Spring Fun: 5 Munster Lighthouse Experiences
With five Great Lighthouses of Ireland experiences dotting Munster’s coastline, a spring trip along these shores is a must. Uncover heritage, history and even wildlife on overnight stays or delightful day trips.
Peppered across counties Cork, Kerry and Clare, get planning your ideal spring trip!
A Black Light | Ballycotton Lighthouse
The idyllic East Cork fishing village of Ballycotton boasts renowned eateries, superb seafood and endless Atlantic vistas. The inspiring horizon itself showcases a black beacon known as Ballycotton Lighthouse.
Perched offshore on beautiful Ballycotton Island, this lighthouse has stood firm on the seascape since the 1840s. Take the exciting boat trip over (April-October) with Ballycotton Sea Adventures and imagine how past lightkeepers felt as they made that same crossing. Expert local guides will show you around the iconic lighthouse and the picturesque island itself – watch out for the resident goats!
Just 15 minutes from Castlemartyr, with its luxury resort and golf amenities, and 20 minutes from Midleton, home to the popular Jameson Distillery Experience, you’ll find plenty to do on land in this East Cork corner too!
Ballycotton Island and Lighthouse
Galley-Ho! | Galley Head Lighthouse
Two hours away over in West Cork, among the top-notch food destinations and scenic sites, you’ll find Galley Head Lighthouse. A 19th-century lighthouse station, when it was first built Galley Head boasted the most powerful lighthouse light in the world.
Today it showcases two self-catering lightkeepers’ cottages – making a trip here simply irresistible. Wake up to incredible views, revitalising air and keep your eyes peeled for the whales and dolphins known to these waters.
There are plenty of sight-seeing options on the doorstep too. The lighthouse sits just 10 minutes’ drive from historic Clonakilty and its gourmet gems and of course, Blue Flag Inchydoney Beach. For those looking for even deeper passages of history, the Megalithic Drombeg Stone Circle is just a 25-minute drive away too.
Galley Head Lighthouse
Ireland’s Teardrop | Fastnet Rock & Lighthouse
Long known as ‘Ireland’s Teardrop’ – it being the last sight of home for emigrants on departing ships – Fastnet Rock is quite the enigmatic outpost. Standing offshore, southwest of captivating Cape Clear Island in West Cork, a jaunt on the Cape Clear Ferry (April-October) is not to be missed.
A 19th-century lighthouse, it’s the tallest and widest rock lighthouse tower in Ireland and Great Britain, jutting 177 ft out of the Atlantic. In 1912, the Titanic sailed by Fastnet after leaving Cobh on its ill-fated voyage to New York.
The fascinating boat tour gives a superb vantage point of this remarkable lighthouse and while you can’t disembark onto Fastnet Rock, the tour does include a visit to Cape Clear Island. One of West Cork’s idyllic Gaeltacht islands, at Cape Clear’s heritage centre you’ll learn all about the legendary lighthouse and might even spot the lively local dolphins too!
Tours depart from the quaint fishing villages of Baltimore and Schull, giving you ample opportunity to explore their charms too – pony trekking, a planetarium, whale watching, sailing and golfing among them.
Island Paradise | Valentia Island Lighthouse
An island already boasting tales of transatlantic communication, pre-historic sights and incredible panoramas over the Skellig and Blasket Islands – this lighthouse is the icing on the proverbial cake. Once home to a lone lightkeeper and his family, Valentia Island Lighthouse has sat on these wave-thrashed shores since 1841.
Open to visitors daily from Easter to September, get a unique vantage point over the horizon from inside this historic tower. An ideal day trip for anyone touring the Skellig Coast, the Ring of Kerry or Portmagee – renowned for its Star Wars-themed May The 4th Festival. The lighthouse’s placement on a 17th-century fort and the astonishing fossilised dinosaur footprints on the island’s shoreline, makes this spot even more of a must-see.
Valentia Island Lighthouse
In the Loop | Loop Head Lighthouse
Whale watchers, star gazers, gourmet geeks and lighthouse lovers are all well served on the idyllic Loop Head Peninsula. Nestled at the very end of this picturesque corner of West Clare, this delightful lighthouse – complete with nifty self-catering cottages – has been a coastal stalwart since the 1800s.
Whether staying overnight or enjoying a day trip, explore the interactive exhibits in the lightkeeper’s cottage and take the guided tour of the lighthouse tower and breathtaking balcony. On an overnight lighthouse trip? Just look up! The Loop Head Peninsula’s landscape and lack of light pollution makes it an ideal location to observe stunning constellations like The Plough and the Big Dipper.
Loop Head Lighthouse
Whale and dolphin fans can take a boat trip from Carrigaholt (just 20 minutes from the lighthouse) to spot some of Europe’s largest group of bottlenose dolphins – about 200 frequent these waters!
And after all that sight-seeing, don’t forget to treat yourself to the best of the area’s local produce and a well-earned, delicious meal.
Feeling inspired? Discover more Great Lighthouses all over the island of Ireland.