkable Rathlin West Light, the ‘upside down’ lighthouse, in this video by the Belfast-based duo, Swimming Head Productions.


Beneath the Beam By Rupert Shanks (UK) & Yvonne Gordon (Irl) | St John’s Point Lighthouse, Co. Down

The distinctive yellow and black lighthouse at St. John’s Point captivated these two experienced and lauded filmmakers. Here they talk to others also under the lighthouse’s spell.


Dad’s Letter by Hugh Sweeney | Blackhead Lighthouse, Co. Antrim

This video from our Galway based filmmaker is both a compelling family drama and a rich evocation of lighthouse life.


The Great Light by Emma Zukovic (Irl) | The Great Light, Titanic, Belfast

Our youngest, west of Ireland-based film-maker shares the history and celebrates the heritage of the majestic Great Light, from its origins in France to its place, an icon in the Titanic Quarter, today.


Legends of the Lighthouse is a Great Lighthouses of Ireland maritime heritage and storytelling project, led by The Irish Landmark Trust in partnership with Irish Lights; Newry, Mourne and Down District; Mid and East Antrim; RSPB NI and the Titanic Foundation.


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