Eeragh is a sea light on the northernmost extremity of the chain of Aran Islands. The 31 metre high tower guides traffic into the North Sound of Galway bay.
As mentioned in the text on Inisheer, Eeragh came about as result of pressure from The Galway Harbour Commissioners to replace the 1818 Inishmore tower with lights on the north and south approaches to Galway bay. By late 1853, George Halpin Snr recorded that the two lighthouses, constructed from the local crystalline limestone, were at second floor level and the adjoining dwellings were near complete. It was first exhibited along with Inisheer in 1857. Originally, it’s day markings were white with two red bands, but in 1932, this was changed to white with two black bands.
It’s only a short crossing to Inishmore, but the waters can be treacherous and especially in rough weather, the keepers could be stranded for long stretches of time. As late as 1968, a generator set was first being installed to provide domestic power for the keepers. About the same time, boat reliefs were replaced by helicopter sorties originally operating from Clifden and now from Rossaveal.
John Ford’s movie, the Man of Aran is remembered fondly for among other things, the sight of basking sharks feeding off the Aran Islands. Early summer is the time of year to catch sight of these migratory leviathans and the waters around Eeragh and are good place see them. Growing up to 8 metres long, basking sharks are the second largest fish alive today. They migrate along the world’s temperate waters and—while not quite rare—are an exceptional treat to see in Irish waters. Despite being part of the shark family, they’re not at all aggressive and are harmless to humans.
Automation of Eeragh took place in June 1978 and on November 2006 the light was replaced by a solar powered light with a reduced range of 18 nautical miles.
Location: 53°08.909′ North, 09°51.402′ West.
Elevation: 35 metres
Character: Fl W 15s
Range: 34 nautical miles
As anyone who has visited the Aran islands will attest, it’s not just the amount of bare rock, but the gigantic slabs of karst that seem to have been sheared from a larger formation that impress. It’s as if the icebergs and ice shelfs of the Antartic were made of limestone and had drifted north.
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