I live close to the coast and even though I don’t consider myself as a landscape photographer and I don’t always take advantage of the natural beauty that surrounds me. Photographers have always been attracted to capturing lighthouses and I think that within an hour’s drive from my home there are about ten of them on the south coast of Ireland. I always try to photograph them when there is minimal light either just before dawn or after sunset, just enough light to make out the lighthouse itself.
The photograph above is of Roches Point lighthouse in Cork Harbour and only about ten minutes from where I now live. The original lighthouse was built in 1817 and replaced in 1835 by the present structure. When I was a young boy our family used to spend our summer holidays just across the bay in Crosshaven. I can still remember the sound of the foghorn as it sounded it’s warning to mariners. In 2011 the lighthouse foghorn was decommissioned because it was felt that foghorns were no longer an effective aid to navigation despite much opposition from local people who felt reassured by its sound.
On a historical note Cork Harbour was one of the major transatlantic ports and was the departure point for 2.5 million of the six million Irish people who emigrated to North America between 1848 and 1950. In April 1912 Cork was last port of call for the White Star liner RMS Titanic before she crossed the Atlantic on her ill fated voyage. One hundred and twenty three passengers boarded the vessel here of which forty-four survived. In 1915 the Cunard passenger liner RMS Lusitania was torpedoed by a German Submarine off Cork coast and 1,198 passengers died, while 700 were rescued. The survivors and the dead alike were brought to the Cork harbour town of Queenstown (now called Cobh), and the bodies of over 100 who perished in the disaster lie buried there in the Old Church Cemetery .