CLARE, Ireland – Loop Head Lighthouse in West Clare, one of the Great Lighthouses of Ireland, will reopen to the public this Saturday (March 12th 2016).
Clare County Council, which manages the facility in conjunction with the Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIL), says the historic lighthouse will remain open daily (10am-6pm) until October 2nd.
The popular tourist attraction attracted 26,932 visitors during 2015. The figure represents an increase of 6,564 or 32% on 2014 visitor numbers.
Loop Head Lighthouse is a landmark location on the Loop Head Heritage Trail which was named winner of the ‘Culture and Heritage’ category of the 2015 World Responsible Tourism Awards. It is also one of twelve lighthouses which make up Great Lighthouses of Ireland, a new all-island tourism initiative, and is one of two Signature Discovery Points in County Clare along the route of the Wild Atlantic Way.
Cllr. James Breen, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council said the lighthouse has become “a key driver” of visitor numbers to the Loop Head Peninsula since it was first opened to the public in 2011.
He added, “Loop Head Lighthouse truly is one of the tourism success stories for County Clare in recent years. It has helped to strengthen the profile, both nationally and internationally, of the wider Loop Head Peninsula and what it has to offer as a tourism destination. Its promotion as a Signature Discovery Point along the route of the Wild Atlantic Way has also ensured that the attraction has been promoted both in Ireland and overseas, which is reflected in the origin of visitors.”
Almost half of the total visitor figure during 2015 was represented by Irish visitors, with Germany, North America, UK, France and Italy collectively accounting for more than 42% of the overall figure.
Loop Head Lighthouse, located at the mouth of the Shannon Estuary, is steeped in history and rich in maritime heritage with its origins dating back to the 1670s. The existing tower style lighthouse was constructed in 1854 and was operated and maintained by a keeper who lived within the lighthouse compound. In January 1991, the lighthouse was converted to automatic operation, and today is in the care of an attendant and is also monitored by the CIL.