Loop Head Lighthouse open to public

 

A lighthouse in Co Clare, once manned by Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s grandfather, will reopen to the public again this year following a successful trial last summer.

The doors to the Loop Head Lighthouse in west Clare will open from the June bank holiday weekend for 12 weeks, creating 12 seasonal jobs, Clare County Council has confirmed.

The lighthouse was opened to the public for the fist time, for an 11-week trial last summer by the council, Shannon Development, Loop Head Tourism and the Commissioners of Irish Lights.

The lighthouse attracted almost 17,000 visitors last summer and it has also been estimated that the venture was worth about €400,000 to the local economy.

Located at the mouth of the Shannon Estuary, Loop Head Lighthouse is steeped in history and is 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.

In January 1991, the lighthouse was converted to automatic operation, and today it is in the care of an attendant and monitored by the Commissioners of Irish Lights.

Among its many keepers was James McGinley (who worked there from 1922-34), the Taoiseach’s grandfather.