Balbriggan Lighthouse
Current Version Built:
Height (ft):
Dublin Port Company

Balbriggan Harbour was built between 1761 and 1765 as part of a huge investment in the land by the area's landlord Judge (later Baron) George Hamilton, who was particularly proud of the pier he had built to protect the harbour, so much so that it was said by his peers that he could not go more than fifteen minutes without talking about Balbriggan pier. He had every right to be proud of this achievement though, as very quickly the small harbour became an important hub of trade, exporting corn and timber, and importing slate and coal. The pier gained the addition of the lighthouse in 1769, although at that time it was shorter and lit by candles.

The harbour grew in importance, with Hamilton going on to found the cotton mills in the town in 1780, which bought with them drastic increase in the town's population and prosperity.

Around 1812 at Hamilton's recommendation the lighthouse was raised in height, resulting in the tower as it exists today. The candles were replaced by five oil lamps and parabolic reflectors, greatly improving the quality of the light. However the light's importance reduced somewhat in 1860 when nearby Rockabill lighthouse entered operation, becoming the main landfall light for the area.

By 1960 the old lantern room had badly corroded, and it was decided to remove it, with some sources claiming that it was at this time that the light was electrified. Since then, at least two different lamps were installed at the top of the tower, mounted atop the original lamp pedestal, which was left open to the elements. A circular water-tight hatch was added to provide access to the top of the tower, where the spiral staircase would have previously entered the lantern room. In 1979 the harbour wall was breached, with a large section of the wall being completely washed away, however it was soon repaired.

The responsibility for the lighthouse was transferred to Dublin Port in 1989, and as time went on the tower fell further into disrepair, although this trend was eventually reversed in the late 2000s when the tower was repainted, followed in 2011 by more work undertaken to replace the windows in the tower, including the reopening of the shore-facing top floor window, which had been bricked up. New traditional sash window frames were installed by Joseph McNally Joinery.

September 18th, 2018, saw the most significant change to the lighthouse in several decades, when a new lantern room was lifted into place atop the tower by a mobile crane, completing Fingal County Council's long-awaited restoration of the town's landmark lighthouse. The new lantern had been fabricated off-site using modern methods and is not an exact copy of the original; it is however a very convincing replica from any distance and has greatly improved the appearance of the harbour.