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St John’s Point – the tallest onshore lighthouse on the Irish coast

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If you are in Ireland, you can’t miss St John’s Point Lighthouse in gorgeous County Down.
Its strikingly tall tower is marked with vibrant bands of yellow and black that distinguish it from other lighthouses.
St. John’s Point, Rinn Eoin in Irish, is a cape at the southern tip of the Lecale peninsula of County Down Northern Ireland, separating Dundrum Bay from Killough Harbour, which forms its northern extremity.
The cape is mostly surrounded by the Irish Sea and derives its name from a now ruined church dedicated to Saint John, being recorded here since at least 1170. The lighthouse sits near its southern tip.

St. John’s Point Lighthouse was designed by George Halpin Senior, one of the most famous civil engineers of the time, and its light was first exhibited on May 1, 1844.
The original lighthouse was painted white but, in 1902, three black bands were added.
Its current markings of black with two yellow bands have been in place since 1954.
The tower was originally only 14m tall, but It was extended to its current height of 40m in the 1880s and is now the tallest onshore lighthouse on the Irish coast (Fastnet is the tallest offshore lighthouse).
The lighthouse was automated and the Keepers withdrawn on 31st May 1981. A part-time Attendant was appointed and took charge of the station.
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, operating a main light with a range of up to 29 miles (47 km), as well as auxiliary lights focused on warning passing craft of dangers in nearby Dundrum Bay. In addition to night-time operation, the light is in use during daylight hours when visibility is poor.

Interestingly, St John’s Point has a curious connection to Irish playwright Brendan Behan: his father was contracted to paint a number of lighthouses across Ireland and enlisted Brendan to paint St John’s Point in 1950. However, Brendan’s efforts were reported to be less than impressive!
Moreover, St John’s Point is one of the places mentioned in Van Morrison’s song “Coney Island”.
Today you can live the life of a lightkeeper in this remote and beautiful spot in a very comfortable and characterful self-catering accommodation in either of the two lightkeepers’ cottages, Ketch and Sloop, managed by Irish Landmark Trust.
St John’s Point is also a great base for walking, discovering the likes of Strangford Lough, an area of outstanding natural beauty, the Titanic Museum and 130-year-old Great Light in Belfast, or the early Christian church in nearby Killough.

Images from web – Google Research

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