Caught by the River

Lighthouses of the UK #9: Donaghadee

Ben Langworthy | 28th October 2018

Illustrator Ben Langworthy continues his mission to draw each of the 300+ lighthouses which pepper the UK coastline

The Donaghadee Lighthouse is found at the end of a breakwater marking the seaward entrance to the small town of Donaghadee in County Down, Northern Ireland. There has been a harbour here since at least the 17th century, and the town features prominently in Irish history. The harbour itself has been rebuilt and improved many times over the centuries, with the current stone pier originally being designed by John Rennie the Elder, who is perhaps best remembered for designing London’s Waterloo bridge.

The limestone lighthouse stands 16 meters high and was completed in 1836. It was converted to an electric light on the 2nd October 1934, giving it the distinction of being the first lighthouse in Ireland to be electrified.

Donaghadee was also the home port of the famous RNLI lifeboat the Samuel Kelly, which, along with her brave local crew, saved 33 people from MV Princess Victoria on the 31st of January 1953. High winds and 50-foot waves had prevented other ships from aiding the stricken ferry, and tragically, 133 others – including all the women and children, all the ship’s officers, and the then-deputy Prime Minister of Northern Ireland – perished.


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