The Harbour Lighthouse at Howth stands on the pier and faces towards Ireland Eye. The Lighthouse is operated by the Commissioners of Irish Lights and came into operation in 1818. The lighthouse tower is 10m high and is a charming, distinctive building along the pier walkway. Howth was not a particularly useful harbour for large boats as it regularly filled with silt and mud and so in 1817 work began on constructing a harbour in neighbouring Dun Laughaire.
Various correspondence and reports refer to the management of the new Howth Lighthouse according to the Commissioners of Irish Lights:
(11.6.1818) Inspector Halpin reported that he had taken possession of the new pier head lighthouse at Howth but found that it was neither ready for a lightkeeper nor suitably constructed for lighting the harbour. Halpin submitted that the apartment be made as comfortable as possible for the keeper and that the sheet iron be replaced by plate glass so that the light can be seen from inside the harbour and on entering or leaving it. Extra lamps and reflectors would be required. The Board ordered that Mr. Halpin's suggestions be complied with immediately.
(18.6.1818) The following week the Corporation received a letter from the Howth Harbour Commissioners stating that their Engineer, Mr. Aird and the Harbour Master, Lieutenant Browne, had pointed out the necessity of three additional reflectors in the lantern to cover the entrance of the harbour. In their reply the Corporation mentioned that this defect had been perceived by their Inspector and alterations were going ahead.
The fixed red light was established on 1st July 1818, it compromised twelve Argand lamps with red lamp glasses and silvered copper catoptric reflectors. The cut stone tower is very similar to the tower designed by John Rennie and established about the same time at Salt Island, Holyhead Harbour. The overall height of tower lantern and dome is approximately 14.5m.
(17.5.1821) The Corporation ordered a letter to be addressed to the Commissioners of Howth Harbour informing them that it was found necessary to provide a residence for the keeper also and oil store. It was proposed to erect such adjoining the house (lighthouse) if it does not interfere with any present arrangements of the Commissioners. A plan was enclosed for their information.
(31.5.1821) The Howth Harbour Commissioners fully agreed with the additions.
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