The 2017 tourist season at Loop Head Lighthouse commences tomorrow as the historic West Clare landmark opens to the public for the first time this year.
Clare County Council, which manages the lighthouse in conjunction with the Commissioner of Irish Lights (CIL), says 27,274 people visited the lighthouse in 2016 delivering an estimated €2 million injection to the local economy.
The popular tourist attraction is located at the mouth of the Shannon Estuary on the Loop Head Peninsula, which is one of two “Signature Discovery Points” in County Clare along the route of the Wild Atlantic Way. It also is a landmark location on the Loop Head Heritage Trail and is one of 12 Great Lighthouses of Ireland.
Councillor Bill Chambers, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, commented, “The popularity of the lighthouse amongst domestic and international visitors is very encouraging and is testament to the partnership approach adopted by the Council and the local community, including Loop Head Tourism, in promoting the attraction. Loop Head Peninsula is one of Ireland’s most scenic and heritage rich locations and I am delighted to see that the Lighthouse is playing a central role in growing the sustainable development of the local tourism sector.”
Gerard Dollard, Director of Services, Clare County Council, said, “The increase in visitors last year represents the 5th successive annual increase in visitor numbers at the lighthouse. Clare County Council is continuing to work closely with Elected Members, the local community, Loop Head Tourism and other tourism development agencies in promoting the sustainable development of tourism throughout the Peninsula.”
Loop Head Lighthouse 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 monitored by the CIL.
Loop Head Lighthouse will remain open daily (10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.) until November 5th.