Sunday, December 29, 2013

Rockabill Lighthouse

 Skerries Sea Tours do trips to Rockabill. I'll have to do one some time. It appears the photos are a little better than the last time I posted but that's down to a better camera.
 Rockabill is in fact two islands off the coast of Skerries. The large one is called The Rock, the smaller one Bill (seen in the photo above) The lighthouse is built on the Rock. Some people call them The Cow and The Calf, examples of which nomenclature exist all around the shores of Ireland.
Built in 1860, the lighthouse sits on an island famous for its roseate terns. As a result, you're not allowed to land on the island in summer, only winter.

Skerries Pierhead Light

 There is a very dramatic lighthouse on an island off the coast of Anglesey in Wales called the Skerries Light. This is not it.
 Can't seem to find out when this dowdy little chap was built but a petition to extend the pier at Skerries was ongoing for more than 100 years until work finally commenced in the 1960s, so I would assume that Prince Charming here dates from that time, though there was probably a light of some sort on the end of the shorter pier beforehand. Old photographs should tell us, if I could only find one!








Balbriggan Lighthouse

 One of the grand old lighthouses of Ireland (1769 - the second oldest after Hook Head) this beauty was looking a little dilapidated when I last visited in 2007
 I was delighted to find that she has received a fresh lick of paint and is now looking very well. Located at the end of the harbour wall in Balbriggan. From the centre of town, take the back road to Skerries and its almost immediately there on your left, through the arches of the viaduct.
 More here

 In 2005, there appears to have been a campaign to have the dome of the lighthouse restored. See here



The Lady's Finger

A few yards from The Maiden Tower (see previous post ) sits The Lady's Finger
 I quote from the same sources as in the Maiden Tower post. The nearby Lady's Finger is a 13 meter-high solid obelisk-like tower which is believed to have been constructed much later than its companion, and was also used as a shipping beacon in past times. In between the two there also sits the Victorian Lifeboat station which closed in 1926 and is now a private dwelling.
 Local legend has naturally grown up around the two buildings, adding to their history. The story goes that a young and very beautiful  local woman had a lover who left to fight in a war overseas. Before he left, he told his sweetheart that he would return to her; if he survived it was on a ship with white sails, if he was killed his ship would return without him with black sails hoisted. Each day, for weeks the woman kept her constant and lonely vigil from the top of the tower for her lover to return. Months afterwards she spotted his ship on the horizon. Straining her vision to see the colour of the sails as the vessel came closer, it became clear to her that the sails were black. Overcome with grief she is said to have thrown herself off the top of the tower to her death. An obelisk was erected nearby in her memory which became known as "The Lady's Finger" , reputedly because it represents the tragic young woman's finger bereft of her hoped-for wedding ring.


The Maiden Tower

 Not to be found in many lighthouse directories, this is the Maiden Tower in Mornington, quite conspicuous and found by walking the track between Drogheda West and Drogheda North Lights.
 I quote from "A Local Folklore Miscellany" by Frank Gallagher, O.D.S. Journal 2007 and "The Streets and Lanes of Drogheda" by James Garry, 2009
 The 60 foot high Maiden Tower was built during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (some would say hence the name 'Maiden Tower') as a beacon to aid mariners on their way into Drogheda port. It was used as a landmark to mark the mouth of the Boyne and it is said that before the river walls were constructed in 1765, when a mariner brought his ship into line with the Tower and the Lady's Finger, the course of his ship marked the precise angle necessary to cross the bar. It also served as a look-out post during the Elizabethan Wars with Spain (1585-1603) to warn of any approaching enemy ships. The tower, the top of which is reached by spiral steps, commands a most extensive look-out over land and sea. It was originally brightly coloured, making it even more conspicuous and useful to mariners.

 The picture below shows the Tower together with the Victorian lifeboat station (now a private dwelling) and the Lady's Finger behind.

Drogheda West Lighthouse

 Climb a sand dune and you get a nice close up view of Drogheda West Light. This was the rear light to be lined up behind the front (east) light when entering the Boyne.
 Built around 1880, deactivated 2000, she is a protected structure and happily her graffiti has been removed since I was last here 6 years ago
 Again, finding it is easy - follow the instructions here



Drogheda East Lighthouse

 This is another of the three sisters, built around 1880, station established 1842. This was the front range light. The idea was that ships aligned this light with the West Lighthouse and that got them up the river.
 Delighted to see that since my last visit here in 2007, the unsightly graffiti has been cleaned up and the old girl is actually looking rather well, peeping out from the sand-dunes.
 Easily found, located in Mornington, directions here



Drogheda North Lighthouse

 In among the sand-dunes and in the grounds of a private house, sits Drogheda North Light, one of three sisters built to guide ships up the river. Easily found by walking upriver from the beach at Mornington,
the last time I was here in 2007,  a large alsatian prevented me from getting out of my car.

 A light station was established here in 1842 but this light and her sisters, date from around 1880. They are no longer in use. (Deactivated 2000) I'd love to have a lighthouse in my garden.
 More here