Breathtaking Beacons Around the Emerald Isle
Lighthouses are the crown jewels of Ireland’s rugged coastlines. Each has its own unique story, making them so much more than just towers with a light bulb on top. These ancient towers have been standing tall for centuries, welcoming sailors and travelers of all kinds to the rolling green hills of the Emerald Isle.
Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or just someone who wants a great view for their next selfie, Irish lighthouses offer something for everyone. Strap on your best walking shoes—there’s a lot of steps to the top!—and check out our list of a few of the most beautiful beacons around.
We’re going to turn the page back with Hook Lighthouse in County Wexford which has been illuminating the night since the 12th century. Yes, you read that right—Hook Lighthouse was built over 800 years ago making it the oldest lighthouse in Ireland and the second oldest lighthouse in the world.
Hook Lighthouse has been described as the “Great Granddaddy of Lighthouses”. It’s a pretty old school operation; electricity didn’t come to the lighthouse until 1972. Since 2001, Hook Lighthouse has operated as a tourist attraction. Bring the whole family to climb to the top, take in the panoramic views and even participate in interactive exhibits.
Got a budding influencer in your party? You’ll want to visit County Donegal, and specifically Fanad Lighthouse. This drop-dead gorgeous beauty is the Instagram star of Irish lighthouses. Nestled between Lough Swilly and Mulroy Bay, its stunning setting will have you snapping photos left, right, and center. Plus, the northern lights sometimes make an appearance here. Talk about a two-for-one deal!
Loop Head Lighthouse
If you like your adventures with a little less crowd and a lot more solitude, Loop Head Lighthouse in County Clare is your go-to. There has been a lighthouse on this spot, guarding the mouth of the River Shannon, since 1670.
Located at the tip of the Loop Head Peninsula, this spot offers breathtaking cliffs and a chance to spot dolphins and whales! It’s like a nature painting, but you’re actually in it. Loop Head will take some effort to reach than other lighthouses on our list, but it is worth the extra energy.
Galley Head Lighthouse
The Galley Head Lighthouse in County Cork brings an air of mystery to our virtual lighthouse tour. Built in 1875, local legends say it’s haunted by ancient shipwrecks and ghostly sailors. If you’re into ghost stories, this is your place. And if you think you’re up to spending the night—you can!
But don’t worry, there’s more than just spooks here. Galley Head is notable for its unusual light which emits six flashes of white light for sixteen seconds every minute. Not to mention, the lighthouse also offers a beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean that’ll have you saying, “Ghosts, who?”
If you’re staying in Dublin and you don’t want to stray too far for a lighthouse adventure, then Baily Lighthouse is your best bet. Just a short trip from the city, this lighthouse on Howth Head offers striking views of Dublin Bay. And get this—it’s been guiding ships since 1667. That means Baily Lighthouse has been a Dubliner longer than the Guinness Brewery!
Perched atop a rocky isle, the Fastnet Lighthouse in County Cork. stands tall as the southernmost point of Ireland. The lighthouse stands 54 meters tall and cuts a majestic silhouette on the remote Fastnet Rock. How remote is it? The island that Fastnet Lighthouse stands on is 3.5 nautical miles from the coast.
Many people fondly refer to Fastnet Lighthouse as “Ireland’s Teardrop”. This is a nod to the lighthouse being the last piece of Irish land seen by emigrants traveling to America.
A Taste of Home with Tommy Moloney’s
After a long day exploring, there’s nothing like a hearty meal to fill you up. So, bring Ireland right to your kitchen table with Tommy Moloney’s premium Irish meats. It’s the perfect way to end an Irish adventure, even if it’s just from your living room!