Crookhaven Lighthouse is located on the north entrance of Ireland’s most south-westerly harbour and village. Today Crookhaven is mostly visited by pleasure craft, but for centuries it had been a base for fishing fleets, mercantile vessels and all manner of commercial craft.
The keeper of a small mainland lighthouse like this could have expected a modest wage but to make up for any shortcomings in his pay packet, the duties were light. He was required to maintain the lantern from dusk to dawn, to keep all the machinery spic and span and to keep the house and tower in good order. He could also expect a generous coal allowance from the ballast board, but crucially, unlike the keepers on the rock stations and even those on the remote headlands he wasn’t isolated from the local community.
Lighthouses tend to be painted differently to help with their identification by sailors during the day. For example, a lighthouse such as this will typically be painted all white if its surroundings or background are dark, such as fields, woodland or mountains. The majority of coastal lighthouses in Ireland fall into this category and it helps the structure stand out from its background. All black (Slyne Head and Ballycotton), or black with white bands tend to be used where the lighthouse is silhouetted against the sky from the sailor’s perspective. Red and white stripes help the mariner identify the lighthouse if the lighthouse is set against a white background, such as cliffs or rocks and for this reason, there are no lighthouses with this colour scheme along the Irish coast.
In 1961, all the cottages bar the one adjoining the lighthouse were sold by Irish lights. By the late 1990’s this too was regarded as surplus to requirements and has since become a picturesque holiday let with spectacular views across Ballydevlin Bay towards Fastnet.
Location: 51°28.593′ North, 09°42.273′ West.
Elevation: 20 metres
Character: LFl WR 8s
Range: W: 24 km, Red: 20 km
The adjoining cottage to this small mainland lighthouse is now a picturesque holiday let. Nearby are the old cottages that originally housed crews for Fastnet lighthouse and Mizen head Fog station. Today, Crookhaven is a great centre for pleasure craft of all sorts. And if, like me, you enjoy mooching about a marina, then it’s a wonderful spot to visit.
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