The Kish Bank is a shallow sand bank about 11 kilometres off the coast of Dublin bay. Until the present Lighthouse was installed in 1965, the bank had been signaled by various lightships dating back as far as 1811. In foggy weather the ship would sound a gong, but when the Holyhead Packet was expected an 18-pounder gun was fired. An attempt was made to build a lighthouse here using screw piles invented by Alexander Mitchell in 1842 but was abandoned when the building was destroyed by severe weather. Lightships of various sorts continued to be used right up until the last of these, the “Gannet” was withdrawn with the establishment of the new lighthouse.
In 1960 the Commissioners of Irish Lights investigated the possibility of erecting a platform similar to those used in the oil rigging industry. This would however be a reinforced concrete lighthouse with helicopter landing pad on top, rather than a steel structure. Design proposals were invited and the contract was eventually awarded to the Danish company Christiani & Nielsen. The lighthouse was built in the Coal Harbour at Dún Laoghaire. The first section of lighthouse cracked while it was being built and had to be discarded. It ended up forming part of the outer harbor wall at Greystones.
The second telescopic lighthouse was successfully completed and towed to its position in July 1965, where it was extended to its full height of 30 meters, with a projected lifetime of 75 years.
For just over a quarter century, the white tower with its distinctive red band and topped off with a helicopter pad, was manned by a crew of three. The tower is a self-contained unit of 12 floors which includes keepers’ quarters, storage, a generator, radio equipment and of course the lantern.
Crew were transferred in rough weather to the lighthouse by winching in a cradle pod from the lighthouse tender ship. In 1992, the lighthouse was automated and the keepers withdrawn, ending another chapter in the history of Irish lighthouses.
Location: 53°18.650′ North, 05°55.542′ West.
Elevation: 29 m
Character: Fl (2) 20s. 24 hour light
Range: 40 km
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