Roche’s Point Lighthouse is situated at the entrance to Cork Harbour. A lighthouse was first established on 4 June 1817 to guide ships into Cork Harbour. The original tower was deemed too small and in 1835 was replaced by the larger present tower which is 49 feet high with a diameter of 12 feet.
On Sunday 4th June 2017 there was an open day at the lighthouse to commemorate the 200th year of the establishment of the lighthouse. Over 1,500 people turned up for the chance to climb the lighthouse up to the balcony. Former lighthouse keepers were present for the open day.
The last stop of the RMS Titanic before its fatal voyage!
History in Lights
The original light apparatus consisted of ten Argand oil lamps and ten catoptric reflectors. In 1876 the optic was changed to a Second Order Fresnel lens, which is still in use. The lighthouse was converted to electric in 1970. The character of the light was occulting 20s (on for 15 seconds and off for 5 seconds). This was altered on the 15 August 1993 to Fl WR 3s (one white and red flash every three seconds). From April 1978 the light has also been exhibited in conditions of poor visibility while the fog signal was sounding. Roche’s Point has red sectors built into the main light to mark navigational hazards approaching the harbour such as the Daunt Rock near Robert’s Cove and the Cow and Calf rocks just below the lighthouse. The sectors are as follows:
- Red: shore-292°
- White: 292°-016° (84°)
- Red: 016°-033° (17°)
- White: 033°-159° (126°)
- Red: 159°-shore
The part of the light that is seen from land is unintensified so as not to disturb those on shore. The light at full intensity (facing sea) has a range of 20 nautical miles for the white light (37.04 km) and 17 nautical miles for the red sector (31.5 km). The light is 30 meters above high water and continues to be exhibited by day in periods of poor visibility and at night. The lighthouse, compound walls and adjacent buildings are painted white for daytime conspicuousness.
The Roche’s Point lighthouse was automated in 1995. Apart from the engine house and adjacent building, all the other buildings were sold at public auction.
On the 26th July 2017 Irish Lights issued a Notice to Mariners that on the 18th October the current electric bulb within the Fresnel Lens would be changed to a LED bulb created by the General Lighthouse Authorities. Due to storms Opheilia, Brian and Caroline in Ireland, this had been postponed. On Monday 26th February 2018 the new LED bulb developed by R&RNAV was installed at Roche’s Point. The LED bulb uses significantly less electricity for almost the same visual range and has a life of about 10 years. The new bulb was placed into the centre of the second order Fresnel lens to maintain the long range of the light. Many are happy with this as the heritage of the lighthouse will be retained, unlike some lighthouses that have had their traditional lens completely removed and replaced with a new LED apparatus.
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