Worldwide Lighthouses

Ballycotton Lighthouse

Ballycotton

General Information


Established: 1851

Current Lighthouse Built: 1851

Height: 15 Metres (49.21 Feet)

Automated: 1992

Electrified: 1975

Light Information


White: 21 Nautical Miles Between (238°) and (48°)

Red: 17 Nautical Miles Between (48°) and (238°)

Ballycotton island and it's lighthouse, situated 1.2 miles from Ballycotton village is a prominent landmark around the bay.

The island it stands on is essentially a very steep hill. The lighthouse stands atop the highest point, amongst a cluster of other buildings including a modern 1970s accommodation block and some older keeper's houses which were transformed into storage buildings.

The lighthouse is unusual in that it is painted almost completely black, other than the gallery railings around the lantern, which are painted red.

The light is exhibited by a sealed beam array - not dis-similar to a bank of electric car headlamps with reflectors. The rotating array gives a flash every 10 seconds, which appears red from the shore-side of the lighthouse and white from the seaward side.

The lighthouse was automated in 1992, at which point the last keepers left and 2004 saw an electricity cable laid from the main land to the island. The engines that had powered the lighthouse up to this time were retained as a backup - these engines will automatically start in any power failure.

A reed horn fog signal was installed on the lighthouse balcony in 1909 and was sounded 6 times every 2 minutes and this was replaced in 1939 at which point a diaphone was sounded from one of the first floor windows of the lighthouse, giving four 1.5 second blasts - each separated by 2 seconds, followed by a silence of 78 seconds. In 1977 a 'new' fog signal was established using an air receiver from Lightship Osprey and a trumpet from Inishtrahull lighthouse - irelands most northern lighthouse.

In 1991 the diaphone was replaced by an electronic signal. At this time the light was changed to also operate during reduced visibility during the day, if the fog signal was automatically triggered to sound, prior to which the light had only operated at night time.

The station's fog signal was discontinued in January of 2011.

In 1936 the Daunt Rock Lightship broke lose from her moorings during a strong gale. The conditions were described to be so rough that sea spray was blown over the top of the lighthouse, which stands almost 60 metres above the water. The lightship's crew of eight was saved by the Ballycotton RNLI lifeboat service in a rescue for which the RNLI crew were awarded bronze medals for.

modernisation in 1975, at which point the station was converted to electric operation.