Galley Head Lighthouse

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Galley Head Lighthouse
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Galley Head Lighthouse
Galley Head Lighthouse is located in Ireland
Galley Head Lighthouse
Galley Head Lighthouse
Location County Cork, Ireland Edit this at Wikidata
Coordinates 51°31′46.9″N 8°57′08.8″W / 51.529694°N 8.952444°W / 51.529694; -8.952444Coordinates: 51°31′46.9″N 8°57′08.8″W / 51.529694°N 8.952444°W / 51.529694; -8.952444
Year first constructed 1878
Year first lit 1878
Automated 1978 Edit this on Wikidata
Construction masonry tower
Tower shape cylindrical tower with balcony and lantern
Markings / pattern white tower, red lantern rail
Height 21 metres (69 ft)
Focal height 53 metres (174 ft)
Range 23 nautical miles (43 km; 26 mi)
Characteristic Fl (5) W 20s
Admiralty number A5708
NGA number 6332
Ireland number CIL-0160
Managing agent Commissioners of Irish Lights

The Galley Head Lighthouse is an active 19th century lighthouse outside of Rosscarbery, County Cork, on the south coast of Ireland.[1][2]

The lighthouse is situated on Galley Head at the southern end of the headland known as Dundeady island at 133 feet above sea level, overlooking St George's Channel and two beaches, Red strand to the East and the Long Strand to the West . The headland is cut off from the mainland by the ancient walls of the old Norman stronghold of Dun Deidi, an important fortress of the local O’Cowhig Clan.


Although the main buildings were completed in 1875, the site did not become operational until 1878. The original light characteristic consisted of six or seven flashes of white light within sixteen seconds every minute. This was due to the operation of a revolving octagonal optic, combined with a light powered by coal gas burners that were switched on and off every two seconds or so. With a range of 16 nautical miles (30 km; 18 mi) in clear conditions, it was one of the most powerful lights of its time.[1]

Galley Head from Rosscarbery Bay

The two keeper’s houses have been returned to their original symmetrical layout and are offered for holiday rental by the Irish Landmark Trust. Sleeping 4-6 people in each, they are linked by an internal door, so that larger parties (8-12) might be accommodated.[tone] Each house has a double and twin bedroom, and a fold down sofa bed, plus bathroom, kitchen and sitting room. Both houses have adjoining walled lawns.

The station was built in 1875, during the heyday of lighthouse building, and within twenty years of its closest neighbours at Old Head of Kinsale and Fastnet. The Galley Head and the Fastnet have the distinction of being two of the most powerful lighthouses in Europe. The lighthouse displays an unusual landward arc of light because, it is said, the Sultan of Turkey asked to be able to see it from Castle Freke at Rosscarbery nearby on his visit there. The castle, abandoned in 1952 can be seen from Galley as a Gothic ruin.

Film and media[edit]

Galley Head Lighthouse was featured in the music video for 'To The Lighthouse' by British singer-songwriter Patrick Wolf.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Galley Head Lighthouse". Commissioners of Irish Lights. Retrieved 2 February 2016. 
  2. ^ Rowlett, Russ. "Lighthouses of Southwestern Ireland (Munster)". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 2 February 2016. 

External links[edit]