Thursday, May 21, 2015

Dursey Point Temporary Lighthouse

The destruction of the Calf Rock Lighthouse in November 1881 left the tip of the treacherous Beara peninsula without a light, so some form of temporary light was needed until a new lighthouse could be built on Bull Rock. A three roomed wooden structure was hurriedly assembled and a spare lightship lantern was seconded from the stores in Dun Laoghaire. It was then decided that the Atlantic winds would soon huff and puff and blow the house down so the whole structure was enclosed by a stone wall..
In the main room stood the mast, 15 inches thick and over 25 feet tall passing through the centre of the lantern. The lantern was surrounded by a wooden balcony and four lengths of chain secured the mast. The light went into operation three months after the Calf Rock light was washed away on 2nd February 1882 and it did its job well until the Bull Rock Lighthouse opened for business on the first day of 1889.
The wooden structure and the lantern and balcony are gone but the stone walls remain, still pretty intact. They are indeed a welcome haven for the weary hiker who has braved the gale force winds for four miles from Dursey Sound.

View from the south

View from the west (sea)

View from the north west

NOTICE TO MARINERS. (No. 27.)—IRELAND—SOUTH-WEST COAST. BANTRY BAY APPROACH. Dursey Island—Flashing Light on Dursey Head. WITH reference to Notice to Mariners, No. 1, of-3rd January, 1882, on the partial destruction of Calf Rock Lighthouse, and the intended exhibition of a temporary light on the south-west extremity of Dursey Island :— The Commissioners of Irish Lights have given further notice, that on 1st February, 1882, the light (similar in character to that recently shown from the Calf Rock Lighthouse), was exhibited from a temporary lighthouse erected on Dursey Head, the south-west extremity of Dursey Island. The light is a flashing white light, showing a flash every fifteen seconds, visible -between the bearings of S.W. S., through, east, and W.N.W., it is elevated about 189 feet above the sea, and should be visible in clear weather from a distance of 16 miles. The lighthouse bears E.N.E. from Calf Rock, distant 8 cables. Position, lat. 51° 34' 40" N., long, 10° 14' 0" W. [The  bearings are magnetic. Variation 21° Westerly in 1882.']

Interior of the main room

Still sturdy walls

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