Brighter Days Ahead! Plan a Summer Lighthouse Visit or Stay
Although our lighthouses are currently closed in line with the Government’s COVID-19 restrictions, we’re still looking forward to when we can re-open again and welcome you back.
With this in mind, why not start researching or planning your future lighthouse visit or overnight stay?
Spring is already here, the grand stretch is coming and summer’s just around the corner – brighter days are ahead.
From unforgettable luxury and starlit skies, to island beacons, the world’s oldest operational lighthouse and even wildlife havens – it’s all waiting for you around this island’s incredible coastline.
Our 14 charming lighthouse experiences are the ideal way to staycation in 2021!
Connacht & Leinster Lighthouses
Starlit Shores | Clare Island Lighthouse
The only lighthouse in Ireland that provides B&B accommodation and dinner, this Mayo outpost is a real marvel. Leave the car, and your cares, at Roonagh Pier as you ferry over to Clare Island.
A 19th-century lighthouse on the edge of the Atlantic, this is the place to let the hustle and bustle of modern life drift away. Fan of legend and lore? The island was once home to famed Irish pirate queen, Grace O’Malley, the ruins of her family’s castle are still visible.
Unwind as those Clew Bay views unfold and even bring your four-legged friend – this lighthouse is dog-friendly.
The skies in this part of Ireland experience very little light pollution, so once you’ve seen the sun set you can embrace the starlight from your coastal perch. About an hour’s drive from this area you’ll even find Ireland’s first international dark sky park, perfect for proper star-gazers.
To find out more about Clare Island’s 2021 opening dates and availability see clareislandlighthouse.com
By Hook or by Crook | Hook Lighthouse
An 800-year-old lighthouse standing firm on Wexford’s stunning Hook Peninsula, a visit to Hook sees you trawl through the centuries.
The world’s oldest operational lighthouse, it’s hard to miss with its fat black and white bands. Take a guided tour and meet the hologram monk St Dubhán, who’ll tell you all of the lighthouse’s fascinating stories and secrets. It’s no surprise that the lighthouse is brimming with tales, its walls are a hefty four-metres thick!
Looking for a really special experience? Push the boat out and indulge in a sunset or sunrise tour, culminating on the beautiful balcony. The seascape from the tower’s blustery height is a sight to behold.
After a trip up and down the tower’s 115 steps, enjoy some refreshment at the on-site cafe and bakery – all housed within what were once the lightkeepers’ houses.
To find out more about Hook’s 2021 opening dates and tour bookings see hookheritage.ie
109 steps above the Garden of Ireland | Wicklow Head Lighthouse
Wake up to breathtaking views of the Irish Sea from three angles at picturesque Wicklow Head Lighthouse. Built on this charming headland in 1781, a stay in this historic beacon offers a true slice of peace and tranquility.
With 109 steps from the lower level to the kitchen at the top, all guests need bring on a visit here is a pep in their step!
The nearby cliff path offers salty-aired walks and even the chance at glimpsing the seals below.
To find out more about Wicklow Head’s 2021 opening dates and availability see irishlandmark.com
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 with Ballycotton Sea Adventures and imagine how past lightkeepers felt as they made that same crossing.
Ballycotton Island and Lighthouse
Expert local guides will show you around the iconic lighthouse and the picturesque island itself – watch out for the resident goats!
To find out more about boat tours and Ballycotton Island 2021 accessibility see ballycottonseaadventures.com
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.
Galley Head Lighthouse
To find out more about Galley Head 2021 availability see irishlandmark.com
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 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 feet out of the Atlantic.
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!
To find out more about Cape Clear Ferry bookings and 2021 availability see www.capeclearferries.com
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.
Valentia Island Lighthouse
Usually open to visitors daily from Easter to October, get a unique vantage point over the horizon from inside this historic tower. The lighthouse’s placement on a 17th-century fort and the astonishing fossilised dinosaur footprints on the island’s shoreline, make this spot even more of a must-see.
To find out more about Valentia Lighthouse’s 2021 accessibility see valentiaisland.ie
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 enigmatic corner of West Clare, this delightful lighthouse – complete with nifty self-catering cottages – has been a coastal stalwart since the 1800s.
Loop Head Lighthouse
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.
An Island Idyll | Rathlin West Light
Follow the awe-inspiring Causeway Coastal Route to take in heritage gems like the renowned Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, before hopping the ferry over to beautiful Rathlin Island, Co Antrim.
Home to Rathlin West Light, explore this fascinating ‘upside down’ lighthouse and learn all about its impressive 100 years of illumination. Not only a lightkeeping island, Rathlin boasts residents of a different kind too – 250,000 of them in fact! Northern Ireland’s largest seabird colony, the on-site RSPB Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre carries out important conservation work and welcomes the likes of puffins and guillemots in their thousands.
Rathlin West Light
While you’re on the island, you’ll also have your pick of captivating walking trails, including the Rathlin Trail, Roonivoolin Walk, Ballyconaghan Trail and the Kebble Cliff Walk.
To find out more about Rathlin Island’s 2021 opening dates and accessibility see rspb.org.uk
Back in Black | Blackhead Lighthouse
Further down the Causeway Coastal Route near historic Carrickfergus and the Victorian seaside resort of Whitehead, stands Blackhead Lighthouse. Perched on a cliff edge, this early 20th-century beauty comes complete with three self-catering lightkeepers’ cottages. Surrounded by lightkeeping curiosities like old-fashioned whistle pipe signals, a stay here gives an authentic sense of seafaring history.
Make sure to go exploring along the Blackhead Lighthouse and Coastal Walk to soak up those views of Belfast Lough. Blackhead Lighthouse guided many famous vessels during Belfast’s golden age of shipping, including the ill-fated Titanic.
To find out more about Blackhead Lighthouse’s 2021 availability see irishlandmark.com
A Belfast Beacon | The Great Light
In lively Belfast, 30 minutes from Blackhead Lighthouse, you’ll find The Great Light. While not a lighthouse as such, this behemoth produced one of the world’s strongest ever lighthouse beams.
The Great Light
The historic 19th-century optic sits in the shadow of fascinating Titanic Belfast on the popular Maritime Mile – the perfect place to stroll after learning all about Titanic’s Belfast origins.
Weighing ten tonnes and standing seven metres high, The Great Light is pretty hard to miss!
Star of the County Down | St John’s Point Lighthouse
About an hour’s drive south of Belfast, discover a lighthouse once painted by playwright Brendan Behan!
The tallest onshore lighthouse on the island of Ireland, St John’s Point, Co Down, is wonderfully eye-catching with its yellow and black bands. The story goes that Behan’s father was contracted to paint a number of lighthouses across Ireland and enlisted Brendan to help paint St John’s Point in 1950.
Brendan’s efforts, however, were reported to have been less than impressive. Apparently the playwright was “not amenable to any law or order”…
St John’s Point, Co Down
Another gem with idyllic self-catering cottages, St John’s Point is an excellent base for those looking to ramble quiet country roads or stroll rocky shorelines.
To find out more about St John’s Point, Co. Down’s 2021 availability see irishlandmark.com
A Donegal Delight | St John’s Point Lighthouse
A three-hour drive over to Ulster’s western coast leads you to another St John’s Point Lighthouse. Also showcasing delightful self-catering cottages, this Donegal outpost guides vessels across beautiful Donegal Bay and Killybegs Harbour.
St John’s Point, Co Donegal
Make sure to take a stroll along nearby pink-hued Coral Beach or venture out to Streedagh Strand, the very site that Spanish Armada ships were wrecked in 1588.
Or take an hour’s spin to Sliabh Liag, the highest sea cliffs in Europe. In a word, epic!
To find out more about St John’s Point, Co. Donegal’s 2021 availability see irishlandmark.com
A Pretty Peninsula | Fanad Lighthouse
Standing firm way up on the breathtaking Fanad Peninsula, the lighthouse at Fanad Head was once voted the world’s most beautiful.
Another coastal corner with cosy self-catering cottages, it’s said there’s gold in these waters as a result of the 1917 wreck of the SS Laurentic – not to mention whales and dolphins too!
For those taking a day trip, tours of the historic lighthouse tower run every half hour and require advanced booking, while the on-site visitor centre will give you a sense of the lighthouse’s intriguing past.
To find out more about Fanad Lighthouse’s 2021 tours and availability see fanadlighthouse.com
With all our lighthouse operators fully complying with every necessary safety precaution, Government guidelines and restrictions; rest assured that your 2021 stay or visit to any of the Great Lighthouses of Ireland will be a wonderful experience.