Dunree Lighthouse on the Inishowen peninsula is built 46m above the high water sea level and commands a spectacular position overlooking over Lough Swilly and out to the wild Atlantic. It was built in 1876 after the Duke of Abercorn requested better lighting for the Lough and suggested converting the two forts at Macamish and Dunree. These two Martello towers had been built by the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars and were of strategic importance guarding the entrance to Lough Swilly. The threat of invasion was not deemed over and the government was reluctant to dispose of the towers. Following a survey of numerous potential sites, a position on higher ground to the north was settled on. It had the advantage that at this height, it needed be no higher than a single story and so the lighthouse was designed with the lantern attached at ground level to the front of the dwelling.
The character of the light is Flashing (2) WR 5 seconds. Its range is 22 kilometres white and 17 kilometres red. In 1927 the light was converted to unwatched acetylene, which meant that the then keeper, John Murphy, no longer had to keep a night watch. The light was converted to electric in 1969.
In 2015 a new automated light was installed seaward of the old lighthouse with a new elevation of 49 metres. Its range and arc remain unchanged.
Location: 55°11.888′ North, 07°33.250′ West.
Elevation: 46 m
Character: Fl (2) WR 5s
Range: W: 22 km, R: 17 km
Dunree is a little unusual in being a one-story lighthouse. Its altitude required no further elevation or it would have been in the clouds. As it is, it has incredible views out into Lough Swilly and the Atlantic beyond.
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