Eagle Island Lighthouse
On the northern end of Mullet Peninsula, around a mile offshore, lies the conical Eagle Island. Originally home to two lighthouses, on the east and west side of the island, the lighthouse was constructed to ease sea vessels passage past the treacherous rocks between Blacksod Bay and Broadhaven, including the famous rocks known as the Stags.
Withstanding the Worst of Weather
The west tower stood at 196 feet above high water and during construction, a great wave swept the partially built tower and most of the building supplies into the sea. Upon completion of the two towers, a massive wall was constructed between the seaward side to protect from such severe swells in the future. In September 1835 the lights on both houses were first established with their lanterns on the same level, 220 feet above high water.
The Eagles of Eagle Island
Named for a resident pair of breeding white tailed sea eagles, Eagle Islands geographical position means it is extremely exposed to the elements. Weather beaten and badly damaged repeatedly by the full force of Atlantic storms, the lighthouses have been destroyed and rebuilt many times, culminating in the abandonment of the East tower station in 1894 when a vicious storm damaged the lantern extinguished the light, with ruinous effects on the sea wall and keepers dwellings. The tower was lopped 20ft to avoid it casting a shadow.
Sea eagles became extinct in Ireland over a hundred years ago and are only recently being reintroduced to Killarney. Maybe one day we will see another pair of eagles breed in this iconic location!
The light was converted to electric in 1976 and in 1988, the last of the lighthouse keepers were withdrawn from the island. Eagle Island remains one of the most isolated lighthouses in Ireland.
Find out more on one of our guided tours!
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