Twelve lighthouses scattered around coastal counties of Ireland will become tourist attractions and even accommodation for visitors, under a new initiative by Irish Lights.
Irish Lights, the lighthouse authority for Ireland have teamed up with the Department of Tourism to launch a new tourism drive called the Great Lighthouses of Ireland, which will look to contribute to the Wild Atlantic Way and the new Ancient East initiative.
According to the Irish Examiner, Great Lighthouses will open up a dozen lighthouses to the public that will include visitor centers, guided tours and the unique opportunity to stay for a night in one of the historical buildings.
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The lighthouses included in the new initiative are:
- Fanad Head in Donegal (pictured)
- St John’s Point in Donegal
- Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre in Antrim
- Black Head in Antrim
- St John’s Point in Down
- Wicklow Head in Wicklow
- Hook in Wexford
- Ballycotton in Cork
- Galley Head in Cork
- Valentia Island in Kerry
- Loop Head in Clare
- Clare Island in Mayo
Commissioners of Irish Lights operates more than 70 automatic lighthouses across the island, which are still used for maritime safety. Chief executive Yvonee Shields explained how they can have other uses now that they are less vital to sea vessels.
“Advances in technology and automation means that we no longer need as much of the old physical infrastructure at lighthouses to operate our aids to navigation today.
“So as part of a new strategy we are developing a range of new uses for our infrastructure and tourism is an obvious option for some of our lighthouses. This project celebrates and shares the history, tradition and heritage of our organisation as well as sustaining it for the future,” she said.
Tourism Minister Paschal Donohoe endorsed the plan when he spoke at the Commissioners head office in Dun Laoghaire.
"The Great Lighthouses of Ireland is a unique and exciting collaboration between many people and organisations, each with different and specialist skills, who have come together to create something exceptional,” said the minister.