Loop Head: 5 Things You Didn’t Know
Burning flame beacons, dolphin-dotted waters and more…
A captivating jewel in this County Clare corner, Loop Head Lighthouse has illuminated the coast since the 17th century.
Here are just five things you didn’t know about this brilliant beacon.
1. Ancient Embers
A lighthouse has stood on Loop Head since as far back as 1670. Quite different to the tower you see today, back then it was a cottage lighthouse that held a coal-burning brazier on the rooftop. Part of that old lightkeeper’s cottage is still visible on the headland today.
2. In a Flash
After nearly 20 years as a fixed light, in 1869 Loop Head Lighthouse debuted its new flashing light. The lighthouse’s flash, or ‘character’, is a white light that flashes four times every 20 seconds.
3. Picturesque Panorama
On a clear day, from the top of the Loop Head Lighthouse tower you can embrace views as far south Kerry’s Blasket Islands and as far north as Galways’ Twelve Pins mountain range. Bliss!
4. Finned Friends
Did you know that the waters around Loop Head are brimming with creatures from the deep?
Loop Head Peninsula is a superb place to spot Minke Whales, Fin Whales, porpoises and Common Dolphins from. With the serene Shannon Estuary home to some 140 Bottlenose Dolphins too, bring binoculars and your patience could be rewarded!
5. Geologist’s Paradise
Not just a vibrant wildlife haven, there’s deep-rooted history in the Loop Head area’s very foundations too. A popular stretch of coast with geologists the world over, the headland’s cliff-faces boast rock formations that date back some 320 million years.
The spectacular Bridges of Ross, stunning natural sea arches perched a 10-minute drive from the lighthouse, are an exceptional example of sedimentary rock folds. Their breathtaking presence today is due to the movement of the earth’s plates all those millennia ago.