The Great Lighthouses of Ireland Project

The Fanad Lighthouse Project has been developed through a partnership involving the Commissioners of Irish Lights, Fanad Lighthouse Committee, Fáilte Ireland and the Donegal County Council.  As the owner of the site and its facilities, the Commissioner of Irish Lights successfully applied for SEUPB Inter-reg funds to develop accommodation on the site of the Fanad Lighthouse as part of the Great Lighthouses of Ireland trail.

Following the securing of the Inter-reg funds and discussions with the Commissioners of Irish Lights, the local community decided to come together and form a Company in order to take on the responsibility for the management of the accommodation and any associated developments thereafter. These include the option of guided tours of the Lighthouse itself along with the proposed future development of an adjacent Visitor Centre for tourists. The accommodation element will be completed in June 2015 and will receive visitors from July, 2015.

The project also aims to develop the site as a key stop along the Wild Atlantic Way. The Wild Atlantic Way is a world-famous coastal route that spans seven of Ireland’s counties, taking in some breathtaking scenery along the way. From Donegal to Galway, Kerry to Cork, the Wild Atlantic Way is promoted internationally as a journey of discovery. Fanad Lighthouse is one of three signature points in Donegal and this offers huge potential benefits to the project.

Fanad Lighthouse Quick Guide

  • Fanad Head Lighthouse is situated on the northern coast of the Fanad Peninsula in North Donegal.
  • The Lighthouse is a signature discovery point on the Wild Atlantic Way.
  • The light is 39 metres above sea level and there are 79 steps in the tower.Fanad Lighthouse now offers guests the opportunity to stay in our newly refurbished self catering cottages. There are three cottages available at the Lighthouse for a truly unique holiday experience.
  • The Tower is 22 metres high from foundation to the top of the tower not including the lantern.
  • This light is classified as a sea light as distinct from a harbour light although it does mark the entrance to Lough Swilly which is a natural harbour of refuge.
  • The original building was commissioned following the Saldanha wreck. Building commenced in 1815 and was completed in 2 years by the Commissioners of the Ballast Board. It is of granite and was sent from the North hall , Dublin, ready prepared.
  • The building was designed by the corporation’s inspector Mr George Halpin and the building work was overseen by a Mr.Carpenter of Dublin and cost £2,000. The light was first lit on St. Patrick’s day 17th March 1817.
  • The building consisted of two separate dwellings for Light-keepers connected to the central tower.
  • By 1978 only a Principal Keeper was retained in Fanad, and when he retired in 1983 the lighthouse was reclassified as an Attendant station and the retired Principal Keeper remained on as part time Attendant.
  • In more recent years the lighthouse has only required a caretaker.