Straw Island Lighthouse


Straw island Lighthouse on inshore on the Aran islands

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

Straw Island is a small sandy island that lies at the approaches to the harbour of Cill Rónáin on Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands. The lighthouse on Straw Island is a small but highly important Aid to Navigation since aside from fishing trawlers, the Aran Islands see a quarter of a million visitors annually travelling to their shores, mostly by water. The light was the result of a lengthy battle of letters that took place over twenty years at the tail end of the 19th Century to have a local light built to replace the discontinued light near Eochaill on Inishmore. That light had been established in 1818 but unfortunately it was positioned too high, at over 122 metres above sea level, and more often than not was shrouded in cloud or mist. Its light also failed to cover the North and South approaches to Galway Bay. Inishmore was replaced in 1857 by lights on Eeragh and Inisheer.

Despite the protracted negotiations, the light was eventually established in September of 1878. The tower stands just short of 11 metres high and is narrower than usual with a diameter of just 2.4 metres. It had a principal keeper until 1913 when for almost twenty years, an assistant keeper was instead in charge of the station. In each case, if the keeper was married, his wife acted as a female assistant. If the keeper was unmarried, then he was assisted by a supernumerary keeper. In 1926 the lighthouse was converted to unwatched acetylene  and a decade later, all redundant rooms of the dwellings were removed, leaving just the generator house, a short corridor to the tower and two stores against the back wall.

Straw Island was converted to electric in September 1980.

Location:     53°07.065′ North, 09°37.840′ West.

Elevation:    11m

Character:   Fl (2) W 5s

Range:         28 km

A Note from the Artist

At the southerly end of Inish Mór sits Straw Island lighthouse. From the angle I’ve taken, it looks sheltered and cosy, but this is the Atlantic coast and storms are never far away. In January of 2014, there was a particularly fierce one which crashed over the outer walls and put the whole station out of action. Glad I wasn’t around for that!



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