Situated at the western entrance to Berehaven, Ardnakinna Lighthouse is an attractive feature on Bere Island’s shoreline.
It marks the western entrance to Castletownbere, and the white sector of the light shows boats the the safe approach to Bere Island Sound and to Castletownbere Harbour, which is the largest whitefish port in Ireland.
The lighthouse began life as a beacon which cost £46,000 to build in the mid-nineteenth century. The construction of the freestanding circular beacon was recommended in 1847, and the beacon was erected in 1850, before finally being capped in 1863.
The Ardnakinna beacon was upgraded to a lighthouse in 1965 after the loss of a trawler in the area. The light was formally turned on 23 November 1965 and was looked after, along with two other lights, by an attendant at the Castletownbere helicopter base.
Today, like all of Ireland’s lighthouses, the structure is managed remotely by Irish Lights. Its low-powered LED lights – installed in 2014 – are highly powerful but are much more cost-effective and environmentally friendly than the diesel-powered lights that ran the lighthouse before.
The white light is visible from a distance of 14 nautical miles and the red for 9 nautical miles, and the lights flash every 10 seconds during the hours of darkness.
The first three stages of the lighthouse structure still retain much of their original character, including the square-headed openings. The newer light – added in the mid twentieth century – fits well with the original structure, and looks like an original feature to the untrained eye
The Ardnakinna Lighthouse Loop Walk
For the visitor to Bere Island, Ardnakinna Lighthouse makes an attractive viewing point and landmark on the Ardnakinna Lighthouse Loop Walk, on the west end of Bere Island.
Image: Irish Lights