Baily Lighthouse

Dublin, Ireland | C.1814

Photo Credit: Erik Sellgren

The Baily Lighthouse is a lighthouse on the southeastern part of Howth Head in Dublin, Ireland. It is maintained by the Commissioners of Irish Lights and until 1996 was the last operational manual lighthouse in Ireland.

The first lighthouse on this site was built in ~1667 and was one of six built by Sir Robert Reading as allowed by Charles II. The original facility consisted of a small cottage and a square tower which supported a coal-fired beacon.

In 1810, the Corporation for Preserving and Improving the Port of Dublin took over operations, and as the original structure was high on the headland, the light was often obscured by fog, so it was moved south on the headland to Little Baily.

A new tower and house for the keeper was completed in March 1814; it was designed by George Halpin Senior, the corporation’s Inspector of Works. The top of the tower stood 134 feet (41 m) above the sea, and the fixed white catoptric light consisted of a set of 24 Argand lamps and reflectors.

The lighthouse was eventually converted to automatic operation in 1996, and the final Keeper left on March 24, 1997, making Baily the last Irish lighthouse to go automatic. The radio beacon service was discontinued in 1999, and at the same time, radar and additional communication equipment was installed.

In 2000, a small museum was established in the reworked buildings by the Commissioners of Irish Lights, including small artifacts gathered from retired staff. The optic which was in use from 1902 to 1972 is now on display in the National Maritime Museum of Ireland, and although officially an automatic station, an attendant still lives in the Keeper’s residence today.

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