Thursday, November 2, 2017

Bealadangan Gap beacons

On a misty, murky day in late October, I took advantage of a trip to the Baffle Poetry Festival in Loughrea to take in some navigational lights around the Rossaveal / Lettermore areas of county Galway. I was actually heading for Lettermullan at the time when I crossed the first of several bridges that cross the archipelago.

The bridge connects the mainland with the first island of Annaghvaan and I was gobsmacked to find, both to the north and south of the bridge, a number of stone beacons, seemingly scattered at random in the water. They reminded me a bit of the stone beacons along the River Boyne entrance although with several differences. The Boyne beacons are neater and have rounded tops while the beacons in the (Beala) dangan Gap are very weathered and resemble giant sandcastles.

The photo above shows the remains of an old causeway that pre-dated the first bridge which was built in 1836. The channel between the island and the mainland was / is only navigable around high tide and the correct route is shown by the beacons. The causeway was partially dynamited on construction of the first bridge and the beacons were erected around the same time.

For more information on these wonderful beacons, please see Roger Derham's fascinating Windsong blog

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Bealtra beacons and lights

Well, its been an incredibly slim-pickings year for this blog, not having had the opportunity of visiting any of the coastal communities around Ireland. A late September hiking trip to the Iveragh peninsular (Ring of Kerry) offered up these pitiful few photos. We were hiking around Derrynane, ascended a cliff at the west end of the townland and below us caught a glimpse of Bealtra Bay.

There appear to be two markers, red and green at the outer entrance of the bay and then a third stone pillar nearer to the quay, probably to line up the correct approach to land. The bottom picture gives a decent view of the relationship between the three.

As things happened, it was a dull and drizzly day, that resulted in dull and drizzly photographs.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Lighthouse Posters

Roger Reilly has spent the last year or so illustrating the lighthouses around the coast of Ireland. The body of work that he has produced is quite amazing and the results of his work can be found here and here. When I think that my blog involves finding the lighthouses and then taking a few quick amateur snaps, the months of effort that must have gone into the design and production of these posters is truly amazing
I give examples here of three of his posters, all of which are available for purchase. Roger has done over sixty sea and harbour lights around the coast and they are available as a poster of 16 or singly. If your ancestor was a lighthouse keeper, or if you hail from a particular coastal part of Ireland, or if you simply like the vivid colour of the posters, they'd be a great purchase, particularly at this time of the year. I should point out that Roger's work is not limited to lighthouses but encompasses many cultural areas of Irish life.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Irish Postage Stamps

Don't know if anyone has seen the latest set of postage stamps from an Post, the Irish Postal Service. The set illustrates the many facets of the work of the Commissioner of Irish Lights. The stamps show (from top left working clockwise) CIL working on a buoy; a helicopter at Fanad Head lighthouse; the CIL HQ in Dun Laoghaire; and the CIL service vessel Granuaille steaming past a lighthouse. I've actually been trying to figure out which lighthouse it is. Rotten Island? Dingle? Looks west of Ireland anyway.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Kilcredaune Head

I actually bagged Kilcredaune Head Lighthouse before the two at Corlis Point (previous two posts) but because lighthouse-spotting has probably come to an end for the winter, I preferred to leave this more aesthetically pleasing lighthouse up on my home page, rather than a concrete hut or skeletal tower.

To find the lighthouse, it would depend if you are coming from Kilkee or Loop Head. From Kilkee, take the road for Carrigaholt. Go through this village and keep going out the other side. After about one mile, the road bends around to the right, while a smaller road goes straight on. You need to go straight on. 
From Loop Head, when you get to Kilbaha, leave the R487 and branch left onto the L2002 to Carrigaholt. About a mile from the latter, the road bends around to the left, but you need to take the smaller road to the right.
Okay, we're both on the same road. The road gets smaller and grassier. Eventually you come to a closed red gate. I suppose you could open up the gate and drive up but I parked up and walked it. its about 300 yards to the lighthouse.

There was a Corsa parked outside so I assumed there was somebody in the keeper's cottage but though I rang and knocked, I got no reply. Your view of the tower is somewhat obscured by outhouses but if you wander around the cottage it will bring you out to the front, where a good photograph can be had. Its a bit squat but a nice looking lighthouse nonetheless. The outhouses are in poor nick. The front door of the cottage looks well worn but apart from that, everything looks okay. The light was deactivated on 3rd March 2011. 

The lighthouse here was established in 1827 and is 13 meters high. It became unwatched in 1929 and fully automatic in 1991. It had a white light flashing one second in six. The white tower is 43 feet high (about 14 meters) 

Sat nav - 52° 34.8´ N 9° 42.6´ W

Presumably this is some kind of radar?

Monday, October 31, 2016

Corlis Point Rear Leading Light

This is the rear leading light of the Corlis Point range. For the front leading light, please see here. For the CIL page, see here

My research was obviously a bit faulty. The sat nav reference was obviously a bit out because a half a mile from Querrin pier, it told me I was at my destination. Basically you need to drive through Querrin to the pier. At the coast turn left and its right there. I was out there and had no WIFI, so I didn't know that at the time. Besides, you'd be too close to get a good photo, I reckon. These photos were taken from the beach near the front leading light (see here, which also gives the history and reason for the lights. The rear light has the same characteristics as the front light, except there are six lights instead of four. The night light looks to be the same as the front light (visible in the top photo to the right of the six lights) And obviously, the rear light was first exhibited the same day as the front light!

The tower is a lattice structure 25 meters high and 27 meters above the high water mark.

Corlis Point Front Leading Light

Lighthouse enthusiasts who like their lighthouses to be the classically tapered variety will doubtless be disappointed with the front leading light of the Corlis Point range on the north bank of the Shannon estuary. Dedicated lighthouse lovers only need apply because it is also one of the most difficult to access. 

You will probably be driving from Kilkee, so from there head south to Querrin and Querrin Quay. This is where the rear leading light is, a large skeletal structure. From here, take the coast road, with its large area of wetland to its left. The road comes inland slightly. Shortly after a small cemetery, you reach a T-Junction, where you turn left, back towards the coast. Shortly after this, the tarmac stops and you're better off parking up and continuing on foot. The 'road' is very wet and muddy but after 200 meters, you reach the shore. (Incidentally, if you arrive during a spring tide, the path may be inaccessible!) 

At the shore, turn to the right, scale some shingle onto a small beach. At the other end of the beach, traverse some rock, then more shingle, then another small beach, then some more shingle. By now, you should see the roof of the concrete hut you're aiming for. A wet and slippy path alongside and below the field to the right leads you up to it.

Th hut is about 4 meters high and stands 9 meters above the high water mark. It is home to four large high intensity lights (third picture on this page) which shine for five seconds out of ten. At night, they are replaced by a less intensive single light with the same characteristics.

The two lights, this one and the skeletal structure at Querrin pier, help to guide vessels through the entrance to the Shannon estuary. There are rocks and sandbars at the estuary's mouth and large vessels were going to be needed to bring coal to the Moneypoint Power Station. The first idea to get these ships in was to dredge the sand, which would have cost billions. Plan B was to involve the Commissioners of Irish Lights, who, after thorough groundwork, came up with the plan of two lights which, when lined up, would guide vessels through deep water. Nowadays, coal ships of up to 175,000 tonnes dwt regularly use the channel to access Moneypoint. The record, so far, is 189,000 tonnes. The CIL page has further information.

Though I may complain about the accessibility of this light, fact is, when it was being constructed, the ground around was so wet that supplies had to be landed by helicopter. The two lights first exhibited on 20th September 1998. There does appear to be a track leading to the hut (see above)but I have no idea how to find it and it's probably private property anyway. (Checking Google Earth View, it looks like this path originates just after you turn left at the T-Junction I mentioned above)