Tory Island Lighthouse

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Tory Island Lighthouse

County Donegal

Tory Island
The Lighthouse, Tory Island - - 1432672.jpg
Tory Island Lighthouse
Grid reference: NQ03341545
Location: 55°16’22"N, 8°14’56"W
Height: 90 feet
Tower marking: Black, white band
Light: Fl (4) W 30 secs
Night time only
Focal height: 130 feet
Range: 18 nautical miles
Built 1832
First lit: 1 August 1832
Architect: George Halpin
Owned by: Commissioners of Irish Lights
Website: Irish Lights: Tory island

Tory Island Lighthouse stands on the north-western headland of Tory Island, the remotest inhabited island of Ireland, and which lies nine miles off the caost of mainland County Donegal.

The tower stands 90 feet high, placing its light 130 feet above sea level. It was originally painted all black, but in May 1956 a single broad white band was added.


A Lighthouse on Tory Island was requested by the Harbour Commissioners and Merchants of Sligo in April 1828 and approval for the project was granted by Trinity House in December 1828. At this early stage it was decided that when Tory Island light was established, Aranmore light would be extinguished.

The tower and buildings were designed by Inspector George Halpin and built by the workmen of the Board under his supervision, and was completed and lit on 1st August 1832.

A dioptric lens with a multi-wick oil lamp replaced the original oil lamps and reflectors in 1862. A major alteration was made to the optic in 1887, to make the lens revolve, giving a flashing character.

The light source was coal gas which lasted until 1923: gas was made in the gas works at the station. Then from 1923 until 1972 the light source was vaporised paraffin. In 1972 the light source was converted to electric and at the same time the intensity of the light was increased giving a range of 30 nautical miles. The duration of the flash was increased to 0.2 seconds. The character of the light remained the same at Gp Fl (4) every 30 seconds.

A fog signal was established in 1887. In March 1989 it was changed from a diaphone signal to an electric horn. From 1978 until October 1994, when the fog signal was discontinued, the light was exhibited in poor visibility when the fog signal was sounding.

A radiobeacon was established in 1931. In more recent times utilisation of radio direction finders by mariners has been, to a great extent, superseded by more modern technology. For this reason the Commissioners discontinued their Medium Frequency Radiobeacon service on the 1st February 1999.

An encrypted Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) station at Tory Island, provided by Scorpio Navigation Services on a commercial, user pays basis, commenced on 4 June 1993. This service terminated on 28 February 1998. In June 1998 the Commissioners of Irish lights commenced their own unencrypted DGPS service on a trial basis.

In March 1990 the lighthouse was converted to automatic operation and the keepers were withdrawn from the station. The station is in the care of an Attendant and the aids to navigation are also monitored by a telemetry link from the Irish Lights headquarters in Dún Laoghaire.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Tory Island 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