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Loop Head Lighthouse Visitor Numbers Up

25th July 2014
Loop Head Lighthouse Visitor Numbers Up

#loophead – One of Clare's newest and most popular tourism attractions, Loop Head Lighthouse has recorded an increase in visitor numbers this summer compared to 2013.

New figures show that the expansion of services at Shannon Airport and the designation of the West Clare tourism landmark as one of the discovery points along the route of the Wild Atlantic Way is having a positive impact on visitor numbers.

Figures released today by Clare County Council, which manages the facility in conjunction with the Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIL), reveal that 7,732 people have visited the 19th century lighthouse since it was opened for the summer period in late April, representing a 4% increase on the same period in 2013.

The local authority says 57% of the total visitor figure was represented by domestic visitors, with North America, Germany and the United Kingdom accounting for 10%, 9% and 6% of the overall figure respectively. Italian and French visitors meanwhile, represent just over 5% of the total figure.

Martin Gleeson, Supervisor at Loop Head Lighthouse commented: "This is fantastic news for the Lighthouse and the wider Loop Head Peninsula when you consider we are only now entering the peak tourism season. The launch of the Wild Atlantic Way, the development of new services at Shannon Airport, and the upgrading of visitor facilities at the lighthouse have been significant contributory factors to the growth in visitors. There is a noticeable increase in visitors from Germany and North America with the French and Italian markets also appearing particularly strong."

"The success of the Loop Head Lighthouse visitor project is indicative of the wider Peninsula's increasing popularity as a sustainable, visitor destination," added Kathy Lordan, Tourism & Community, Clare County Council.

Ms. Lordan continued: "The Council maintains a positive working relationship with local communities and indeed, Loop Head Tourism in developing, managing and showcasing the wonderful tourism assets on offer at the Peninsula from Loophead Lighthouse to the Bridges of Ross to Kilkee Bay. I am sure the marketing of the Peninsula and continued investment in the local tourism infrastructure that numbers visiting the area will show further increases during the remainder of the summer season and in future years."

Loop Head Lighthouse, located at the mouth of the Shannon Estuary, is steeped in history and rich in maritime heritage with its origins dating back to the 1670s. The existing tower style lighthouse was constructed in 1854 and was operated and maintained by a keeper who lived within the lighthouse compound.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny's grandfather was a keeper at the lighthouse. James John McGinley took up duty at the Lighthouse as Principal Keeper on 16th January 1933. He spent 1 year and 10 months at Loop Head. He was transferred from the station in October 1934. In January 1991, the lighthouse was converted to automatic operation, and today is in the care of an attendant and is also monitored by the CIL.

Loop Head Lighthouse will remain open daily (10am-6pm) until the end of September. Admission, which includes the exhibition and guided tour of the site, is Adults (€5), Children (€2) and Family Passes for up to 2 adults + 3 children (€12). Visit www.loophead.ie or www.clare.ie for more information on Loop Head Lighthouse and the Loop Head Peninsula.

Published in Lighthouses
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Irish Lights is responsible for providing marine aids to navigation under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention. This remit includes: providing and maintaining over 300 general aids to navigation, managing about 4,000 local aids to navigation and marking or removing dangerous wrecks outside harbour areas around Ireland. Irish Lights also provides contract commercial services for ship charter, buoy and marine data services and supports tourism and heritage activities.

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