The 10 most stunning & unique LIGHTHOUSES in IRELAND

Let’s take a look at some of the most stunning and unique lighthouses in Ireland that you need to see.

The 10 most stunning & unique LIGHTHOUSES in IRELAND.

Ireland’s coastline is dotted with dozens of lighthouses which have helped seafarers find their way for hundreds of years.

As well as keeping the Irish waters safe and decorating our coastline, these lighthouses offer a unique experience for visitors.

10. Blacksod Lighthouse, Co.Mayo − Ireland’s only square lighthouse

Blacksod Lighthouse is one of the most stunning & unique lighthouses in Ireland.
Credit: Flickr / pricklysarah

It’s not just the views and remote location that make this lighthouse so special as it is, in fact, Ireland’s only square lighthouse and one of three in Europe, truly setting it out from the crowd.

This dramatic lighthouse is made even more special, with breathtaking views of Achill Island and Blackrock Island, which you might remember as the site of the tragic R116 helicopter crash.

While it is not open to the public, it is an incredible sight and must be seen to be believed.

For all you history nerds out there, the lighthouse is also known for its role in changing the course of the D-Day landings in 1944 and, ultimately, WW2.

Address: R313, Fallmore, Co. Mayo, Ireland

9. Fanad Head Lighthouse, Co. Donegal − one tourist attraction you need to see

Fanad Head Lighthouse is one of the most stunning & unique lighthouses in Ireland.

It’s no surprise this lighthouse is considered by many to be one of the world’s most beautiful lighthouses and a highlight of the Wild Atlantic Way.

The idyllic-looking whitewashed lighthouse stands between Lough Swilly, one of Ireland’s few glacial fjords, and the sandy beaches of Mulroy Bay.

Immerse yourself in the wild and rugged environment of the Donegal Gaeltacht by staying overnight in the attached self-catered accommodation. Leave all the stresses of life behind and enjoy the local wildlife and the even wilder local people!

Address: Cionn Fhánada, Eara Thíre na Binne, Baile Láir, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, F92 YC03, Ireland

8. Wicklow Head Lighthouse, Co.Wicklow − one of the most interesting lighthouses in Ireland

Wicklow Head Lighthouse is one of the most stunning & unique lighthouses in Ireland.

Wicklow is known as the Garden of Ireland, and it lives up to that name with its incredible scenery, but if you want to experience Wicklow differently, this is the thing for you.

With its unique octagonal structure and spectacular views over the Irish Sea, this lighthouse, located at Dunbur Head just outside of Wicklow Town, is not to be missed.

If visiting this iconic structure is not enough, the tower has been transformed by Irish Landmark Trust into unforgettable self-catering accommodation.

With 109 steps up to the kitchen on the top floor, a stay here will literally take your breath away. We don’t know about you, but we’d be very impressed if somebody took us here!

Address: Dunbur Head, Co. Wicklow, Ireland

7. Hook Head Lighthouse, Co. Wexford − around since the 5th century

Hood Head is one of the most stunning & unique lighthouses in Ireland.

The iconic black and white stripes of Hook Lighthouse are known all over, but did you know that built over 800 years ago; Hook is now the oldest operational lighthouse in the world? 

Step back in time and take a guided tour of the lighthouse and experience their state-of-the-art visitor centre.

For an even more unique experience, you can book the sunset or sunrise tour led by a local guide. Or, better yet, it’s one of the most unique places to stay in Ireland!

It involves enjoying the spectacle of the sunrise or sunset while sipping on prosecco and munching on some delicious local food.

Address: Churchtown, Hook Head, Co. Wexford, Ireland

6. Loop Head Lighthouse, Co. Clare − a picture-perfect lighthouse

Loop Head is one of the most stunning & unique lighthouses in Ireland.

From the Cliffs of Moher to the Burren, Clare has a lot to offer to its visitors. However, make sure Loop Head and its picturesque lighthouse is on your list.

The lighthouse is perched on the end of the breathtaking Loop Head Peninsula, with sea views in all directions and the opportunity to catch a glimpse of some dolphins, whales or seals. Watch out for the (noisy) seabirds who occupy the cliffs below.

You can learn all about the fascinating history of the lighthouse in the interactive exhibits in the Lighthouse Keeper’s cottage or take a guided tour up the lighthouse tower and onto the balcony.

If you’re lucky, you might be able to see as far as the Blasket Islands off the coast of Kerry. Bring your binoculars!

Address: Kilbaha South, Co. Clare, Ireland

5. Blackhead Lighthouse, Co. Antrim − beautiful views of Belfast Lough

A beautiful lighthouse overlooking Belfast Lough
Credit: Tourism Ireland

This is a stunning clifftop lighthouse just outside the city of Belfast. You can stay in the fabulous self-catered accommodation, the perfect location to explore everything Northern Ireland has to offer.

The restored lighthouse keeper’s cottages next to the lighthouse are full of character, with antique furniture and maritime memorabilia to match your surroundings.

The lighthouse is accessible by foot from Whitehead Boat Club along the Blackhead Path, which takes you along the coast to the lighthouse and then back again.

Whitehead is a small picturesque town, like something off a postcard, with rows of colourful houses lining the seafront.

Address: 20 Blackhead Path, Whitehead, Carrickfergus BT38 9PB

4. Clare Island Lighthouse, Co. Mayo − a tiny Irish island

Set on a tiny Irish island.

Clare Island is the largest of the 365 islands in Clew Bay and is famous for being the home of the legendary Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley. The island has a population of about 160 people but welcomes hundreds of visitors every year.

Where should you stay when you visit Clare Island if it is luxury boutique accommodation is what you want? Trust us and enjoy a truly unforgettable stay at Clare Island Lighthouse.

This unique boutique accommodation is fully catered and features plenty of unique nooks and crannies where you can relax with a glass of wine in comfort and look out at the sea views.

Perfect for a romantic getaway or a family break. Why stay in a regular B&B when you can stay here?

Address: Ballytoughey, Clare Island, Clew Bay, Co. Mayo, Ireland

3. Skellig Micheal Lighthouse, Co. Kerry − famous for many reasons

Skellig Michael is famous for many reasons.

Step into the shoes of your favourite Star Wars character on Skellig Micheal. You may have heard of Skellig Micheal, 10 km (6.2 miles) off the coast of Co. Kerry, as the location of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Long before that, however, it was on this dramatic rocky island, which rises 218 m (715 ft) above the sea, that the monks settled upon. The well-preserved sixth-century monastic settlement still stands today and can be visited when the weather permits.

The building and the incredible path that leads to it are truly a testament to the people who built it on the face of a cliff over 300 years ago, exposed to the full force of the Atlantic Ocean and its raging storms.

Address: Skellig Rock Great, Cahersiveen, Co. Kerry, Ireland

2. Rathlin West Light, Co. Antrim − the upside-down lighthouse

Known as the upside-down lighthouse.

If you find yourself in Northern Ireland, this lighthouse in County Antrim is a must-visit. Rathlin is best known for being Ireland’s only ‘upside down’ lighthouse.

With its precarious cliffside location, a visit to Rathlin West and its visitor centre offers an insight into the challenges faced by the lighthouse keepers who lived and worked there.

The lighthouse is actually on Rathlin Island off the coast of Ballycastle, so leave the hustle and bustle of the mainland behind and enjoy the adventure by boat.

The island is also home to one of the largest seabird colonies in Ireland and the UK. Whether you’re a bird-watching expert or you simply want to enjoy some wildlife and get a taste of island life, this is an experience you’ll never forget.

Address: Rathlin Island – Ballycastle, Ballycastle BT54 6RT 

1. Fastnet Offshore Lighthouse, Co. Cork − located southwest of Mizen Head 

Located southwest of Mizen Head.
Credit: Flickr / Philipp Hullmann

Fastnet Rock, off the coast of Cork, is the most southerly point of Ireland and home to Ireland’s highest lighthouse.

Not to get too emotional, but the incredible lighthouse on the Island has been described as the Teardrop of Ireland because it is the last sight of Ireland for emigrants who sailed to America.

The lighthouse also marks the halfway mark for sailors taking part in one of the world’s best-known sailing races, the Fastnet Race, a round trip from Cowes on the Isle of Wright and back to Plymouth.

While you won’t be expected to sail yourself to the lighthouse, you will have to reach it by ferry if you want to get up close and personal.

Make sure to keep an eye out for whales and dolphins on the way to complete the magical experience.

Location: Southern coast of County Cork

Other notable mentions

Ballycotton is distinct due to its colour.

Galley Head Lighthouse: Located on the southwest coast of the country, Galley Head is another impressive 19th-century Irish lighthouse.

Crookhaven Lighthouse: Another Cork lighthouse that makes an impression is Crookhaven Lighthouse.

Ballycotton Lighthouse: Built in the late 1840s, Ballycotton Lighthouse sits on the unspoilt Ballycotton Island and is distinct due to its all-over black colour.

Bull Rock Lighthouse: This is an active lighthouse that is a sight to behold off Dursey Island.

FAQs about lighthouses in Ireland 

What is the tallest lighthouse in Ireland?

Fastnet Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in Ireland, as it rises 54 m (177 ft) out of the water.

What is the most unique lighthouse in Ireland?

Known as the ‘upside down’ lighthouse, Rathlin West Lighthouse has to be one of the most unique lighthouses in Ireland, if not the world.

How many lighthouses are there in Ireland?

There are 120 lighthouses in Ireland.

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