Ruvaal Lighthouse is located at the northern end of Islay. It is also known as Rhuvaal, or Rubh a’Mhail, which means rough promontory.
The lighthouse marks the Sound of Islay, separating the islands of Jura and Islay. The 100 feet tall lighthouse was built to warn of the Neva Rocks to the west of the lighthouse. The lighthouse first exhibited a light on 1st January 1859.
In 1981, the lighthouse service helicopter was helping install power lines over the 4 miles from Bunnahabhain to Ruvaal Lighthouse. Whilst attempting to land a pole, the helicopter struck the pole with the main rotor cutting the top section off the pole and destroying its rotor. The helicopter crashed, ending up with the broken stump of pole lying across the tail boom. The pilot fortunately escaped.
In 1982 a new lighting system was installed using an array of sealed beam lamps. The former second-order optic is now on display at Colonsay Gardens on the island of Colonsay.
The following year, in 1983, the lighthouse was automated. The lighthouse cottages are privately owned.