Little Samphire Island Lighthouse sits on a small rock in the spectacular surroundings of Tralee bay. The lighthouse is a 12 metre high, unpainted stone-built tower, enclosed by a high wall located just south of the port of Fenit.
In the mid 1800’s Fenit was an expanding centre. The only commercial port between Foynes and Cork, the harbor has traditionally served as the merchant’s port for Tralee. The safety of shipping using the port needed to be assured and the Tralee and Fenit Pier and Harbour Board worked to ensure that this was the case
In 1851, with building complete, the keepers moved into their Spartan accommodation and the light was first exhibited. While it’s only a short boat ride to the mainland, inclement weather in the bay could maroon the keepers for weeks on end. With no fresh water, rainwater was collected off the roof. To be potable, the keepers had to ensure that no salt water contaminated it. Having a bath was a luxury. No water was wasted and following a good scrub down, underwear, socks and shirts were all washed in that same water.
Visible for 29 kilometres, the light was converted to un-watched automatic operation in 1954, at which point the keepers were withdrawn.
Little Samphire Lighthouse was converted to electricity in 1976 and to solar power in October 2013.
Weather permitting, Little Samphire Island is open to the public during summer months and tours can be had of the lighthouse.
Location: 52 16.2528 North, 9 52.9043 West
Character: Fl 5s, flash 1s, eclipse 4s,
Range: W: 26 km, R &G: 20 km
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