St John’s Point Lighthouse (Co Down)


St John’s Point Lighthouse at Killough Co Down.

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

Name-checked in Van Morrison’s classic song, “Coney Island”, St John’s Point lighthouse has an enviable aspect along the beautiful county Down coastline. Its strikingly tall tower is marked with vibrant bands of yellow and black. These colours, which distinguish it from other lighthouses, are known as its day mark. St. John’s Point Lighthouse was designed by George Halpin Senior, one of our most famous civil engineers and lighthouse builders. The light was first exhibited in 1844.

The original lighthouse was painted white and later in 1902 three black bands were added. Its current markings of black with two yellow bands have been in place since 1954. In the early 1950’s Brendan Behan’s father subcontracted the job of painting the lighthouse to his playwright son. Perhaps the colours didn’t suit him. Perhaps black with a creamy white band on top might have been more his cup of tea. In any case his work was poorly received and by mutual consent he never reached such heights in the painting and decorating game again. The tower was originally only 14m tall. It was extended to its current dizzying height of 40m in the 1880s and is now the tallest onshore lighthouse on the Irish coast. (Fastnet is the tallest offshore lighthouse). In 1981 the lighthouse was automated and the keepers withdrawn. A part-time attendant was appointed and took charge of the station.

Location:    54°13.605′ North, 05°39.611′ West.

Elevation:   37 m

Character:  Q (2) W 7.5s

Range:         46 km

A Note from the Artist

This is the area made famous by Van Morrison’s song “Coney Island”. It’s a stunning part of the country—with Tyrella beach around the corner, the picturesque fishing village of Ardglass down the road, and of course the imposing of St John’s Point lighthouse towering above them. I got out among the rock pools to draw the station, ever conscious of the incoming tide—I got caught once before in Skerries and had to wade back in!



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