The May Bank Holiday weekend kick-starts the 2017 Great Lighthouses of Ireland Festival.

From Hook (Co Wexford) to Loop (Co Clare) and the islands of Rathlin (Co Antrim) to Valentia and Ballycotton on the south coast, lighthouses around the coast are opening their doors for a weekend of discovery, stories and music.

 GLI Fanad

Fanad, Co Donegal

According to Lonely Planet, Hook Head lighthouse is the No 1 flashiest lighthouse in the world… Learn about the maritime history of Ireland’s Ancient East at a Pirate school taught by Capt Hook and Pirate Pat; relax with a tour of the lighthouse or try your hand at one of the lawn games!

Climb to the top of the iconic Loop lighthouse for majestic vistas and learn its maritime heritage or enjoy the best local food and browse local crafts.

Take a trip on the Rathlin Island ferry to the West Light ‘upside-down’ lighthouse to welcome back the puffins, visiting kittiwakes and razorbills nesting on the cliffs.

A visit to Valentia, Co Kerry, home of the ‘dark skies’, will be a memorable occasion; hear tales of war and conquest – long before Star Wars fame…

Capture the best memories of lighthouse photography in tours at Fanad, Co Donegal – voted one of the most beautiful lighthouses in the world, or take a trip to East Cork for tales and stories of lighthouse keeping on Ballycotton Island.

Yvonne Shields, CEO of Irish Lights, said the festival was an important event that marked 250 years of providing navigation services, and their connection with coastal communities:

“As the keepers and custodians of some of the most spectacular maritime heritage properties on the island of Ireland, we are encouraging everyone to come and enjoy all that Great Lighthouses of Ireland has to offer over this weekend.”

Fiona Monaghan, Head of Wild Atlantic Way at Fáilte Ireland said the festival encourages visitors to experience the wonders of life shaped by the sea, and to meet with the people who are passionate about these unique places:

“This is a weekend to embrace the Wild Atlantic Way and to discover the stories of the lighthouses and their communities.”

The Great Lighthouses of Ireland project is funded by the EU INTERREG IVA cross-border programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes body (SEPUB).

Great Lighthouses of Ireland’s operating partners include the Irish Landmark Trust; Commissioners of Irish Lights; the Royal Society for Protection of Birds; Forbairt Fhanada Teoranta (Fanad Community Group); Clare County Council; Ballycotton Lighthouse Tours; Mid & East Antrim Borough Council; Hook Heritage Ltd; Valentia Island Development Company; Kerry County Council and Clare Island Lighthouse.

GLI is also supported by Fáilte Ireland; Tourism Northern Ireland and Tourism Ireland.

Great Lighthouses of Ireland

St John’s Point Co Donegal | Hook, Co Wexford

Fanad Head, Co Donegal | Ballycotton, Co Cork

Rathlin West Light, Co Antrim | Galley Head, Co Cork

Blackhead, Co Antrim | Loop Head, Co Clare

St John’s Point, Co Antrim | Clare Island, Co Mayo

Wicklow Head, Co Wicklow