A “new experience to take your breath away”, that’s the promise from Great Lighthouses of Ireland, an EU funded tourism initiative which was launched recently by the Commissioners of Irish Lights.
Featuring twelve lighthouses in stunning coastal locations - including Rathlin Island - Great Lighthouses of Ireland will offer unforgettable experiences and create a deep appreciation of the role of lighthouses, past and present, and in the maritime and seafaring story of the island of Ireland.
Brian Connolly of Tourism Northern Ireland said: “Great Lighthouses of Ireland provide some of the most scenic coastal viewing points while offering a fascinating insight into our rich maritime heritage. Our lighthouses have a wealth of stories, myths and legends that can now be enjoyed by our visitors who can visit or stay overnight depending on the offer. This experience also integrates well with Northern Ireland’s strategic coastal driving routes, the Causeway Coastal Route and Mourne Coastal Route and the future opening of the Gobbins Visitor Experience, which is located near Blackhead Lighthouse.
“Great lighthouses of Ireland and its offer presents a valuable opportunity for an enhanced visitor experience which will encourage visitors to stop off, explore more and spend more time and money in the local visitor economy,” he concluded.
Rathlin West Light Seabird Sanctuary will offer visitors insights into the lighthouse’s past and its current role - this, together with the opportunity to see and admire the largest seabird colony in these Islands from the amazing viewing platforms, will be an experience not to be missed.
The lighthouse at Rathlin – the only “upside down” lighthouse in Ireland, is a particularly extraordinary feat of engineering. It was built into the cliff face, and a special pier and an inclined railway from the pier to the cliff top had to be built to facilitate its construction. Now run by the RSPB NI, over 250,000 seabirds return to breed on Rathlin Island every year including guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes, fulmars and puffins. The area also offers the chance to see seals and rare coastal flowers. www.greatlighthouses.com or Twitter: @gtlighthouses