Photo copyright - Philip Plisson.
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Position: 51°36.3' North 8°31.9' West
Location: south-east coast
Present lighthouse tower built: (1853)
Composition of tower: Granite
Designer: George Halpin (jnr)
Builder: Corporation for Preserving and Improving the Port of Dublin
Height of tower: 98 ft (30 m)
Focal plane of light: 234 ft (72 m) above mean high water spring tides
Light first lit: 1853
Light characteristic: 2 white flashes every 10 seconds, also exhibited by day when the fog signal is sounding
Visible range: nominal 25 nautical miles.
Fog Signal: Horn 3 blasts every 45 seconds.
According to tradition there was a lighted beacon at the Old Head of Kinsale in pre-Christian times.
The first lighthouse proper dates from c.1665 and was a cottage-type lighthouse of a design unique to Ireland. Its remains are still standing.
A new lighthouse 42 feet high came into operation in 1814. The light was 294 feet above sea level and, because of this, was frequently obscured by fog or low cloud. It was subsequently decided to build the present lighthouse at a lower level at the point of the headland.
The new station, completed in 1853, was built to the specification of George Halpin (jnr), Inspector of Lighthouses to the Corporation for Preserving and Improving the Port of Dublin, by the Corporation’s own tradesmen.
The light was modernised in 1907 when a new lantern containing a rotating optic and incandescent vaporised paraffin burner was installed.
In 1972 the light was converted to electric and the station was automated in 1987.
Old Head of Kinsale