Hook Head Lighthouse2
Hook Head Lighthouse2

Ireland’s Lighthouses Open to Visitors

Many of Ireland’s lighthouses, some of them offering self-catering accommodation, are now open to the public after several months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Poolbeg Lighthouse outside Dublin. Photo: Giuseppe Milo, https://www.flickr.com/photos/giuseppemilo/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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Most of Ireland’s lighthouses are run by the Great Lighthouses of Ireland, a tourism initiative run by the Commissioners of Irish Lights, the lighthouse authority for the island of Ireland.

The agency operates 70 lighthouses across the island.

Here are some of the lighthouses that you can visit and/or stay in right now.

Blackhead Lighthouse, Co. Antrim


This charming lighthouse in Northern Ireland is only a half-hour’s drive from Belfast on the Causeway Coastal Route.

Constructed in 1902, its guiding light helped the doomed Titanic make its way out of Belfast Lough before sailing to Liverpool.

Inside the Blackhead Lightkeeper's House courtesy of the Irish Landmark Trust.

The Irish Landmark Trust manages three restored lightkeeper houses beside the lighthouse, including a cottage known as the Blackhead Cutter.

Accommodation starts at £320 for 2 nights. Sleeps 4.

There are no public tours of this lighthouse.


Fanad Lighthouse, Co. Donegal

lighthouse on cliffs
Fanad Lighthouse in Donegal. Photo: Failte Ireland.


This is a popular stop along the Wild Atlantic Way.

The lighthouse, constructed in 1817, is located between Lough Swilly and Mulroy Bay and is a favorite spot for whales, porpoises, and dolphins.

Three former lighthouse keeper cottages have been converted into charming homes that make for a spectacular vacation getaway.

Forty-five-minute tours of the lighthouse are available.

a lighthouse planning a itinerary for travel to Ireland'
Sunset at Fanad Lighthouse in Co. Donegal. Photo: Fearghus Foyle, Failte Ireland.

You will learn about the lives of the previous lighthouse keepers and how the light has changed over the centuries.

The culmination of the tour is a climb to the top of the lighthouse, with 360-degree views of North Donegal.

Rates range from approximately €350 to €400 for 2 nights at the Fanad Lighthouse rental properties.

Galley Head Lighthouse, Co. Cork


This lighthouse rises 53 meters (174 feet) above the Atlantic Ocean on a headland known as Dundeady Island.

Galley Head Lighthouse on the Cork coast. Photo: David Creedon /Anzenberger.

It is close to Clonakilty, a well-kept tourist town in West Cork.

The lighthouse was built in 1875 and at the time was considered the most powerful lighthouse in the world.

The restored lighthouse keeper cottages are perfect for a two-day break in a stunning location.

Accommodation starts at €526 for two nights. Sleeps 4.

There are no public tours of this lighthouse.

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Hook Lighthouse, Co. Wexford

Hook Head Lighthouse in Co. Wexford. Photo: Luke Myers for Tourism Ireland.

Built 800 years ago, this is the world’s oldest operating lighthouse.

A guided tour includes a history of this fascinating medieval structure located at the tip of the Hook Peninsula.

William Marshal, a Knights Templar, built the lighthouse tower to protect the area from invaders and also to develop shipping around Wexford and the east coast.

Local monks maintained the lighthouse until 1641.

Private tours are available at sunrise and sunset, with food included.

Loop Head Lighthouse, Co. Clare


A stay at Loop Head Lighthouse perched at the end of the Loop Head Peninsula in West Clare is sure to inspire.

To the south, you can see the Blasket Islands off the coast of Co. Kerry, and to the north, the Twelve Pins mountain range in Connemara is visible.

Like many of the lighthouses on Ireland’s western seaboard, whales, dolphins, and seals are frequent visitors.

The Lightkeeper's house beside the lighthouse. Photo: Paul Babett, Getty Images.

There has been a lighthouse at Loop Head since 1670 in the form of a cottage, part of which you can still see today.

The first tower lighthouse was built there in 1802.

Accommodation at Loop Head Lighthouse is managed by the Irish Landmark Trust.

Rates for a two-night stay start at €490. Sleeps 5. Guided tours are available onsite.

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St. John’s Point Lighthouse, Co. Donegal


This lighthouse, which was built in 1825 at the behest of local merchants and traders in nearby Killybegs, sits on one of the longest peninsulas in Ireland.

Two lightkeeper cottages are available for rent.

St. John's Point Lighthouse in Co. Donegal. Photo: Caroline Johnston, https://www.flickr.com/photos/145574498@N03/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Managed by the Irish Landmark Trust, they include the Clipper and the Schooner.

From the lighthouse, you’ll see Sligo Bay and Mayo in the distance.

Accommodation for 2 nights starts at €430. Sleeps 4.

No public tours are available at this lighthouse.

St. John’s Point Lighthouse, Co. Down

St. John's Point Lighthouse in Co. Down. Photo courtesy of Malcom McGettigan for Tourism Northern Ireland.


Vibrant bands of yellow and black make St. John’s Point Lighthouse in Co. Down, the tallest onshore lighthouse on the island of Ireland really stand out.

The original lighthouse was painted in white, but in 1902, three black bands were added. Its current markings were applied to the building in 1954.

There are two lightkeeper cottages, including the Ketch and the Sloop. Both are managed by the Irish Landmark Trust.

Accommodation for 2 nights starts at £318. Sleeps 4.

Valentia Island Lighthouse, Co. Kerry

The lighthouse on Valentia Island, Co. Kerry. Photo: Arthur Ward for Tourism Ireland.

The lighthouse was built in the mid-1800s on the grounds of the Cromwell Fleetwood Fort.

You can get there by bridge from Portmagee or by ferry from Renard, located outside Cahersiveen.

Guided tours for small groups are available. You can also take a self-guided tour from the visitor's center.

Read More: Valentia Transatlantic Cable Station Opens

Wicklow Head Lighthouse, Co. Wicklow


The lighthouse at Wicklow Head, known for its unusual octagonal shape, has been there since 1781.

Wicklow Head Lighthouse. Photo: By David Quinn, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13235667

Be prepared to walk 109 steps to the kitchen and other areas of the lighthouse, which is managed by the Irish Landmark Trust.

Accommodation for a 2-night stay begins at €624. Sleeps 4. Pet-friendly.

No public tours are available at this lighthouse although you can take a virtual tour.


Ballycotton Lighthouse, Co. Cork

a lighthouse in the distance Ireland's lighthouses
Ballycotton Lighthouse off the coast of Co. Cork. Photo: John Hurley for Getty Images.

Located on Ballycotton Island, this lighthouse was constructed in the late 1840s.

It is one of only two black lighthouses in the country. It is only accessible by boat.

Walk the original light keeper’s path to the summit of the island and then have fun exploring this interesting lighthouse.

Guided tours are available courtesy of Ballycotton Sea Adventures.

The Rathlin West Lighthouse in Co. Antrim

a white building on a cliff Ireland's lighthouses
The “upside-down” lighthouse on Rathlin Island in Co. Antrim. Photo: Emma McFaul for Tourism Northern Ireland.

This lighthouse is located on Rathlin Island off the coast of Co. Antrim. Known as Ireland’s “upside-down lighthouse,” this unusual structure was built between 1912 and 1917.

You can take a tour of this iconic lighthouse, which also houses the RSPB Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre.

Enjoy Northern Ireland’s biggest seabird colony up close, with its puffins, guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes, and fulmars.

Read More: Six of Ireland's Coolest Lighthouses

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