In the early 1800’s Dunmore was a sleepy fishing village best known for the bounty of herring shoals off Baginbun Bay at the onset of winter. In 1814 it was chosen by the Post Office to be the Irish terminal of a new Mail Packet route from Milford Haven in Wales. The Post Office engaged the Scottish Engineer, Alexander Nimmo, to design and build a new harbour to accommodate the mail ships. His design included the elegant lighthouse which takes the form of a fluted Doric column with the lantern on top of the capital and a cast iron lattice balcony below. The tower reaches a height of 13.5 meters above high water but because of the way it’s integrated into the harbour wall, it seems much shorter from the seaward side. If you stand on that harbour wall and look south across of the estuary of the Three Rivers (the Barrow, Nore and Suir), you’ll see Hook Head lighthouse and to its left, the spooky silhouette of Loftus Hall. The hall is said to be haunted by the Devil himself alongside the ghost of a young lady who was part of a group playing him at cards. He flew through the roof in a rage when his disguise was uncovered, she having spotted his cloven hooves beneath the card table. The poor lady lost her mind, while the identity of the other players and who exactly pocketed the winnings remains a mystery!
The forty steps to the sea at Creadan Head on the Dunmore side of the estuary mark the end of an ancient celtic route called Bóthar na Mná Gorm or the road of the blue women and passes the nearby bronze age tomb known as the Giant’s Grave which is believed to be over four thousand years old.
The passenger and mail service to Dunmore from Milford Haven continued until 1835 when Waterford replaced it as the Irish terminal thus avoiding a lengthy road journey out to Dunmore.
In 1903 the Lighthouse was cleaned of its original whitewash and restored to its natural stone colour. In the mid sixties, acetylene gave way to electricity and in August 1981 the optic lamp was converted to mains electricity.
Location: 52°08.935′ North, 06°59.337′ West.
Elevation: 13 m
Character: Fl WR 8s
Range: White: 31 km, Red: 24 km.
During the summer, Dumore East and its harbour are frequent weekend destinations for the family, being only a short drive from Kilkenny. The coast along this part of the country is less celebrated than the west, but no less interesting—and the lighthouse at Dunmore, with views across to the Hook, is a great spot on a sunny afternoon.
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