Sunday, November 13, 2011
Old Head is one of the major lighthouses on the South Irish coast and also serves as a guide to the entrance of Kinsale Harbor. It is located at the end of a narrow, rocky peninsula about 20 km (12 mi) south of Kinsale (51°36.287' N 08°32.018' W). The 31 m (100 ft) round masonry tower was first lit on October 1, 1853 and painted white with two red bands. The color scheme was changed to black with two white bands during the summer of 1930. The light source was a multi-concentric wick oil lamp at the focus of a first order dioptric lens with a range of 21 miles (33km). The light station had 2-story keeper's houses and other buildings enclosed by a stone wall.
The light was converted from vapourised paraffin to electric on April 25, 1972 and the intensity of the light was increased giving a range of 25 nautical miles. On April 1, 1987 the Old Head of Kinsale Lighthouse was converted to unwatched automatic operation and the keepers were withdrawn.
In the 1990s a golf club, the Old Head Golf Links, was built on the Old Head; the light station now stands behind the green of the fourth hole, which is called the Razor's Edge. Since the golf course opened, access to the Old Head of Kinsale has been restricted to golfers and guests only, and there has been a long-running campaign for the restoration of public access. The Old Head's lighthouse/golf matter has been controversial, but the Irish Supreme Court has confirmed the golf club's right to close access through its property.