Loop Head Lighthouse (Irish: Ceann Léime, meaning “leap head”) is perched right at the end of Loop Head Peninsula in stunning West Clare, Ireland.
It is the major landmark on the northern shore of the Shannon River.
Weather permitting, from here you’ll enjoy fantastic views south as far as the Blasket Islands and north to the Twelve Pins in Connemara, along the Wild Atlantic Way. It’s also the perfect place to spot whales, dolphins and seals from, while the rock ledges and caves of the dramatic cliffs are home to many (and noisy) seabirds.
There has been a lighthouse at this important navigational location since approximately 1670.
Originally, it was a coal burning brazier on a platform on the roof of the cottage lighthouse where the lightkeeper and his family lived, and you can still see part of the old cottage on the site.
Predictably the light was not reliable and in this remote location, difficult to manage, and it fell into disrepair.
The first real lighthouse was built in 1802 and replaced with a new tower in 1854.
In 1869 its light changed from being fixed to flashing, 20 seconds of light followed by 4 of dark, an effect achieved by rotating a screen around the lamp. This operation was originally manually “wound up” and not replaced by electric until 1971, and the station was automated in 1991.
In 2010, the Loop Head peninsula was awarded a European Destinations of Excellence Award, an EU accolade for emerging tourism destinations which are developing in a responsible and sustainable manner.
In 2013, Loop Head was named the “Best Place to Holiday in Ireland” by The Irish Times, and was shortlisted in the Best Destination category at the World Responsible Tourism awards.
Part of the film Star Wars: The Last Jedi was filmed there.
The head has a giant “Eire” sign left over from World War II during The Emergency in Ireland, and the area attracts geologists from all over the world.
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.
Images from web – Google Research