Perched on the low-lying rocky shore to the east of Dungarvan Bay, Ballinacourty Lighthouse was established at the initiative of the merchants and ship owners of Dungarvan to guide ships into the town. It was first exhibited in 1858 and stands 16 meters above sea level, the tower being constructed of local limestone.
By the late 1800’s iron or steel had replaced wood as the favoured material for building ships. These heavier, faster ships were valuable and the owners and the captain would be loath to abandon the vessel unless absolutely necessary. Off the Waterford coast at Ballinacourty, this was to prove fatal to the crew and passengers aboard the Moresby, which set sail from Cardiff, bound for South America, but destined to a watery grave in Dungarvan bay.
Two days before Christmas in 1895, the outbound ship had run into rough weather off Ireland’s south coast and the second mate was dispatched below to fetch some plum pudding. “Eat up boys, this is the last plum pudding you will ever taste,” he shouted over the gale and in silence the crew tucked in to the far from festive fare. Shortly after midday both the Moresby and the schooner Mary Sinclair had been spotted in trouble by the keeper at Ballinacourty Lighthouse. The schooner ran aground and the Moresby set anchor about half a kilometre from the lighthouse. The Ballinacourty lifeboat rowed out to see if anyone wanted to be taken off. None wanted to do so, but during the night the weather deteriorated and the Moresby sent out distress signals. Shortly after, the anchor broke and the ship listed onto its side. Eventually the crew had no option but to jump ship and swim for it. Unfortunately there was an ebb tide in the bay and the Captain, his wife and their 3-year-old daughter were swept away from the coast. By the time the lifeboat reached the scene and hauled in the exhausted sailors, out of a company of twenty-five, only five reached shore alive.
The lighthouse is closed to the public and there is no direct route, as it is bounded by a golf course and private property. The only way to get there is to walk along the rocky shore from the beach at Clonea or Ballinacourty Point.
In 1929 Ballinacourty was converted to acetylene and electrification followed in February 1964.
Location: 52°04.688′ North, 07°33.182′ West.
Elevation: 16 metres
Character: Fl (2) WRG 10s
Range: W: 18 km, R & G: 15 km
This beautiful lighthouse lies perched on the low-lying rocky shore to the east of Dungarvan Bay. Ballinacourty Lighthouse was established to guide ships into Dungarvan and first shone out in 1858. Because it’s bounded by a golf course and private property, it’s a tough spot to access. One of the few routes get there is to walk along the rocky shore from the beach at Clonea or Ballinacourty Point.
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