where the land meets the sea

Baily Lighthouse, Howth

in Buildings/Lighthouses

Baily was the last Irish Lighthouse to be unwatched, when during 1996-7 the lighthouse was converted to automatic operation.

There was a type of lighthouse built on Howth Head around 1667. It used a beacon powered by coal and was essentially just a small house.

The coal burning light was replaced by a a lantern in 1790. This used six Argand oil lamps, each with a silvered copper parabolic reflector directing the light through six bulls eye panes set in the lantern, which acted as lenses. It was never reliable, like a lot of light-houses at the time. It’s position on the hill made it vulnerable to the light be obscured by fog.

The Corporation for Preserving and Improving the Port of Dublin, who had taken over the fourteen coastal lighthouses from the Revenue Commissioners in 1810, recommended on 5th December 1811 that the lighthouse be placed lower down on the headland at the Little Baily, or Duncriffan. This new light-house had a fixed white catoptric light comprising twenty four Argand oil lamps and reflectors was established, 134 feet (41m) above high water, on 17th March 1814.

The tower of granite was painted white and stayed like that til 1910 when it was changed to its original granite colour.


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