Salt Island Lighthouse

Salt Island lighthouse

Salt Island Lighthouse, located on the Holyhead Mail Pier, was designed in 1821 by engineer John Rennie. Three lighthouses have existed on the island, but little is known about the earlier lighthouses.  Before the 1800s vessels moored beyond Salt Island in a creek where a lighthouse was built. 

The lighthouse is thought to be the second oldest lighthouse in Wales; the oldest being Point of Ayr Lighthouse.

Holyhead Harbour was the terminal for mail packets to and from Dublin. An identical tower was also built at Howth in Ireland for the terminal of the Irish packet.

Salt Island is thought to have derived its name from a factory on the island that processed salt from seawater.  By the early 18th century, rock salt was often mixed with sea salt to increase the quality. The island forms part of the Port of Holyhead and is almost entirely used for ferries to and from Ireland.

Admiralty Pier, also known as the Mail Pier, the main pier on the island, opened in 1821.  It extends 980 feet eastwards.  The current lighthouse was built in the same year and replaced an earlier tower built by Daniel.

On 7th August 1821, King George IV arrived at Holyhead from Ireland.  Admiralty Arch was built to commemorate his visit.  It was constructed in 1826 following the completion of the Menai Suspension Bridge.  Queen Victoria set sail to Ireland from here in 1898.

Salt Island Lighthouse

In 1864 a wooden jetty was built around the lighthouse and a railway station was established.

A gasworks located on the island powered the lighthouse and piers.

A new outer harbour was opened in 1873 and the new Holyhead Breakwater lighthouse came into operation.  Salt Island Lighthouse was downgraded, exhibiting a red light.  For a time the lighthouse displayed harbour entry lights.

In 2001 the island land was reclaimed to expand the island, extending it to a further 11 acres.

A gasworks located on the island powered the lighthouse and piers.

Following the opening of a new harbour in 1873 and the establishment of the Holyhead Breakwater lighthouse, Salt Island Lighthouse was decommissioned.

Established: 1821
Discontinued: 1873
Engineer: John Rennie
Tower Height: 15 metres