This weekend: Shine a Light on Summer Festival

Explore the some of Ireland’s greatest lighthouses with the Shine a Light on Summer Festival. The festival running over the May bank holiday weekend will take place across eight of the 12 Great Lighthouses of Ireland in some of the most spectacular coastal locations that the country has to offer. Meet the story keepers and guides who will take you through some of the amazing history of these structures who’ve helped seafarers find their way for centuries. Immerse yourself in maritime history, discover world of shipwrecks beneath the waves and marvel at the maritime, craft and technology demonstrations. Each location will offer immersive storytelling telling, the best locals crafts and competitions.

This is a great opportunity to get the best behind the scenes look at how these lighthouse operate with experts from the Commissioners of Irish Lights, who operate many of the lighthouses on our coastlines. Scale the heights of these towers to get some of most impressive coastal views.

fanad lighthouse

Fanad Lighthouse, Co. Donegal

This will be the official opening of the new visitor attraction at Fanad Lighthouse. The lighthouse who is nearing it’s 200 birthday was recently handed over to the Fanad Community to start this new and exciting venture. This is the only lighthouse in the Gaeltacht open to the public so it will be embracing this with Irish language based entertainment as well as local crafts and traditional music

Clare Island Lighthouse

Clare Island, Co. Mayo

Clare Island was home of the legendary pirate Queen Gráinne Ní Mháille and the lighthouse here dates back to 1806 when the original one was built by the Marquis of Sligo. The open day will take place on Sunday the 1st of May with a choir recital by the Singing Sistas.  

loop head lighthouse

Photo:Valerie O’Sullivan

Loop Head, Co. Clare

Learn the exciting history of the Loop Head lighthouse that goes all the way back to 1670 with family friendly events, tours and storytelling. And why not discover the majesty of the peninsula with guided walks setting off on Monday morning.

Valentia island Lighthouse

Valentia Island, Co. Kerry

Discover the beauty of Valentia Island and learn all about the 17th Century Cromwell Fort, the site on which the lighthouse is built in an exciting heritage talk. There will also be traditional music, demonstrations from the RNLI and a B.B.Q. Not to be missed!

Ballycotton Lighthouse, Co. Cork

The team at the Ballycotton Lighthouse Tours are teaming up with the Ballycotton Lifeboat Crew to ‘Shine a Light on Safety’.On Sunday the Lifeboat House will be open to the public so visitors can learn all about safety at sea, the Ballycotton shipwreck and rescue stories. There will also be competitions and tours out around the bay, weather permitting.  

More information: Ballycotton Lighthouse Tours 

hook lighthouse

Hook Lighthouse, Co. Wexford

There will be double the celebrations at Hook Lighthouse with the Hooked on the Sea festival taking place on the same weekend. There will be a bunch of family fun including marine themed events, workshops, beach foraging, picnics and water sports all on the beautiful Hook Peninsula.

rathlin west

Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre, Co. Antrim

Rathlin Island has a wonderful newly opened visitor experience is home to Ireland’s only ‘upside down’ lighthouse. There will be plenty of family fun entertainment and it’s a fantastic chance to enjoy the sights of some of the magnificent wildlife the inhabits the island including adorable puffin.  

The Shine a Light on Summer Festival takes place from 30th April to 2nd of May so don’t miss out on the chance to check out these amazing lighthouses.

More more info: Great Lighthouses of Ireland

Read More: The best Irish Maritime Festivals


About the Author

Ann Robinson
Has a passion for coastal heritage and maritime history. Loves sharing the best of the Irish coast online. Contact me or follow me on Twitter @AnnRobinson22