Wicklow Head Lighthouse


Wicklow Head Lighthouse on Irelands Hook eastern coast south of Dublin.

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

Back in 1781, it was decided to build two octagonal lighthouses on Wicklow Head, the most easterly point in the Republic. The two lights were established to mark the headland but also to distinguish it from Howth and Hook Head, which only had one light apiece. By lining up the two lights, ships masters also had a lead west northwest between the treacherous India sandbank and the Arklow bank.

The rear or higher of the two original towers survives to this day, the front tower was demolished as part of the next development which led to the construction of the “new” Wicklow Head lighthouse illustrated at right.

While the intention of placing a beacon as high as possible on the headland to cast light far and wide appears sound, fog has a tendency to obscure (literally) the realisation of that vision. It was quickly concluded that the lights needed to be situated lower on the promontory and so in 1818 the new lighthouse was established on the cliff edge as a front light while a new rear tower was erected near the site of the old lower tower.

Confused? We’re not finished yet!

In the meantime, the old upper tower remained in place as a landmark, but was struck by lightning and caught fire rendering it uninhabitable. The chief engineer George Halpin recommended it should be capped with a brick dome a soon as possible to preserve it and with all due haste, this was completed thirty years later.

In 1865 a new light vessel, the “Wicklow Swash” rendered the new rear tower obsolete and was itself withdrawn two years later when lightships were established at the Codling banks and North Arklow.

In spring 1994, the lighthouse was converted to automatic operation and the keepers were withdrawn from the station.

The rear octagonal tower survives today under the care of the Landmark trust and is now available as holiday accommodation as part of the Great Lighthouses of Ireland initiative.

Location:    52°57.947′ North, 05°59.889′ West.

Elevation:   37 m

Character:  Fl (3) W 15s

Range:        43 km

A Note from the Artist

This is the ‘new’ lighthouse. It was a toss-up as to whether to do this view or one from the hill above, but at this stage of the series I wanted more sails, so the sea view won out! Down below the lighthouse unseen, a colony of seals bask in the sun!



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