Lighthouses of Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Lighthouses: Guiding the way along the stunning coast of Country Down and County Antrim.

Please note that some of these lighthouses offer holiday accommodation or may be privately owned.  

Please take care not to trespass or drive on private property.

Lighthouses of Northern Ireland

There are some stunning lighthouses along the rugged coastline of Northern Ireland. These iconic structures tell tales of maritime legends and the unyielding beauty of the Irish coastline.

From the famous Giant’s Causeway Coast to the shores of Carlingford Lough, these beacons are living chapters of Northern Ireland’s maritime heritage.

Scattered along these shores are some of the most beautiful lighthouses in Ireland. Join us on a journey as we explore the enchanting lighthouses of County Down and Antrim.

County Down

The Mourne Mountains are a prominent feature of County Down’s landscape, their slopes extending down to the coast.

The distinctive tower of Haulbowline Lighthouse is a familiar sight at the entrance to Carlingford Lough. The historic lough straddles the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Its former Shore Station overlooks the harbour and now provides guest accommodation.

Further north, the popular seaside town of Newcastle is known for its beautiful sandy beach and the Mourne Mountains backdrop. The distinctive St John’s Point Lighthouse is close by with its vibrant yellow and black bands, making it a striking coastal landmark. Established in 1844, the lighthouse marks the entrance to Dundrum Bay, and the keepers’ cottages are available to stay in.

St John's Point Down
St John’s Point Lighthouse
Photo: Patrick Tubby

Ardglass is a fishing village with a charming harbour and a history dating back to the 13th century. It is a popular seafood destination with a harbour lighthouse on the pier.

Strangford Lough is a large, scenic sea lough on the eastern coast of County Down, known for its abundant wildlife, including seals and various bird species.  Marking the entrance to Strangford Lough, the disused lighthouse of Angus Rock stands on a tiny island between Killard Point and Ballyquintin Point.

Heading inland along the shores of Strangford Lough at the Down Cruising Club, the former Lightship Petrel is now used as a clubhouse.

On the Ards Peninsula, just off the Portavogie coastline, is South Rock Lighthouse. Originally named the Kilwarlin Lighthouse, it was later replaced by the South Rock Lightvessel in 1877, but the tower remains.

The historic coastal town of Donaghadee features a picturesque harbour and iconic Donaghadee Lighthouse. From Donaghadee, it is possible to get a boat rip out to the Copeland Islands, which mark the southern entrance to Belfast Lough.  The remote Mew Island lighthouse is on one of the Copeland Islands and has guided ships through the Irish Sea since 1884. While access to the island is limited, the lighthouse can be admired from afar while exploring the Copeland Islands or Donaghadee.  On Lighthouse Island is the remains of the former lighthouse.

Lighthouse and buildings
Mew Island Lighthouse
Photo: Patrick Tubby

Bangor is a seaside town known for its beautiful coastal setting on the southern shore of Belfast Lough. It is approximately 13 miles east of Belfast, making it a popular destination for day trips from the capital city. The town features the Eisenhower pier extending into the lough. At the end of the pier is a modern lighthouse marking the entrance to Bangor Marina.

The Titanic Quarter is a large waterfront development in Belfast known for its historical role in the story of the RMS Titanic. Titanic was built in the Harland and Wolff shipyard located in this area. She was one of the most famous ships in history and tragically sank on its maiden voyage in 1912.

Titanic Belfast offers a state-of-the-art museum and visitor centre telling the story of the Titanic’s construction, launch, and tragic sinking. The ship’s hull inspires the building’s design and is a notable architectural landmark.

The Titanic Quarter features a scenic waterfront along the River Lagan and the Victoria Channel. Along the Maritime Mile is the Great Light, housing the former hyperradial optic from Mew Island lighthouse.

County Antrim

The Antrim Coastline is a popular tourist destination with a rich blend of history, culture, and outdoor activities. 

Notable sites include the Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Legend has it that this geological wonder was the result of a battle between Irish and Scottish giants. Parts of the county also featured as locations for filming scenes from the television series Game of Thrones

The Blackhead Coastal Path is a scenic walking route near the town of Whitehead and passes Blackhead Lighthouse on the clifftop. This coastal path offers spectacular views of the rugged Antrim Coast and the North Channel. You can enjoy panoramic vistas of the sea and the surrounding cliffs and hills, and you can also stay at the lighthouse!

Blackhead Antrim Lighthouse
Blackhead Lighthouse
Photo: Patrick Tubby

Islandmagee is a peninsula and region jutting out into the North Channel and the Irish Sea.  The peninsula is known for its stunning coastal views, with rugged cliffs, rocky shorelines, and picturesque coves. One of the notable attractions along this stretch of coast is The Gobbins Coastal Path, a stunning and exhilarating guided cliff path walk. The path is renowned for its dramatic scenery, rugged cliffs, suspension bridges, and sea caves. Visitors must follow safety instructions and wear appropriate clothing and footwear during the walk.

Larne is a historic port town which serves as a gateway to the scenic Antrim Coast.  Larne has a long history as a port town, and it continues to be an important transport hub. The town’s ferry terminal connects Northern Ireland to Scotland, making it a major point of entry and exit for travellers.

At the entrance to Larne Harbour is Ferris Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse is no longer operational but is still used as a base for the Commissioners of Irish Lighthouses.  It was previously a depot and served the offshore Maidens Lighthouses. Across the water on the western side of Larne Lough is the Chaine Memorial Tower. Commonly known as Chaine Tower, the historic landmark is a prominent structure and a notable feature of Larne’s skyline. 

Maidens Lighthouse
Maidens Lighthouse
Photo: Patrick Tubby

Maidens Lighthouse is a prominent coastal lighthouse located on the Maidens Rocks. These islands are offshore but visible from the entrance to Larne Lough. Two lighthouses originally operated, one on each island, but only one is now operational. There is a tale of a son and daughter of respective lighthouses falling in love and eloping from the lighthouses. 

On the northern coast is Rathlin Island, home home to three lighthouses.  Rathlin East Lighthouse has been guiding ships through the treacherous waters of the North Channel since 1856. Rathlin West is an unusual upside-down lighthouse and has an excellent visitor centre.  There are not many lighthouses where you have to climb down the tower to get to the lantern!


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