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The Great Lighthouses of Ireland Partnership, the all-island tourism initiative developed by the Commissioners of Irish Lights, has announced Insomnia Chairman, Entrepreneur and TV and radio personality Bobby Kerr as the new Independent Chairperson to support the project’s development. A keen yachtsman with a passion for all things maritime, Bobby will chair the body which features twelve lighthouses in breath-taking coastal locations from Donegal to Cork and from Antrim to Wexford.

In his first act as Chairperson, Bobby attended Seafest 2017 national maritime festival in Galway where he met with GLI Partners, lighthouse operators, and representatives from the Commissioner of Irish Lights.

Bobby takes up the pro-bono role at an exciting time for Great Lighthouses of Ireland, with the Partnership having recently agreed a new marketing and development strategy up to 2020 with the aim of driving up visitor numbers and growing revenue. The GLI Partnership will benefit from Bobby’s business expertise and understanding of community projects to help in building the profile of the lighthouse properties.

With tourists offered the chance to both visit and stay in a lighthouse, the twelve GLI sites combined attracted some 135,000 visitors in 2016. There are over 19,000 bednights available across the various lighthouses; GLI Partnership is forecasting a 9% growth in visitor numbers and over 60% visitor occupancy in bednights in 2017. Both funding and resources have been committed to position the 12 lighthouses as must see, unique and high quality experiences for domestic and international visitors.

Welcoming Bobby Kerr’s appointment, Chief Executive of Irish Lights, Yvonne Shields commented: “Our maritime heritage is a great source of pride. Through Great Lighthouses of Ireland, Irish Lights has brought together a group of people who are deeply rooted in our coastal communities and hugely committed to our lighthouse heritage, and we are delighted that Bobby Kerr will be working with us to support this leading-edge project.”

“Given the success of this initiative to date, Bobby’s background and experience will be of huge value in guiding and informing the future work plans and objectives of the partnership and we look forward to developing exciting new collaborative initiatives with our lighthouse partners over the next phase of development of the project.”

Speaking as he accepted the invitation to act as Chairperson, Bobby Kerr said: “I’m incredibly excited to be given this unique opportunity to contribute to such a high-profile and imaginative tourism offering as the Great Lighthouses of Ireland.

I am committed to ensuring that this partnership adds value to the national tourism development agenda, partners and coastal communities in a manner that is sustainable and one that we are all proud to be associated with.”

Great Lighthouses of Ireland
Great Lighthouses of Ireland is an all-island tourism initiative, developed by the Commissioners of Irish Lights, the General Lighthouse Authority for the island of Ireland. Featuring twelve lighthouses in breath-taking coastal locations, Great Lighthouses of Ireland offers visitors from home and abroad the chance to visit or stay in a lighthouse, to find out about their history, to appreciate the spectacular natural world around them, to discover the technology at work in lighthouses today and to meet the people who are passionate about these unique places.

Great Lighthouses of Ireland partners include the Irish Landmark Trust, the Royal Society for Protection of Birds, Forbairt Fhanada Teoranta (Fanad Community Group), Clare County Council, Ballycotton Lighthouse Tours, Mid & East Antrim Borough Council, Hook Heritage Limited, Valentia Island Development Company and Clare Island Lighthouse. Great Lighthouses of Ireland is also supported by Tourism Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland.

Full list of Great Lighthouses of Ireland:

St John’s Point, Co Donegal
Fanad Head, Co Donegal
Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre, Co Antrim
Black Head, Co Antrim
St John’s Point, Co Down
Wicklow Head, Co Wicklow

Hook, Co Wexford
Ballycotton, Co Cork
Galley Head, Co Cork
Valentia Island, Co Kerry
Loop Head, Co Clare
Clare Island, Co Mayo

Published in Lighthouses

#lighthousePics - The guardians of some of Ireland's most iconic lighthouses, the Commissioners of Irish Lights are looking for new and exciting images of Lighthouses located along our stunning coastline.

Whether you are a professional photographer or just a budding enthusiast who likes to take snaps on your compact camera or smartphone, Irish Lights want you to share your best pictures with them.

From time to time Irish Lights may use these pictures in their publications for both internal corporate and external public viewing and if they do you can rest assured that all credit for your picture will go to you. This is a great way to get your work seen and to share in our passion and commitment to serving the mariner.

If you would like to share your photos with Irish Lights email any image to the dedicated email address [email protected]

Please make sure you include your name and a note to state that the picture is an original and was taken by you, and that you give permission for its use if we so choose.

For more about Irish Lights in general visit their website here.

Published in Lighthouses

#MewIslandOptic - Plans to install a rare lens from one of Ireland’s tallest lighthouses on Belfast’s waterfront have been given the green light.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, plans were announced last summer to house the optic from Mew Island Lighthouse in Belfast Lough in a much more accessible structure designed by architects Hall McKnight.

Now the News Letter reports that planning permission has been granted to install the 130-year-old, seven-metre-tall optic in the Titanic Quarter as the centrepiece of the new Titanic Walkway in the coming months.

“We are now one step closer to helping save and restore one of the largest optics of its kind ever constructed, an artefact of national and international significance,” said Titanic Foundation chief executive Kerrie Sweeney.

“This will certainly create a legacy Belfast landmark which will inspire our future generations.”

The News Letter has more on the story HERE.

Published in Lighthouses

#Exhibition - The Commissioners of Irish Lights and the Royal Irish Academy continues to tour an exhibition around our coastline that captures the history of Irish Lights.

Having first exhibited last year in Cobh as Afloat reported on the next venue will be Wexford at the town’s County Office HQ and is scheduled from 23 January-5 March. The location is at Carricklawn (close to Wexford General Hospital) on the (R769) road that leads west out of the town.

The history of the island of Ireland itself, its ever-changing coasts and shorelines, and the history of the people who lived along our island’s seaboard. Through the nineteenth century the number of Ireland’s lighthouses increased from fourteen to seventy-four, with eleven lightships placed around the east and south coasts.

The exhibition explores how Irish Lights, with its origins in the late-eighteenth century, and coming of age in the certainties of the nineteenth, faced the challenges of global and national uncertainty in the early twentieth century. Precisely, the exhibition details Irish Lights’ history between 1911 and 1923.

Also explored in the exhibition through these years are the incredible events, such as; the Easter Rising of 1916, the Anglo-Irish War of 1919–1921 and the Anglo-Irish Treaty.

What emerges is a never-before told story of devotion to duty, scientific, engineering and physical endeavour, world war, revolution and change.

It is also a deeply personal story of those who worked with and built up Irish Lights. Those who devoted their lives to protecting the coastline for the safety of all which remains to the present day and by keeping abreast of future technological developments.

Published in Lighthouses

#MinisterVisit - Minister for Transport, Shane Ross paid a visit to the Commissioners of Irish Lights headquarters in Dun Laoghaire Harbour recently.

Irish Lights operate an essential safety navigation service around the island of Ireland aimed at protecting people, property and the environment at sea. Afloat adds this involves the use of an aids to navigation tender, ILV Granuaile, the workhorse of CIL's marine operations which is based in Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The facility there includes the main depot for buoy repair and maintenance. 

Minister Ross heard about the range of new technologies that are enabling better navigation services for the mariner and the provision of new services such as environmental and ocean data for improved weather forecasting and planning of commercial activities at sea.

The service ensures that over 300 general aids to navigation (physical and electronic) operate reliably and to international standards around our coast 24/7 and 365 days of the year. Irish Lights also inspects and monitors over 4000 local aids around the coast.

Irish Lights also supports the Great Lighthouses of Ireland initiative which sees almost 200,000 tourists annually visiting working lighthouses. Accommodation is available in selected lighthouses on a year-round basis. 

Published in Lighthouses

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Published in News Update

#IrishLights - An Post has today (Thursday 6 October) a set of stamps to commemorate the Commissioners of Irish Lights.

There are four stamps in the collection designed by Vermillion Design, featuring Irish Lights staff working on a buoy; a helicopter at work near Fanad lighthouse in Donegal; the technology Irish Lights offers to sea users; and the ILV Granuaile, the service’s multifunctional vessel.

Each highlights a different aspect of the agency’s navigation and maritime services which go beyond the many lighthouses in its coastal network, including some 4,000 local navigation aids such a buoys and marks on dangerous wrecks outside harbour areas.

The stamp set is available from post offices nationwide or online from the Irish Stamps website.

Published in Lighthouses

#Exhibition - The Commissioners of Irish Lights have joined the Royal Irish Academy to bring an exhibition that captures the history of Irish Lights, the history of the island of Ireland itself, its ever-changing coasts and shorelines, and the history of the people who lived along our island’s seaboard.

What emerges is a never-before told story of devotion to duty, scientific, engineering and physical endeavour, world war, revolution and change. It is also a deeply personal story of those who worked with and built up Irish Lights and who devoted their lives to protecting the coastline for the safety of all.

Through the nineteenth century the number of Ireland’s lighthouses increased from fourteen to seventy-four, with eleven lightships placed around the east and south coasts.

The exhibition explores how Irish Lights, with its origins in the late-eighteenth century, and coming of age in the certainties of the nineteenth, faced the challenges of global and national uncertainty in the early twentieth century. Precisely, the exhibition details Irish Lights’ history between 1911 and 1923.

This exhibition explores these years, and incredible events, such as; the Easter Rising of 1916, the Anglo-Irish War of 1919–1921, and the Anglo-Irish Treaty.

The exhibition will be showcasing in venues all along the Irish coastline in 2016.

Currently the exhibition is been held at Cobh Library on Casement Square until Saturday 15th October

Opening Times:Tuesday to Saturday - 9.30am - 5.30pm

Closed on Mondays and Saturdays 

 

 

Published in Lighthouses

#Lighthouses - Guardian travel writer Yvonne Gordon was impressed by a recent visit to St John’s Point Lighthouse in Co Down, part of the Great Lighthouses of Ireland tourism initiative launched last year.

In operation since the Victorian era, the structure south of Killough is still a working lighthouse, but now visitors can stay in two of the former light keeper's cottages adjacent to the building.

The tallest lighthouse on Ireland's coastline at 40 metres, it also has a literary connection, as playwright and author Brendan Behan followed in his father's footsteps as a lighthouse painter when he helped slap a coat on the tower in 1950 – though not necessarily to the satisfaction of his employers.

The Guardian has more on the story HERE.

Published in Lighthouses

#MewIslandOptic - A rare lighthouse lens that helped guide ships into Belfast Lough for more than a century is to get a new home on the city's waterfront, as the Belfast Telegraph reports.

The optic from Mew Island Lighthouse, one of Ireland's tallest lights, will be housed in a much more accessible structure designed by architects Hall McKnight.

The firm fended off 11 other tenders to win the commission by the Titanic Foundation for the new monument to Northern Ireland's seafaring traditions, one that's intended to last for at least another 100 years.

With a design echoing a lighthouse lantern room, the structure will house what's believed by many to be the largest Fresnel lens, produced in Paris by master glassmakers in 1887.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Lighthouses
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