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Baile Choitín
Ballycotton lifeboat station dates from 2002. The Trent class boat Austin Lidbury is at its moorings in the harbour.
Ballycotton lifeboat station dates from 2002. The Trent class boat Austin Lidbury is at its moorings in the harbour.
Ballycotton is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 51°49′26.4″N 8°0′32.4″W / 51.824000°N 8.009000°W / 51.824000; -8.009000Coordinates: 51°49′26.4″N 8°0′32.4″W / 51.824000°N 8.009000°W / 51.824000; -8.009000
CountyCounty Cork
 • Total497
Time zoneUTC+0 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-1 (IST (WEST))
Irish Grid ReferenceW992640
Ballycotton Lighthouse
Ballycotton Lighthouse.png
Ballycotton Lighthouse
LocationCounty Cork, Ireland Edit this at Wikidata
Coordinates51°49′33″N 7°59′03″W / 51.825737°N 7.984159°W / 51.825737; -7.984159
Year first constructed1851
Constructionsandstone tower
Tower shapecylindrical tower with balcony and lantern
Markings / patternblack tower
Tower height15 metres (49 ft)
Focal height59 metres (194 ft)
Rangewhite: 21 nautical miles (39 km; 24 mi)
red: 17 nautical miles (31 km; 20 mi)[2]
CharacteristicFl WR 10s.
Admiralty numberA5774
NGA number6428
Ireland numberCIL-0290
Managing agentCommissioners of Irish Lights[3]

Ballycotton (Irish: Baile Choitín) is a coastal village in County Cork, Ireland, situated about 25 miles (40 km) east of Cork city. It is a fishing village that sits on a rocky ledge overlooking Ballycotton Bay and has a sandy beach that stretches for about 25 kilometres (16 mi) east to Knockadoon Head. The current village is actually a re-settlement of an older village which is now entirely underwater. Ballycotton experiences severe coastal erosion with metres of land crumbling into the sea every few years. It is a site of international research interest on coastal erosion.[4][5]


The preserved RNLB Mary Stanford (ON 733) in Ballycotton

The RNLI lifeboat station was established in 1858 even though medals had been awarded for rescues that took place in 1826 and 1829. The most famous rescue by the Ballycotton lifeboat took place in 1936. A Gold Medal was awarded to Coxswain Patrick Sliney, Silver Medals to Second Coxswain John Lane Walsh and Motor Mechanic Thomas Sliney, and Bronze Medals to Crew Members Michael Coffey Walsh, John Shea Sliney, William Sliney and Thomas Walsh for the service on 11 February when the Daunt Rock lightship broke away from her moorings. The seas were so mountainous that spray was flying over the lantern of the lighthouse 196 ft high. The Barnett-class lifeboat, RNLB Mary Stanford (ON 733) was away from the station for 79 hours and at sea for 49 hours; the crew had no food for 25 hours and they only had three hours sleep. The eight crew were rescued after the lifeboat went alongside the vessel more than a dozen times. This was one of the most exhausting and gallant services in the history of the RNLI.[6]


Situated on the steep sloped Ballycotton Island approximately 2 km from the village, the lighthouse was commissioned in 1851 when the keeper and his family lived on the island and their children rowed to school weather permitting. By 1899 the four keepers were housed in the town with keepers rotating duty at the lighthouse.[2] In 1975 the light was converted to electricity and it was automated on 28 March 1992 when the lighthouse keepers were withdrawn.[7]

Amenities and tourism[edit]

Ballycotton has a number of public houses, including the Blackbird of Ballycotton, Pier 26,[8] The Schooner and McGraths. Ballycotton was used as a location for a movie called Divine Rapture during the summer of 1995. Though starring Marlon Brando, Johnny Depp and Debra Winger, the film's production company went bankrupt after just 2 weeks and the movie was never completed.[9]

First run in 1977, the annual Ballycotton Road Race attracted runners from around Ireland and abroad to its 10 Mile circuit of country backroads.[10] The race was routinely over-subscribed.[citation needed] In October 2017 it was announced that the 2017 event was to be the last.[11]

The local area is home to a number of artists and craftspeople included woodworkers, painters, potters, writers and musicians who sometimes exhibit at the Stephen Pearce Gallery in Shanagarry.[citation needed] Ballycotton has a cliff walk extending westward to Ballytrasna. The full walk is about 9 km along a goat-track, with safety fencing where it is needed. Cycling and horse riding are prohibited on the trail. There is bench seating placed at a number of viewing points. The cliff walk is used annually, in March, for a charity walk in support of the Children of Chernobyl. There is also the possibility of spotting Peregrine Falcons near the rocky inlets at dawn and dusk.[citation needed]

Wildlife in the area includes seals and dolphins, and whales are sometimes visible from the cliffs in December and January.[citation needed] The nearby beach at Ballynamona is on a wildlife sanctuary and herons, oystercatchers and sandhoppers.[citation needed]

Ballycotton cross[edit]

In 1875 a local antiquarian, Philip T. Gardner, donated the Ballycotton cross to the British Museum. It is a 9th-century jewelled Celtic cross with a centre glass jewel with an inscription of the Bismillah in Kufic script[12] which may be interpreted as As God wills, In the name of Allah or We have repented to God. It is held in the British Museum's brooch collection,[13] and the provenance is: "said to have been found in or near Ballycotton Bog" (hence the variant spelling of the artefact compared to the modern place name). As an early indicator of possible links between what is now the Republic of Ireland and Britain, and early Islam, the cross has been cited in academic papers and histories of Islam's presence in Northern Europe in the late Dark Ages, and on speculative history websites and forums.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sapmap Area: Settlement Ballycotton". Census 2016. Central Statistics Office. 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Lighthouses - Ballycotton Lighthouse". Commissioners of Irish Lights. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  3. ^ Rowlett, Russ. "Lighthouses of Southwestern Ireland (Munster)". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
  4. ^ "Dáil Éireann - Volume 461 - Adjournment Debate - County Cork Coastal Erosion". Debates record. Oireachtas. 20 February 1996. Archived from the original on 11 February 2012.
  5. ^ "Sea Level Changes And Ireland". Archived from the original on 10 August 2007.
  6. ^ "RNLI - Ballycotton lighthouse history". Archived from the original on 23 September 2008.
  7. ^ "Ballycotton History". Ballycotton Development Company. Archived from the original on 16 May 2008.
  8. ^ "Pier 26 - Bar, Café, Restaurant, Bed & Breakfast".
  9. ^ "Brando, Depp, the missing millions and Divine Rapture, the lost movie". The Guardian. 26 November 2009.
  10. ^ "Ballycotton 10 - Annual 10 mile road race". Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  11. ^ "Organisers confirm the famed Ballycotton '10' race has come to an end after four decades". 5 October 2017.
  12. ^ Gilliat-Ray, Sophie (2010). Muslims in Britain: An introduction (PDF). Cambridge University Press. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-521-83006-5.
  13. ^ "Collection online - brooch / amulet - 1875,1211.1". British Museum. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  14. ^ Petersen, Andrew (December 2008). "The archaeology of Islam in Britain: recognition and potential" (PDF). Antiquity. 082 (318).

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