Beacons at Brownstown Head

Construction of the pair of navigation beacons at Brownstown Head and the 3 beacons at Newtown Head across the bay, commenced in 1819.

According to the historian R.H. Ryland,  “The beacons were commissioned ‘at the earnest solicitation of the harbour commissioners’ following the “Sea Horse” disaster (1816) to distinguish Tramore Bay from the entrance into Waterford Harbour ‘ and consequently to avoid the dangerous bay where sunken rocks nearly covered by the sea at high water render the approach particularly dangerous.”

The pair of circular-plan beacons are constructed of finely dressed stone, gently tapering to the top and finished with a  limestone “cap”. Originally these navigation aids were white washed to be more visible.

The design of the beacons has, in the past, been credited to Alexander Nimmo but research by the Commissioners of Irish Lights, has identified that it is more likely that beacons were designed by George Halpin,  Inspector of Works and Harbours for the Ballast Board.

  • Photo courtesy of the NIAH

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