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The Muglins Continues to Be A Beacon of Light Following Works on Dublin Bay Islet

25th June 2019
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On these siren rocks... personnel from Irish Lights attend to an annual inspection and routine duties at the light located at The Muglins, a rocky islet off Dalkey Island in south Dublin Bay. The tender had also transferred equipment from the ILV Granuaile, the aids to navigation tender vessel which featured in Ships Monthly's magazine (A view from the Bridge), June 2010 issue including a photo of the ILV tender on the occasion of the upgraded Irish Lights headquarters and marine operations depot located in Dun Laoghaire Harbour. On these siren rocks... personnel from Irish Lights attend to an annual inspection and routine duties at the light located at The Muglins, a rocky islet off Dalkey Island in south Dublin Bay. The tender had also transferred equipment from the ILV Granuaile, the aids to navigation tender vessel which featured in Ships Monthly's magazine (A view from the Bridge), June 2010 issue including a photo of the ILV tender on the occasion of the upgraded Irish Lights headquarters and marine operations depot located in Dun Laoghaire Harbour. Photo: Jehan Ashmore

The Muglins light off Dalkey which marks the southern approaches of Dublin Bay has recently been inspected and recieved routine maintenance, writes Jehan Ashmore.

According to the Commissioners of Irish Lights, the light is an effective and conspicuous aids to navigation (AtoN) for the approaches to Dublin Bay from the south, both during the day and at night.

ILV Granauile, the Irish Lights aids to navigation tender which visits The Muglins (p.13) on an annual basis this year took an anchorage closer to Lamb Island. This is the largest of several smaller islands that form a protective chain leading off Dalkey Island which is closer to the mainland (300 metres) compared to The Muglins which is more exposed been some 500m north-east and situated further out in Dublin Bay.

As part of the Irish Lights' annual planned maintenance programme, work on The Muglins began last Tuesday. This involved a range of checks on the light, the solar panel system (see photo: at top of light) as well as the structure of the tower and the boat landing where Afloat observed a tender from ILV Granuaile transfer personnel and equipment onto the rockey islet.

In addition at The Muglins a risk assessment took place and checks were completed for the station which sports a distinctive white and red band scheme. Noting the inclusion of the central red band was adopted in 1883, three years after the light then designated a beacon (a 30ft stone built structure and conical in shape) was erected according to Bill Long author of 'Bright Light, White Water'. It was between the 9th to 18th centuries where Dublin was far from ideal to conduct itself as a port from which to conduct foreign trade.

Access to Dublin was dangerous due to constantly shifting sandbanks and so Dalkey, two miles south-east of Dun Loaghaire, saw during the Middle Ages for the most part ships instead of using the Port of Dublin took an alternative in Dalkey Sound which afforded relative shelter when at anchorage. This enabled transferring cargoes by lighters ashore to Dalkey's seven fortified town houses/castles built to store the goods which were off-loaded in Dalkey in the Middle Ages, when Dalkey acted as the port for Dublin. 

The Muglins forms part of the Dublin Bay aids to navigation group and it is at the islet where for a long time posed a dangerous hazard to mariners and caused many ships to flounder in these waters. This led to the harbourmaster of Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire), Captain William Hutchison in 1873 to plea for a light to be sited on 'these siren rocks'.

Despite a subesquent list of vessels numbering 12 that Captain Hutchison furnished to the respective authorities at that time, there was indecision between Trinity House, The Board of Trade and the Commissioners of Irish Lights on the plea to erect a light for seafarers. All was too change when a 13th wreck was added by the Captain which ultimately raised the issue again and saw plans to commission the light which was eventually completed in 1880.

In addition to the recent works at The Muglins, ILV Granuaile then proceeded to neighbouring Killiney Bay. Following an overnight anchorage operations took place in a central area closer to the open sea where the coastal shipping lane for Dublin Port is busy with traffic.

The work in Killiney Bay involved ILV Granuaile at an outfall buoy which was contract work that Irish Lights carry out on behalf of Irish Water and where the Shangannagh /Bray Wastewater Treatment Plant (page 3) is located on the shore of the bay near Shankill. The plant close to the Co. Wicklow border was upgraded in 2011 and is capable of treating 43,700m³ of wastewater a day and according to Water Technology is estimated to serve a population of 248,000 people.

The infrastructure upgrade at the plant was carried out by Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council in association with Wicklow County Council and Bray Town Council. The aim of the upgrade on the existing facility was to ensure the plant be in accordance with the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive and associated Irish Regulations. In addition it allowed the new facility to comply with other EU directives and national regulations meant for environment protection.

Published in Lighthouses
Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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