Twenty-second Lighthouse Expedition
June 26 – July 9, 1995
Ireland Tour -"Leprechauns & Lighthouses"
U. S. Lighthouse Society
June 26, 1995, Monday
- 10:45 am
- A friend picked us up at home and took us out to lunch.
- 12:50 pm
- We arrived at Detroit Metro Airport. Our plane was delayed and we didn’t leave Detroit until 5:20.
- 6:40 pm
- Arrived at JFK Airport in N.Y. but missed our flight to Dublin. They put us on the next flight which had a stopover in Shannon.
June 27, 1995, Tuesday
Sunny, clear, 80+
- 9:30 am (4:30 am EDT)
- We arrived in Dublin. A delightful taxi driver took us to the Jury Hotel.
- 10:30 am
- Arrived at the hotel. Most of the rest of the tour group was already there.
- 12:30 pm
- We took the train to Dublin City Center and did some sightseeing, shopping and had lunch.
- 4:40 pm
- We arrived back at the hotel and after a brief rest (Don had gotten a little nap on the plane, Diana got zip) had dinner in the hotel coffee shop. Afterwards we walked around in the area near the hotel and returned about 8:15 pm. We were very tired, having lost a night’s sleep.
June 28, 1995, Wednesday
Sunny, clear 85
- 7:30 am
- We were up for breakfast in the hotel and on the bus at 8:30 am for a trip to the Baily and Howth Lighthouses. This was the first time we got to meet the rest of the tour group. Our driver pointed out a few things to us as we drove through Dublin. For instance, the skyscraper in town is 20 stories high; they can’t be built any taller! A little red lighthouse we saw in the harbor is called Poolbeg. We were met at the Baily Lighthouse by Asst. Keeper Donal Sullivan and Keeper John Crowley. We had a tour and went to the top of the tower. This sight is the second oldest for a lighthouse in Ireland. The sight is still manned and is a training center. It was quite a long walk down hill and seemed even longer back up hill! We then drove to the town of Howth. It is a quaint town with lots of boats in the harbor. Howth is a viking name meaning "head land." The Howth Lighthouse was just a photo stop because of time. We drove back into Dublin and had lunch at the Kilkenny Shop. We then picked up our guide and had a city tour. Dublin Castle was one of the stops. It was beautiful. Much of it was refurbished in 1960. A tower of one of the earliest portions built still stands. A movie is being made in Dublin ("The Big Fella" starring Leam Neeson) about the life of Michael Colins who was involved in the war of liberation. We learned much about the liberation of Ireland. Then it was onto Trinity College to see the Book of Kells and the Library called "The Long Room". Our son, David, would love to see this!
- 5:30 pm
- We arrived back at the Jury Hotel.
- 6:30 pm
- We were off again to the Commissioners of the Irish Lighthouse Board for a reception. It was wonderful. Several of the Commissioners were there along with the U.S. Defense Attache and his wife from the U.S. Embassy here in Dublin. After drinks and a brief presentation, we were served a wonderful buffet. The Commissioners circulated around talking to everyone and were most friendly. They find it hard to believe the interest we all have in lighthouses and that we travel around to see them! There were some very interesting lighthouse items in showcases and beautiful paintings. We all received a packet of Irish lighthouse information.
- 9:45 pm
- Arrvied back at the Jury Hotel.
June 29, 1995, Thursday
Sunny, clear, HOT 90+ ( The hottest place in Europe today, one degree less than previous record.)
- 7:30 am
- We had breakfast at the hotel.
- 8:30 am
- On the bus and off to Dun Laoghaire (done leary) East and Dun Laoghaire West Lighthouses. We took a boat launch, the "Puffin", from the Lighthouse Depot where all the navigational aids are repaired and all lighthouses and aids are monitored. We went up the tower of the East Light. This lighthouse was also a fort and there are still guns, etc. They hope to do some refurbishing at this sight. The West Light, at the end of the breakwater, was a photo opportunity. We stopped at the Lightship South Rock, which is anchored in the harbor, and took a tour of it. Then it was back to the depot and the second group went out to the lighthouse on the "Puffin". We left there and went to the Dun Laogharie National Maritime Museum. They opened it just for us that day as they are closed due to lack of funds. There was a first order lens (the spare from the Baily Lighthouse) on display. Oh yes, this musem is in a beautiful old church with beautiful stained glass windows. We left there and went to downtown Dublin and had lunch at an old pub, "Dukes", and then did our Waterford Crystal shopping (good deals today!).
- 4:30 pm
- Arrived back at the Jury. Time for cleanup, rest, postcard writing and get ready to leave for a play.
- 7:15 pm
- We left for the Gaiety Theater to see "Moll" by John B. Keane. It was a comedy and reminded us of the Henry Ford Theater productions in Dearborn, MI.
- 10:30 pm
- Returned to the Jury Hotel, exhausted after a full day.
June 30, 1995, Friday
Hot, hazy, 85+
- 7:00 am
- Had breakfast and bags packed.
- 8:00 am
- The tour bus left the hotel and Dublin. Brendan Heneghan, our bus driver with CIE Tours, gave us an Irish history lesson throughout the trip. It was most interesting and helpful in understanding the Irish people. (By the way, Diana’s maiden name was Irish and has Irish ancestory, so this trip was a double blessing.) We drove through beautiful towns, hills and valleys. Both English and Irish are used on the road signs. The Irish language came from the Celts but died out in some areas in the 1700-1800’s. It was brought back and is taught (mandatory) in the schools; however it is not the language of choice. We arrived at Wicklow Head Light. The bus could not make it through the narrow gate, so we had quite a hike. It was beautiful with the patchwork looking hills in the distance and the cliffs at the seashore. The Old Wicklow Head Lights, built and in service in 1781 were twin towers but they were built too high on the hill and were often in the fog. The new light was erected in 1818. The Keeper, Brendan Conway and his wife met us and drove some of the tour group to the light. We were able to climb the tower and see the beautiful lens. Also at the light was Vincent King, a third generation lighthouse keeper. He was in the service for forty-eight years and is now eighty-seven years old. After lunch at the Talbot Hotel in Wexford, we headed to Hook Head Lighthouse near Fethard on Sea. This sight was first used as a light in 421 A.D. by a monk who lit fires on the point. In 1172 a monastery was built by the monks and then also used as a lighthouse. It’s the largest tower, in diameter, I’ve ever seen. They are currently putting on a new dome, so seeing the scaffolding was disappointing. We were able to climb this tower and the new modern control tower. I must add here that we saw incredible countryside and our bus took some pretty narrow and curvy roads today! From there it was on to the Duncannon North Rear Range Light which was just a photo stop. It is built into the side of a hill. The top of the Duncannon Fort Front Range Light could be seen in the fort nearby.
- 5:15 pm
- We arrived in Waterford to stay at the Tower Hotel. We had dinner in the hotel dining room with Sally and Wayne Wheeler. Wayne is the President and founder of the U. S. Lighthouse Society. It was very interesting to learn how the Society got started. We took a short walk near the hotel and returned to our room.
July 1, 1995, Saturday
Sunny, Breezy, 80+
- 7:30 am
- Had breakfast at the hotel.
- 8:30 am
- The bus left for the Dunmore East Lighthouse. It is an unusual shaped tower on the end of the breakwater. The attendant, Billy Powell, keeps the cleanest lighthouse! The brass really did shine. The town of Dunmore East is a beautiful fishing village with the houses high on the hill. On the way back to Waterford, Brendan sang the song "Forty Shades of Green", a beautiful song about Ireland written by Johnny Cash. We then went to the Waterford Glass Factory for a tour. Afterwards, we returned to the hotel and changed into shorts and walked into town. We found a pub, "Lords", for lunch. On our walk we found sections of the old city stone walls and took some pictures. We returned to the hotel to rest up before dinner.
- 7:00 pm
- We had a nice leisurely dinner in the hotel dining room. Each evening at dinner we sat with different people from the tour group and it was interesting to learn where they are from and how they got interested in lighthouses. After dinner we took a short walk down near the river and returned to our room at 9:30 pm.
July 2, 1995, Sunday
Partly cloudy, hazy, mid 70’s
- 7:00 am
- Had breakfast at the hotel and bags ready to go. Oops! What did Diana do with the luggage keys? Why, they are locked in the suitcase. Oh well, we’ll worry about that later!
- 8:00 am
- We left the hotel in Waterford. Brendan told us about leprechauns, the little people about two feet high. They came about 4,000 years ago and live underground in the woods. If you’re good to them, they will bless you; if not, they will haunt you!!! We arrived near the Ballinacourty Lighthouse. Also at that spot were some tinkers’ wagons. Brendan explained that the Tinkers are Ireland’s homeless people. There are about 300 families. They date back to 1649 when Cromwell made people leave their land. The name came from the original men who were tin makers. They made pails and other things from tin which their wives sold. Today they still lead a gpysy-type lifestyle and their children receive little education because they move around so much. We went through the gate to the Ballinacourty Lighthouse built in 1858. Friends of the Keeper, Mr. & Mrs. Donal Murphy, were there to greet us. There was a beautiful wooden stair railing and granite steps leading up the inside of the tower. It is very clean and very well kept. We were able to climb the tower here. Next was Mine Head Lighthouse built in 1851. This one is the highest (from sea level) in Ireland. The bus had a tight squeeze making the roads to the light. We were able to climb the tower and there was an outstanding view. Paul Morisey was the Keeper there. Our next stop was the town of Youghal (yawl – which means yew trees.) Nuns kept a fire burning on this point from 1190-1542. Then the point was unlit for 350 years. Sir Walter Raleigh was mayor here and brought the potato and tobacco crops to Ireland in this town. He was unpopular with the Irish people because he slaughtered 650 Irish men, women and children. The movie "Moby Dick" was filmed around this town and there is a pub named " The Moby Dick". This area of Ireland is known for Irish lace. We had our box lunches in a park next to the lighthouse. The Youghal Lighthouse is right next to the road in this seaside town. The home is beautiful. The Keeper, Don Scanland is retired from the service, but he and his wife are allowed to live in the house and watch over the light. From here we could see the unfinished light tower on Capel Island. Our next stop was the cute seaside town of Ballycotton. The Ballycotton Lighthouse is on an island just off the coast. Orginally we were to ferry out to the light, but the boat captain kept raising the fee by changing the number of people he would take out to the light each trip. Wayne had to cancel this lighthouse visit, but we were able to get pictures from two ridges in town. Then it was a short jaunt to Roche’s Point. I should mention that all the driving today provided us with spectacular views of countryside, ocean views, and cliffs. Our biggest frustration was not being able to stop the bus and photograph at will! Jim Power, the Keeper at Roche’s Point Lighthouse, met us at the gate and we had a short walk up the hill. All the lighthouses today had the beautiful wooden polished hand railings and beautiful granite steps. This was a second order Fresnel Lens – there are not many of these. Again the view was awesome with the bays, farms, countryside, hills, sailboats and little towns. There is a road leading to this light which is on a high bluff overlooking the bay – SPECTACULAR. We arrived in Cork a little ahead of schedule. Cork was first settled by a monk. Cork means marsh. We are staying at the Fitzpatrick Silver Springs Hotel on the edge of town. A nice man at the desk was able to cut off the lock on the suitcase so we could get to our clothes! We had dinner in the dining room of the hotel. We turned in at 11:30 pm.
July 3, 1995, Monday
Cloudy, High 60’s
- 7:30 am
- Breakfast at the hotel. We’re off to Blarney today. Brendan gave us some history of the Blarney Castle. In the 5th century the Lord of Blarney rescued a maiden who turned out to be a witch. She promised him the gift of eloquence. Now the legend goes that anyone who kisses the stone on top of the castle wall will have the gift of blarney: "turning someone down without giving offense." We did our shopping at the Blarney Woolen Mills and then walked to the castle. The grounds are beautiful. There were one hundred fifty-one steps to climb to the top of the castle, but for us lighthouse buffs, it didn’t seem like much. We kissed the blarney stone and enjoyed the view from the top. From Blarney it was on to Cobh (Irish spelling of Cove). This town was first Cobh, then Cove, then Queenstown (after Queen Victoria), then back to Cobh. We visited the Heritage Center which was where the emigrants boarded the ships to leave Ireland between 1750 and the mid 20th century. Nearly 4,000,000 people left the country. At one time the population was 8,000,000, now it’s under 4,000,000. They went to America, South Africa, New Zealand and the prisoners were sent to Australia. It was off Roche’s Point that the Titanic was sunk and survivors were taken to Cobh. Cobh was the last port of call for the Lusitania. We reached the Charles Fort Lighthouse across the bay from Kinsale. It’s the smallest light we’ve seen but it’s brass shines brighter than any other! It’s a kerosene burning lamp with a 5th order lens. The Keeper is Michael Arnot. It is located in an old fort which played an important part in protecting the port of Kinsale. We drove into Kinsale and had a walking tour with a guide. We drove out to Old Head of Kinsale Lighthouse. We had a long dusty walk from the gate as a golf course is being built on the point. The tower is quite tall. It has a first order double lens, the first we have seen. If the top lens goes out, the bottom one kicks in. The keeper’s wife has designed T-shirts and we bought one. Our first and only lighthouse T-shirt in Ireland. The Keeper here is Alan Boyers. We went back to Kinsale and had a half hour before dinner. We found our first lighthouse postcards here! We had our dinner at the Blue Haven Hotel Restaurant. It was superb.
- 10:30 pm
- Arrived back at the hotel in Cork. We had a wonderful day, beautiful scenery, lots of walking and stair climbing and arrived back tired. (I put my sweatshirt on for the first time today – walking out to the point at the Old Head of Kinsale Light.)
July 4, 1995, Tuesday
Happy Birthday America
Cloudy in am, sunny in pm, low 70’s
- 7:00 am
- We had breakfast at the Fitzpatrick Hotel again this morning.
- 8:00 am
- The bus is off. We started the morning with a sing-a-long: "Star Spangled Banner", "God Bless America", "America the Beautiful", and "Yankee Doodle Dandy". We had fun waving our flags during the day. We arrived at the Galley Head Lighthouse a little later. There was not time to walk to the light, so this was a photo opportunity. We drove through incredibly beautiful countryside. We wanted so badly to stop for photographs. We ate lunch at a little pub in Skilladee. Then we were off to Mizen Head Light. It was quite a trek out there and we were on lots of narrow winding roads today. Mizen Head is not much of a lighthouse but it’s FANTASTIC for scenery. It is the most south-western point in Ireland. It is also a weather station. The Gulf Stream comes up this way so the weather is usually mild. However, out on the top of the lighthouse the wind almost takes your breath away. Our guide told us they have seen dolphins, porpoise, seals and whales in the past couple weeks. It is also a feeding ground for birds. Fastnet Lighthouse can barely be seen eight miles off shore. The bridge leading to the light and the pathway to the bridge made Mizen Head a wonderful experience. We then began our long trek to Killarney. We passed over two mountain ranges with views that take your breath away, just like the winds at Mizen Head! There were bays, lakes, rivers, mountains, cliffs, beaches, farms, sheep, cows and patchwork landscapes to see. I felt like my head was on a swivel trying to see it all. We stopped twice for photo opps. We were on the most impressive part of the Ring of Kerry. We arrived in Killarney late after an exciting ride in the mountains, with the bus trying to pass cars and other busses under what seemed like impossible situations — we’ve decided Brendan can do anything! We arrived in Killarney late with only 45 min. to clean up for dinner. The Hotel Europe is large, beautiful and expensive. The hotel overlooks one of the Killarney Lakes, Lake Leane. We had a very good dinner in the hotel dining room. The speaker for the evening was John Eagle, who did a slide presentation of his lighthouse photographs, which he sells as postcards. We purchased one of most of them.
July 5, 1995, Wednesday
Partly cloudy, around 70
- 7:30 am
- Breakfast at the hotel.
- 8:30 am
- The bus left Hotel Europe and went to Muckross House/Castle. We had a tour and walked around the gardens. We had a beautiful view of the Killarney Lakes and mountains in the background. The house had been given as a wedding gift to the daughter of an American couple when she married an Irishman. The home was extravagant and the gardens beautiful. The bus took us back to Killarney and we were on our own for the afternoon.
- 7:00 pm
- Dinner at the Hotel Europe.
- 8:45 pm
- We left for the Laurel Sing-a-Long Bar in Killarney. It was filled with tourists but great fun. A band played Irish songs and a great tenor sang ballads encouraging the audience to join in. Young Irish dancers did the traditional dances and got some of the audience to participate. They were in beautiful black, red and white costumes.
- 11:00 pm
- We returned to the Hotel Europe which is about 3 miles outside of Killarney. No Lighthouses today!
July 6, 1995, Thursday
Cooler with light drizzle in am, cloudy in pm.
- 7:00 am
- When we were getting ready for breakfast we saw a big buck outside our hotel room. It quickly dashed into the woods. We had our first rain in Ireland this am. We have been quite lucky to have so many beautiful days without the traditional Irish rains!
- 8:00 am
- The bus left the Hotel Europe. Brendan told us when the emigrants left Ireland for America, they quickly learned three things: 1.) the streets were ‘not’ paved with gold, 2.) the streets were not ‘paved’, and 3.) ‘they’ were expected to pave them! We crossed the River Shannon, which is the longest in all of Great Britian, at Tarbert in County Kerry and into County Clare. There was a small "lighthouse" (really a navational aid) in the harbor. Our only lighthouse for the day was Loop Head. The attendant was Jerry Walsh. There were three keepers on duty with families until 1969. It was very foggy today. The lighthouse was a short distance from the gate and we could barely see it. We did climb the tower (back to metal hand railings). Jerry showed us how the weights and gear mechanism was used to turn the light. It’s a first order lens. We drove about forty-five minutes to Kilkee and had lunch at a hotel restaurant. We spent the rest of the afternoon driving to Galway and arrived at the Ardilaun House Hotel about 4:00. We had dinner in the hotel dining room.
July 7, 1995, Friday
Drizzle in am, sunshine in pm, 65
- 8:00 am
- Breakfast at the hotel.
- 9:00 am
- The bus left the Ardilaun House Hotel and we went to Ros an Mhil to catch the Aran Flyer ferry to the Aran Islands.
- 11:00 am
- Arrived on the island. Minibuses were waiting for us at Kilronan. They took us to some old lighthouse ruins and an ancient fort, Dun Aengus. We spent the afternoon wandering around the very small town.
- 5:00 pm
- The ferry returned us to the mainland. We were able to photograph the Straw Island Lighthouse as we left the island.
- 6:30 pm
- We returned to the Ardilaun House Hotel in Galway and had dinner in the hotel dining room.
July 8, 1995, Saturday
Drizzle, to rain, to drizzle, to overcast, 65
- 7:30 am
- Breakfast in the hotel.
- 8:30 am
- The bus left Galway. A little ways down the road the bus was held up as a farmer was leading a herd of cows to pasture. Cars and trucks in both directions had to stop on this very narrow road. We went into Burren area which is fifty square miles of rock. Streams run along rocks and then into holes which form caves. Alpine flowers grow here and old grave sites can also be found. We arrived at the Blackhead Light. It’s a tiny little thing right next to the road and Galway Bay. This was a photo opp. We arrived at the Cliffs of Moher and it was raining and very windy (but not foggy, so we could still get pictures.) Then it was onto Lahinch for lunch. Surfing is popular here. We ate our lunch in the top room of a pub and we could see a few brave souls out in the water. We arrived at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park for a tour. We were only given two hours! The castle was very crowded so we didn’t spend much time there. We enjoyed walking around the Folk Park. The village was very interesting. The castle was built in 1425. The Folk Park offers a window on the past — similar to Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI. Then it was off to the Great Southern Hotel at the Shannon Airport. In the evening we went to Knappogue Castle in Quin, County Clare. We really enjoyed the Medieval Banquet and lively entertainment. We wore bibs, drank our soup from a bowl, but otherwise were allowed to be civilized. The dinner was wonderful as was the singing and dancing. The bus was full of happy people and we sang lots of songs going back to the hotel arriving about midnight.
July 9, 1995, Sunday
Sunny, mid 70
- 8:30 am
- Breakfast at the hotel.
- 1:55 pm
- The plane left the Shannon Airport. We flew a little north and left the Emerald Isle flying over the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands. We could see the three Lighthouses on the Aran Islands from the plane. Then it was up into the clouds.
- 3:10 pm (EDT)
- We landed in New York at JFK.
- 7:50 pm
- Our plane left JFK.
- 9:15 pm
- We landed at Detroit Metro Airport.
- 10:50 pm (3:50 am, Monday, BST)
- Arrived Home.
We have memories of a wonderful, fun, and beautiful trip to Ireland. We met wonderful people on the tour and to top it off, they all like lighthouses too! Our thanks to Wayne Wheeler and the U. S. Lighthouse Society for an incredible experience.
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Lighthouses: A Photographic Journey
Conceived and Developed by David S. Carter
Photographs by Donald W. Carter
Text by Diana K. Carter, Donald W. Carter & David S. Carter
Copyright © 1995, 1996 David S. Carter, Donald W. Carter, & Diana K. Carter. All rights reserved. Reproduction by any means, physical or electronic, in part or in full, without the express permission of the authors, is strictly prohibited.