St John’s Point Lighthouse, County Donegal

St John's Point Lighthouse Donegal

St John’s Point Lighthouse is located on a prominent headland in County Donegal and guides vessels to Killybegs Harbour past Rotten Island. A lighthouse was later established on Rotten Island to further navigation into the harbour.

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Applications for a light on the northern shore of Donegal Bay date back to as early as 1825. Killybegs merchants, sailors and fishermen all called for a navigation aid in the area. The application was approved in April 1829, and Trinity House sanctioned its construction a month later.

St John’s Point Lighthouse was established on 4th November 1831. The ancillary buildings were still being built when the tower came into operation. It was built of granite, painted white and displayed a first-order catoptric optic. An occulting light replaced this around a hundred years later. The system was powered using acetylene gas rather than oil.

The lighthouse station was made unwatched on 30th November 1932. Its character was changed on 1st July 1942 from occulting to flashing 2 seconds every 6 seconds.

St John's Donegal

The lighthouse at St John’s was converted to electric operation in 1962 with a standby diesel generator. The full mains switchover occurred on 24th September of that year, and an acetylene burner was in situ in case of mains failure.

The character was altered again on 1st February 1965 from 2 seconds to 1.5 seconds.

The lighthouse is not open to visitors, but you can reach the lighthouse along the peninsula. St John’s Point Beach is a 1.5km walk or drive.  Boat trips to Rotten Island are also available.

Close to the lighthouse at the end of the headland is the EIRE 70 sign, and a Local Defence Force (LDF) Lookout Post is nearby. These were used during World War II. The EIRE signs were made from whitewashed stones and were designed to be visible to American pilots.

St John’s Point was number 70, with 71 along the coast at Carrigan Head. There are 83 Lookout Posts around the Irish coast with identifying numbers.



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Established: 1831
Tower Height: 14 metres
Light Character: Fl W 6 s
Light Range: 15 miles
Elevation: 30 metres
Automated: 30 November 1932