Built on the site of a 17th century fort known as ‘Fleetwood’ Fort, one of two built on Valentia Island around this time, Valentia Island Lighthouse at Cromwell Point, Ireland, has stood against sea and invader for hundreds of years.
A standing stone, dating back to the Bronze Age (3000-1200 BC) still marks the site at Cromwell Point where it was built and, still today, this gleaming white lighthouse on beautiful island looks out across some of the most spectacular sights along the Wild Atlantic Way.
The outline of the Cromwell Point fort with its bastions and barrack inside its wall can still be easily traced from the air, lying just inside the lighthouse enclosure wall.
Built in 1653 to guard the entrance to Valentia Harbour against invaders, 40 soldiers and eight cannons were stationed here.
And supposedly there’s a dungeon below the lighthouse!
The first light for Cromwell Point was originally applied for on 30 March 1828 by the Right Honorary Maurice Fitzgerald, Knight of Kerry, but works commenced on the lighthouse ten years later in 1838, and the light was first exhibited on 1 February 1841.
The lighthouse was designed by famed civil engineer, George Halpin Senior.
The light boasted 2000-candle power and could be seen for 12 miles in clear weather.
A lighthouse keeper lived with his family on site until 1947, when the lighthouse was automated.
Curious fact, the fossilised footprints of a tetrapod, the first four-legged animal with a backbone, are located near the lighthouse. One of them stepped from water onto land here over 300 million years ago.
Beginish Island, just across from Valentia Lighthouse, was inhabited by Vikings between the 9th and 12th centuries and, in fact, two Viking settlements were excavated on Beginish in 1965.
From the lighthouse, you’ll see one of the landing points for the transatlantic cable that connected Europe with North America for the first time in 1866 – marking the birth of modern communication.
This lighthouse 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