Inishtearaght Lighthouse


Inishtearaght Lighthouse in the Blasket islands off Kerry’s coast.

A4 (210 x 297mm) : 250g/m² archival art paper

A3 (297 x 420mm) : 250g/m² archival art paper

Artist: Roger O’Reilly

The artist signs each poster.

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A Bit of History

Inishtearaght (from the Irish, An Tiaracht; Western) is one of the Blasket Islands and the most westerly land in Europe apart from the nearby Foze Rocks and beyond that, Iceland. The island is inhospitable – two steep pinnacles rise to 106 metres and 200 metres, joined by a saddle and a more rounded peak of 180 metres.

The Ballast Board in Ireland and Trinity House in London were in disagreement over where to site this western lighthouse. The exposed Foze rocks were the preference of the Elder Brethern at Trinity House, but Dublin won the day and in 1864 the initial survey of the site was completed. To say that the build was a challenge would be putting it mildly. A level site needed to be cleared midway up the sheer side of the island, with provision for accommodation blocks and ancillary buildings. Three keepers were going to have to operate here for extended periods and somehow provide for themselves with relation to food and drinking water. The herculean task of preparing the site was accomplished by 1869 and in May the following year, the light debuted. At the same time the upper light on the Skelligs was discontinued.

Initially, the families of the keepers also lived on the rock. The logistics of keeping toddlers away from the cliff’s edge, dealing with illness, schooling and simply feeding that amount of people from the scarce provisions available must have been monumental. By 1896 the station had been made relieving and the families were rehoused in Knightstown on Valentia Island.

To provide fresh milk, goats were kept on the island. They were nimble and sure footed, more so than their keepers, one of whom fell to his death in 1913 while rounding them up for milking.

On 6th April 1988 the lighthouse was converted to automatic operation and the Keepers were withdrawn from the station.

Now, aside from the puffins, petrels and a few very skinny rabbits, Inishtearacht is deserted and the lighthouse continues its lonely vigil under solar power and back-up generators.

Location:     52°04.541′ North, 010°39.677′ West.

Elevation:    84 m

Character:   Fl (2) 20s

Range:          35 km



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