Galley Head Lighthouse one of West Corks most beautiful destinations.
Originally built-in 1875 and completely commissioned in 1878, it was the brightest lighthouse in the world at this time.
It truly is a remarkable sight from the air, the rugged coastline in front of the lighthouse stick out like fingers floating in the sea.
This can be seen clearly in the aerial video below. Please read on for more information on this iconic landmark.
The lighthouse is built on a 40m+ high headland known as Dundeady Island which is joined to the mainland by an isthmus, the ruins of
Dundeady castle can also still be seen on the island.
The light from the lighthouse is said to be at least 53m above high tide level and can be seen from over 23 nautical miles away now.
A point little known about the lighthouse locally is when it was completed in 1878 it was the brightest lighthouse in the world.
To this day it is still one of the brightest in Europe with its beam visible for over 23 nautical miles.
This is where history possibly meets folklore now but Galley head lighthouse was said to be the only lighthouse in the world to have its beam shining back towards land. Exactly how this happened as of yet is not confirmed but rumour has it that when Lord Carbery had the sultan of Turkey over for a visit the Sultan standing at one of the many windows in Lord Carbery’s Castlefreke Castle, asked what the building standing on the headland was. When Lord Carbery explained its purpose the Sultan enquired as to why the lighthouse didn’t shine back on land.
Shortly afterwards it’s rumoured that Lord Carbery had two more panes of glass installed so the light could be seen from the castle and shone back on the land around Castlefreke and West of the Lighthouse. Is this true? Well, I am lead to believe it is, part of me also possibly wants to believe it.
The lighthouse was built by building contractors William M. Murphy of Bantry between 1873 and 1878. They built all the house walls and tower for the Lighthouse but not the lantern itself.
The original lantern was powered by gas but was changed over to Parrafin in 1907 and again to electricity in 1969 and then in 1979 it was fully automated.
When you consider this lighthouse has withstood the ravages of the sea for over 143 years now and think of the sights it has seen over the years from small wooden sailing boats to the now super tankers passing along the horizon.
This place is the Wild Atlantic way all rolled into one small place.
Beautiful, rugged, peaceful, incredibly wild and finally just breathtaking.
Don’t just take my word for it, go see it for yourself.
See you out there,