Tuesday, May 28, 2013

ILV Granuaile

 In the years that I've been lighthouse hunting, I was surprised I'd never run into the Granuaile before. But there it was, docked alongside the Carlisle Pier in Dun Laoghaire in May 2013.
The Irish Lights Vessel Granuaile is the third CIL ship to bear the name. It was built in the Netherlands and delivered in January 2000.
 The new Granuaile has been designed to be a multi-functional vessel which can operate in difficult sea conditions. Fitted with dynamic positioning Class I linked to the satellite based navigation system DGPS, the vessel's primary function is to place and service the 150 offshore buoys which warn Mariners of the location of sand banks, reefs, and other offshore hazards near shipping routes. The ship also serves as a helicopter platform for servicing offshore lighthouses and is available to assist State agencies with Search and Rescue, emergency towing, oil pollution control, surveying, and offshore data collection. When she was built she was probably the one of the most advanced vessel's of her type in the world and has been a prototype for new builds for MENAS, Trinity House, Northern Lighthouse Board.
When I saw her, a small vessel (above) had just towed a buoy to her side and they then winched her on board to join the rest of the buoys assembled there.

Carlisle Pier, Dun Laoghaire

 This is a lighthouse? Well, not really. It is an ex-lighthouse. It has ceased to be.
The Lighthouse Directory lists this as a lighthouse. It has a picture of a red light mounted atop the old ferry terminal building that used to stand on the pier (also called the Mailboat pier, as this was the pier that the boats to Holyhead used to leave from). However, the building - together with a rather lovely Victorian railway station - was torn down by the Council in September 2009. The red light now appears to have been transferred to a pole at the end of the pier.

Dun Laoghaire East Pier revisited

From the East Pier, a number of lighthouses can be seen, though some of them are quite distant. You can see Muglins in Dalkey, the Baily at Howth, Poolbeg and North Wall at the entrance to Dublin harbour and of course the West and East Pier lighthouses themselves.
I was unsurprised to find they still haven't knocked down the wall that blocks off this lighthouse from the pier, since I was here in 2007
 In 2010, responsibility for the maintenance and upkeep of the two pier lighthouses was transferred from the Commissioner of Irish Lights to the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company.
 Built in 1847 to guide ships into the harbour here, it was automated in March1955, when the two keepers' dwelling houses were abandoned.

Dun Laoghaire West Pier revisited

Can't believe it was six years since I was here last. Like last time, I decided to walk the East Pier rather than the West, as the West Pier is very very long
 So this is the view from the West Pier. The first three shots are from towards the end of the pier, so looking north westwards. The bottom three are from the beginning of the pier and so look more east of north. The red splodge of Poolbeg lighthouse can be seen in pictures four and six.
 Built in 1852, (ten years younger than the East Pier) the lantern was painted white until 1996, when they decided to paint it green. The associated lightkeepers dwellings date from 1863.

The Commissioner of Irish Lights, Dun Laoghaire

This is the swanky new home of the Commissioner of Irish Lights, the body responsible for many of the lighthouses, beacons, buoys and helipads around the Irish coast, north and south.

This site has been the home of the Commissioners of Irish Lights since 1875. From its early planning, a conscious decision was made to produce a building of contemporary design: a modern structure reflecting the ethos of the client, using the most modern technologies that provide aids to the marine industry. This structure also provides a counterpoint to the various historic structures nearby, which, in their own right, are prominent landmarks.There are two main structures in this development: a circular open-plan administration office linked to a rectilinear functional workshop building. It was completed in 2008.

Muglins Lighthouse revisited

 An unexpected free morning last week and I decided to venture south of the Liffey to re-visit a couple of lights in south county Dublin.
First point of call was the Coliemore Road in Dalkey, where I'd snapped the Muglins the last time I was here. This time I had the camcorder, so got better photos, though the sun steadfastly refused to shine.
The Muglins is located on the outermost of a group of islands lying just offshore from Dalkey, a couple of miles south from Dun Laoghaire. Muglins Beacon, which stands 30 feet high, was completed in October 1880 and was painted white, the red stripe being added three years later. Its status became a lighthouse only in 1979.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Mew Island

 Mew Island is situated at the southern end of the approaches to Belfast Harbour and would have waved the Titanic on its way west a hundred years ago. The picture above was taken in Groomsport, the contour of the island obscuring its lower half.. The snaps below were from the layby mentioned in the previous post.
 The light and fog signal came into operation on 1st November 1884. The fog signal was discontinued in 1991 and the light became automatic in 1996.
It was a few miles east of Mew Island that the passenger and car ferry The Princess Victoria sank on 31st January 1953 with the loss of 132 lives.

Copeland Island (Lighthouse Island)

Driving east from Bangor, I was hoping to get a view of the former lighthouse on Copeland Island and its replacement on Mew Island. I drove up a private road in Groomsport, thinking I might get a view but unfortunately Mew Island itself obscured the lighthouse there, so I drove a mile further around the coast towards Donaghdee, where I found a layby that afforded me this view and the next one.
The lighthouse here was established in the early eighteenth century. In 1796, the coal fire light atop a cottage was replaced by a lantern in a 40ft tower. In 1810, a new 52 ft tower and lantern was erected. It served until 1884, when the new light at nearby Mew Island came into operation.
The stump of the tower can be made out by those with good eyes in between the dilapidated stone house and the modern whitewashed cottages.

From Samuel Lewis' County Down in 1833 "Lighthouse, or, as it is also called, Cross island, is about 1 mile (N. E) from Copeland island, and is one furlong in length and about half a furlong in breadth, comprising about 24 acres. The Lighthouse from which it takes its name is a square tower, 70 feet high to the lantern, which displays a light to the south-east, to guide vessels from the north and south rocks, which are 34 leagues distant, and to the north-west, to guard them from the Hulin or Maiden rocks lying between the mouths of Larne and Glenarm. The lighthouse is situated in lat.,54° 41' 15" (N) and long. 5° 31' (W), and the light is plainly seen at Portpatrick and the Mull in Galway, in Scotland, from the latter in which it is 10 leagues distant."

Bangor Pier Head Light

Not quite sure why this little baby doesn't rate a s a lighthouse in Russ Rowlett's Directory? It certainly qualifies under his terms of reference - "a lighthouse is a lightbeacon having a height of at least 4 meters (13 ft) and a cross-section, at the base, of at least 4 square meters (43 sq ft)." This feller, sitting on the end of the pier in Bangor, co Down certainly fits the bill. You can reach it by walking the pier. Alas, I could only find a parking space around the other side of the marina, so took the easy route up the private commercial pier opposite, for which I will surely pay in the fires of Hell.

East Maidens Light

 Following on from the previous post, this is the still very much active East Maidens Light with its black band on white still guarding the shoals at the entrance to Larne Harbour.
 Unveiled on the same day (5th January 1829) as the West Maidens. It was made automatic in 1977.

West Maidens Light

 From Barr's Point (see previous entry) or from the little seaside village a bit further up the coast, there are views of the two Maidens, halfway between Ireland and Scotland. The views may be distant but they're actually better than I'd expected and. short of getting the Larne - Stranraer ferry, probably the best I can hope for.
 The tower, 84 feet above seal level, was first lit on 5th January 1829, along with its sister (next post) 800 yards away. With the improvement of the range of the East Light in 1903, this light was discontinued. It was originally painted red with a white band at the top.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Barr Point Fog Signal

About half a mile north of Ferris Head, lies Barr's Point Fog Signal. I had thought that there was a way around to it via the little hamlet at the end of the headland but a local assured me that there wasn't. I had no option but to drive up to the Golf Club I had passed and ask permission to visit the signal.
The fog signal is located on the sea front next to the seventh tee. To be frank, I don't believe the Golf Club needs fear being inundated with lighthouse enthusiasts eager to glimpse this building, which looks more like your average electrical supply building..
They discontinued the fog signal on 12th June 2006. I am presuming that the little grey heads sticking out of the roof in the top picture is the foghorn apparatus but I could be wrong. The picture above shows the fog signal flanked by the two Maidens out in the Irish Sea. There had been a fog watch signal station here since at least 1906. The fog signal gun replaced the fog bell around 1928.
Barr Point Fog Signal Station came into being in 1905

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Assorted Larne Harbour Lights

 Four lights found in Larne Harbour

Chaine Tower, Larne

Across the entrance to Larne Harbour lies Chaine Tower, presumably modelled on the ancient round towers of Ireland. It was constructed in 1888 as a memorial to one James Chaine, the local MP. but a light was only added in 1899. It is connected to the mainland by a causeway and is to be found north of the docks in Larne. Due to time constraints, I restricted myself to views from Ferris Point
 Below, the view from Barr's Fog Signal - Ferris Point on the left and Chaine Tower on the right.

Ferris Point Lighthouse buoys

 In the grounds of Ferris Point, there was a selection of buoys in the yard...