Blackhead Lighthouse, located only half an hour from Belfast and on the Causeway Coastal Route, was built in 1902. It marks the very northern end of Belfast Lough where it opens out into the North Channel that separates Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Over the years, It would have guided many famous vessels during Belfast’s golden age of shipping, including the ill-fated Titanic.
It was converted to electric operation in 1965, and lightkeepers lived at the station until 1975.
It is one of 65 lighthouses operated by the Commissioners of Irish Lights around the coast of Ireland and continues to provide a vital role in maritime safety today.
The lighthouse consists of an octagonal stone tower 16 metres high, with lantern and gallery painted white. The main two-storey keeper’s house is built close by and linked to the tower by an enclosed walkway. There is also an adjacent detached superintendent’s house.
The houses contain interesting fragments of lighthouse paraphernalia, including the whistle pipe system used to wake up the next watch.
With a focal height of 45 metres above the sea, the light from the first order Fresnel lens with its 400W bulb can be seen for 27 nautical miles, with a characteristic of a single white flash every 3 seconds.
The keeper’s houses at the lighthouse were refurbished by the Irish Landmark Trust, and are now offered as holiday accommodation.
There’s a lovely coastal path that takes you up past sea caves and coves towards the Gobbins or south to the Victorian seaside resort of Whitehead.
The zone is an Area of Special Scientific Interest famed for its bird population.
Images from web – Google Research