Valentia Island Lighthouse
A Beautiful Lighthouse with Scenic Views, Rich in History, and So Much More
Valentia Island Lighthouse is one of the Great Lighthouses of Ireland, a tourism initiative by the Commissioners of Irish Lights.
The Great Lighthouses of Ireland features a list of 12 lighthouses scattered around Ireland where tourists can visit and stay to admire the beauty around and study their history and the technology that drives them today.
Valentia Island Lighthouse is built on the 17th century Cromwell Fleetwood Fort at Cromwell Point, Glanleam, in County Kerry.
Valentia Island is one of Ireland’s most westerly points, just off the Iveragh Peninsula.
All You Need to Know
Valentia Lighthouse is about 15 m high and opened in 1841. It was automated almost a century later in 1947 before which a keeper and his family resided within.
To date, the lighthouse is functional and helps ensure maritime safety in the vicinity. It is open to visitors seven days a week from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm.
The road to the lighthouse is narrow, but Valentia Island’s beauty and the picturesque 360-degree view from the top make it well worth it. On a day with calm weather and clear skies, you can spot the Blasket Islands and the UNESCO World Heritage Site Skellig Michael from the balcony.
Entry charges are also nominal at €7.50 per adult and €4 per child under 12.
A trip to Valentia Island Lighthouse is pretty convenient if you discount the narrow and steep driveway. You can opt for a self-tour or a guided tour; either way, you’re bound to enjoy yourself.
The guides are quite knowledgeable and know the history well, so opting for a guided tour would be a great idea, especially if you’re curious about places and their history rather than just the scenic beauty.
A small café; on the grounds offers light refreshments if you’re hungry or thirsty (don’t forget to try the homemade cakes). They also provide free Wi-Fi, so keep that in mind in case you may need it.
What Else Is There?
There’s plenty to see at the site than just the lighthouse. The lighthouse keeper’s cottage has a small museum with relevant artefacts, and you can also see what little remains of the Cromwell Fort.
Apart from this, not far from the lighthouse you can see dinosaur footprints estimated to date back to almost 350-370 million years ago. And it’s not a single print, but more like a trackway, where you can discern that a four-legged animal stepped out of the water onto land.
It’s the oldest evidence of perhaps one of the earliest four-legged vertebrates moving over land – something not many can claim to have seen.
If you’re in or around Valentia Island, I definitely recommend you add Valentia Island Lighthouse to your plans. The place is a must-visit for history lovers and nature lovers alike (or if you enjoy visiting sites that offer the best landscapes and seascapes for Instagram-worthy pictures).
Check out my web pages on the Ring of Kerry Drive, The Skellig Ring and Slea Head Drive.