Chaine Memorial Tower

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Chaine Memorial Tower

County Antrim

Chaine Monument View - - 2092694.jpg
Chaine Memorial Tower and the Antrim Coast
Type: Monument
Grid reference: D41450296
Location: 54°51’16"N, 5°47’53"W
Built 1888
Irish round tower
Owned by: District council

The Chaine Memorial Tower stands at the entrance to Larne harbour on the east coast of County Antrim. It was built is a memorial to James Chaine, a former Member of Parliament for County Antrim, who died in 1885. Constructed of squared granite quarried in Annalong, County Down, the memorial is built in the form of a cylindrical stone tower with conical roof, in the style of an ancient Irish round tower. In addition to serving as a memorial, the tower is a lighthouse for the harbour entrance, standing on the west side of entrance to Larne Lough.

Chaine was the man who more than anyone developed Larne's short sea route to Great Britain as well as establishing the town as a transatlantic port. The memorial, built in 1888, by public subscription, is a replica of an Irish round tower.

The memorial stands at the mouth of Larne Harbour, and is reached by the Chaine Memorial Road. There is access from Curran Road by way of Bay Road.


The plaque which adorns the memorial is now difficult to read. It reads that the monument was erected by the...

"....contributions of every class in this mixed community irrespective of creed or party, all cordially united in esteem and affection for the Memory of JAMES CHAINE of Ballycraigy and Cairncastle Co. Antrim who represented this County in the Imperial Parliament of Great Britain and Ireland from February 1874 till 4 May 1885 when his early and lamented death in his 44th year of his age deprived his native County of one who had worked indefatigably for its interests especially in developing and improving the natural capabilities of the harbour of Larne and establishing its connection with Great Britain, the United States of America and with the inland parts of this County."


Chain Tower
Sandy Point

County Antrim

Chaine Tower or The Pencil, Larne Harbour - - 407093.jpg
The tower at sunrise from Sandy Bay.
Grid reference: D41450296
Location: 54°51’16"N, 5°47’53"W
Height: 75 feet
Tower shape: slim cylindrical tower
with conical roof;
light shown throught a window
Tower marking: Unpainted
Light: Iso WR 5s.
Focal height: 75 feet
Admiralty No.: A6031
Built 1888
First lit: 1899

As the memorial was being planned, sea captains requested it be built to serve as a lighthouse for the harbor. In 1885 therefore, the Memorial Committee for Chaine sought the assistance of the Commissioners of Irish Lights to help to build and maintain the tower, but they initially refused. Eventually it was agreed the Memorial Committee would build the replica round tower, without a light, at Sandy Point Bay, and the Larne Harbour authority would maintain it. The approved tower was completed in January 1888.[1]

In 1896 it was suggested that a light be added to the tower. As a result, the Commissioners of Irish Lights took over the tower and on 1 July 1899,[1] an oil powered navigational light was installed 72 feet up the tower (the tower being 92 feet in height). The light was installed to aid the navigation of the Hunter Rock, a submerged rock approximately 5 miles off shore. The light was de-manned[2] and converted to coal gas from the Larne mains gas supply in 1905, before finally being converted to electric in September 1935.[1] During April 1948 the supply was changed from DC to AC.

Responsibility for maintaining the light now falls under the remit of the attending keeper at Ferris Point Lighthouse on the other side of the Harbour.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Chaine Memorial Tower)


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Long, Bill: 'Bright Light, White Water. The Lighthouses of Ireland' (New Island Books, Dublin, 1997) pages 181–2
  2. Eagle, John: 'Ireland's Lighthouses: a Photo Essay' (Collins Press, Cork, 2010) page 151
Lighthouses of the Commissioners of Irish Lights

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