Haulbowline Lighthouse

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Haulbowline Lighthouse

County Down

Haulbowline Lighthouse - geograph.org.uk - 497381.jpg
Haulbowline Lighthouse
Grid reference: J25940955
Location: 54.019948,-6.078938 -6.078938
Height: 112 feet
Tower shape: tapered tower
Tower marking: unpainted tower, white lantern
Light: Fl (3) W 10s.
Focal height: 105 feet
Range: 10 nautical miles
Admiralty No.: A5928
Built 1824
Owned by: Commissioners of Irish Lights

The Haulbowline Lighthouse is an active 19th century lighthouse standing at the entrance to Carlingford Lough, near Cranfield Point in County Down. It was built in 1824, and has been described as an "elegant, tapering stone tower",[1]

The lighthouse was built on the eastern part of the Haulbowline rocks, one of a number of navigation hazards at the seaward end of Carlingford Lough, which include a notable rocky shoal or bar across the mouth of the lough. The multi-purpose light was designed to help mark the rocks and, when first built, the depth of water over the bar, as well as acting as a landfall light for ships entering from the Irish Sea.

Associated with the lighthouse are the leading lights at Green Island and Vidal Bank which mark the safe channel along Carlingford Lough, with Haulbowline displaying a reserve light in case of problems with these leading lights.[2]


The lighthouse was designed by George Halpin following complaints made to the Ballast Board, the predecessor organisation of the Commissioners of Irish Lights that the existing shore-based Cranfield Point Lighthouse was inadequate in marking both the channel and the treacherous rocks at the lough entrance, many of which were only revealed at low tide. The new lighthouse was completed in 1842.

The light at Cranfield Point was both poorly positioned and had been built too close to the eroding coastline, and in 1860 it finally succumbed to the sea, and collapsed onto the beach. The keeper’s cottages which survived, were subsequently used by the staff and families of Haulbowline until 1922, when new houses were constructed nearby in Greencastle.

Construction of Haulbowline's stone tower, at 112 feet, has been described as "a remarkable achievement at the time", given the location "on a semi-submerged rock with fast currents running around it".[2] Originally white in colour, the paint was removed in 1946 to reveal the stone beneath.

The principal light is displayed 105 feet above sea level as a constant white light. A secondary light was also displayed on a balcony facing the sea, known as a half-tide light, this was lit when the state of the tide was such that there would be enough depth for ships to pass into the lough, and until 1922 a black ball was also raised on a mast above the tower during daylight hours, to indicate the same tidal conditions.[2]

The main light characteristic changed in 1899, from a fixed light to that showing a pattern of three flashes of white light in 30 seconds, this changed in 1922 to the one that is still used today of three flashes over a period of ten seconds.[2]

The lighthouse is maintained by the Commissioners of Irish Lights, and is registered under the international Admiralty number A5928.

Green Island and Vidal Bank leading lights

Marking the narrow channel within Carlingford Lough near Haulbowline are the leading lights of Green Island and Vidal Bank. The lighthouse keepers at Haulbowline historically also maintained these lights.[2][3]

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Haulbowline Lighthouse)


Lighthouses of the Commissioners of Irish Lights

County Donegal:  InishowenInishtrahullFanadDunreeBuncranaTory IslandArranmoreBallagh RocksRathlin O'BirneRotten IslandSt John's   County AntrimBlack HeadChaine MemorialThe MaidensRathlin EastRue PointRathlin West   County DownGreen IslandVidal BankHaulbowlineSt John's PointAngus RockDonaghadeeMew Island   County LouthDundalk   County DublinMuglinsPoolbegKish BankBailyHowth HeadRockabill   County WicklowWicklow Head   County WexfordDuncannonHook HeadTuskar Rock   County WaterfordMine HeadBallinacourty PointDunmore East   County CorkBull RockArdnakinnaCastletownRoancarrigSheep's HeadMizen HeadCrookhavenCopper PointFastnet RockBaltimore BeaconGalley HeadOld Head of KinsaleCharles FortRoches PointBallycottonYoughal   County KerryLittle Samphire IslandInishtearaghtCromwell PointValentia RearValentia FrontSkelligs   County ClareBlackheadLoop HeadKilcredaun HeadCorlis Point FrontCorlis Point RearScattery Island   County GalwaySlyne HeadCashla BayEeraghStraw IslandInisheer   County MayoBroadhavenEagle IslandBlacksodBlacksod BayAchillbegInishgort County SligoBlackrockLower Rosses PointMetal ManOyster Island