St John’s Point Lighthouse (Donegal)


St John’s Point Lighthouse on Donegal’s southwest coast near Killybegs.

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

There are two St John’s Point lighthouses along our shores. One is in County Down and the other is here at the far end of St. John’s Point, Dunkineely, on one of the longest peninsulas in Ireland.

The lighthouse is a harbour light designed to guide vessels from Donegal Bay and is also used to mark the north side of the bay leading to Killybegs harbour  from the entrance up to Rotten Island.

The lighthouse dates back to the early 1800s. The Ballast Board received a memorial on 24th February 1825, signed by merchants and traders from what was then and still is the largest fishing port in County Donegal – Killybegs. They urgently sought a light to be established at St John’s Point to serve the port, but the wheels of progress move slowly and it was another four years before the sanction to commence was approved.

Once again, George Halpin Senior was tasked with designing and overseeing the lighthouse’s construction. The tower eventually stood 30 metres above high water and had a first order catoptric fixed light with clear weather visibility at 26 kilometres. The light was first exhibited before the final completion of the lighthouse on the 4th November 1831 and the actual build wasn’t completed until the tail end of 1833

St John’s Point moved to an automatic unwatched operation in November of 1932 and was converted from acetylene to electricity with a diesel generator on standby in  September 1962.

Another of the ‘Great Lighthouses of Ireland’ initiative, you can now stay in one of the two lightkeepers’ cottages managed by Irish Landmark Trust.

Location:     54°34.162’North, 08°27.657′ West.

Elevation:    30 metres

Character:   Fl W 6s

Range:          26 km

A Note from the Artist

Not to be confused with its namesake in County Down, the St John’s point is a popular vacation spot for people who want to experience the wild Atlantic Way up close. Choosing your viewpoint to illustrate is always a problem, with a setting like this. I could have gone for any of half a dozen, but something about the blustery weather when I visited told me I should paint it from the sea.



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