Photo with kind permission of Trinity House.
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POSITION 52° 44'.97 N 04° 47'.95 W
Location: small Island off the Lleyn Peninsula, Caernavonshire, Wales.
No. On Admiralty List of Lights: 5234
Present Tower Built: 1821
Tower Composition: grey marble
Height of Tower: 98 ft 6 ins (30 m)
Designer/ builder: Joseph Nelson
Focal Height of Light: 128 ft (39 m) above mean high water
First Lit: 10th December 1821
Light Characteristic: white group flashing, 5 times every 15 seconds
Visible Range on clear night: nominal 26 nautical miles
Tower floodlit since 1973: to reduce the hazard for migrating birds
Leaving Strumble Head behind, vessels enter Cardigan Bay, where in the 1890s a lightship was stationed which is no longer in use. The next headland encountered is the Lleyn Peninsula of Caernavonshire with the small island of Bardsey separated from the mainland by the Bardsey Sound.
The island, some 2 miles long by ½ mile wide, is surrounded by outcrops of sharp rocks.
In the sixth century Bardsey was a refuge for the Celts who sought sanctuary from the bloodthirsty Saxons. Only the ruins of the Abbey of St. Mary remain, but the sanctity of its patron, St Dolmers, who died there in 612 made the Abbey famous all over Britain. The remains of many venerable monks were conveyed to the island to be buried, and acres of graves record tales of pious and laborious lives.
Bardsey Lighthouse stands on the southerly tip of the island and gives a guide to vessels in passage through St George's Channel and the Irish Sea. The building was established by Trinity House and built by Joseph Nelson in 1821, at a cost of £5,470 12s 6d plus a further £2,950 16s 7d for the lantern. However this talented engineer/builder was close to bankrupcy because of the contract running over time.
The tower was floodlit in 1973 to reduce the hazard to migrating birds. This was done in conjuction with the Royal Society for the Preservation of Birds (RSPB), of which Trinity House allots a special funding.
The lighthouse was converted to automatic operation in 1987 and since that time an attendant keeper carries out the routine inspections.
It is monitored 24 hours a day from the Trinity House Depot at Harwich.