Photo Copyright - Philip Plisson.
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POSITION 54°18.4' North 8°37.0' West
Location: Blackrock, Co. Sligo
Present Tower Built: 1862-64
Tower Composition: Local Stone & Masonry
Height of Tower: 50 ft (25m)
Focal Height of Light: 282 ft (24m) above mean high water
First Lit: 1st June 1835.
Present Light Characteristic: Fl W 5s. White flash every 5 seconds
Visible Range on clear night: nominal 13 nautical miles (white)
Auxiliary Light: Over Wheat and Seal Rocks
Present Light Characteristic: Red flash every 3 seconds
Visible Range on clear night: nominal 5 nautical miles
Became an unwatched station - 29th November 1934
A beacon had been established on Blackrock sometime in the 18th century but had been washed away by 1814 according to the merchants of Sligo who were looking for the beacon to be re-established. This was carried out by a local man in 1816 but found to be inadequate so another more substantial beacon of solid limestone faced on the outside was built by Thomas Ham of Ballina, and completed in November 1819, it was 51 feet (15.5m) high.
During 1821 the ship owners of Sligo requested that the Blackrock beacon be converted into a lighthouse and the metal man which was proposed to be placed on top should be placed on a pedestal on Perch Rock off Oyster Island. This happened in 1821 but Blackrock beacon was not converted into a lighthouse until 1833-34 using the solid beacon as the base of the tower, hence the outside spiral staircase to the entrance door well above the high water mark. The light was established on 1st June 1835.
Panniers were added in 1863 to give extra accommodation. These were subsequently removed in the early 1970s. The light was converted from oil to acetylene and made unwatched and the lantern truncated on the 29th November 1934. Prior to this the character was changed from Fixed White with a red sector to Double flashing white every 5 seconds visible all round.
The tower’s colour was changed from white to white with a black band in the centre. It was converted to electric on 15th September 1965 when its character was changed to Fl W 5 secs.
An auxiliary light was established over the Wheat and Seal rocks on the 1st December 1891 and discontinued on 11th November 1893 when a red sector was integrated into the main light. The red sector was discontinued in 1898.
The auxiliary light re-established in 1934 with a character of a single red flash every 3 seconds visible from 107 degrees to 130degrees.
Like the main light the auxiliary was converted to electric on 15th September 1965.
Blackrock, Co. Sligo