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Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 2°C

Lights out: 5 beautiful Irish lighthouses that you can actually sleep at for the night

All of these towers are still in active use as navigational aids.

IRELAND’S COASTLINE IS scattered with lighthouses, some of which were last used decades ago, and some of which are still active as important navigational aids for those at sea.

A number of these active lighthouses and their lightkeepers’ accommodation have been beautifully restored by Irish Landmark Trust to transform them into one-of-a-kind holiday residences.

Here are five magnificent lighthouses (and lightkeepers’ cottages) that you can book into for an overnight stay…

1. Fanad Head Lighthouse, Co Donegal

Following the shipwreck of the HMS Saldanha (of which the only survivor was the vessel’s parrot) in Lough Swilly in 1812, a lighthouse was proposed for Fanad Head, reports The structure was designed by one of the most prominent civil engineers of the time, George Halpin, and first lit on 17 March 1817.

Located in the Donegal Gaeltacht, guests can stay in one of the lighthouse’s three cottages while enjoying the views of the 22m-high tower and Lough Swilly.

Find more information here.

2. Galley Head Lighthouse, West Cork 

Located just a 15 minute drive away from Clonakilty, Galley Head Lighthouse was built in 1875 and featured the most powerful lighthouse light in the world at the time, reports

Two of the lightkeepers’ houses have been restored by Irish Landmark Trust and each sit at 130m above sea level overlooking St George’s Channel.

Find more information here.

3. Loop Head Lighthouse, Co Clare

Sitting at the end of Loop Head Peninsula, the lighthouse of the same name was first built in 1802, before being replaced in 1854. Its light flashes four times every 20 seconds and was automated in 1991. 

The restored lightkeeper’s house sleeps five and offers guests an ideal opportunity to spot whales, dolphins and seals, as well as to enjoy views as far as the Blasket Islands. 

Find out information here.

4. St John’s Point Lighthouse, Co Down

23930592204_2116d5caa0_z Eskling / Flickr Eskling / Flickr / Flickr

With vibrant yellow and black stripes covering its exterior and reaching a height of 40m, St John’s Point Lighthouse in Killough, Co Down, is hard to miss. The structure, built in 1844, enjoys an interesting history as Brendan Behan’s father is said to have been contracted to paint it in 1950 – and he reportedly enlisted the help of Brendan himself, according to

Nowadays, two of the lightkeepers’ cottages are available as holiday accommodation, while Van Morrison fans might recognise its name from his song Coney Island.

Find more information here.

5. Wicklow Head Lighthouse, Co Wicklow

Built in 1781 and with a staggering 109 steps leading to the kitchen for unbeatable views of the Irish Sea, Wicklow Head Lighthouse is sure to offer a stay unlike any other. While the light itself was converted to automatic operation in 1994, the lighthouse’s original light source was 20 animal fat candles set against a large mirror.

The property has six octagonal rooms, including two double bedrooms and metre-deep window seats for soaking up the views.

Find more information here.

More: 5 Dublin bridges with interesting stories behind them (aside from the obvious)>

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