Loop Head to host international radio broadcast as part of international lighthouse celebration
Loop Head Lighthouse in Co Clare will be among hundreds of lighthouses and lightships worldwide to participate in an event aimed at promoting public awareness of lighthouses and lightships and their need for preservation and restoration. Limerick Radio Club will broadcast from the lighthouse on the weekend of August 18 and 19 as part of the 15th International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend.
During the broadcast, visitors to the lighthouse will be able to listen into communications with some of the other participating ham radio operators broadcasting from 400 other lighthouses and lightships in 50 countries.
The annual event, which is conducted under the sponsorship of the Ayr Amateur Radio Group (AARG) in Scotland, coincides on the Sunday with International Lighthouse Day, an event organised by the Association of Lighthouse Keepers whereby many world lighthouses are open to the public for the day.
Ireland will be represented by lighthouses at Loop Head (Clare), Roches Point (Cork), St John’s Point (Down), Cromwell Point (Kerry), and Blacksod (Mayo).
“We hope to open long distance communications with regions in Asia, through Europe, North and South America, Australia and New Zealand,” said Simon Kenny, chairperson of Limerick Radio Club. “A special QSL Card (confirmation of communication) has been designed to mark the event. Club membership is open to individuals from all walks of life who are interested in radio communications, electronic construction, and antenna design. The club will operate two stations, one of which will be at the entrance to the lighthouse so members of the public can listen to some of the transmissions. Our web site is www.limerickradioclub.ie”
Loop Head Lighthouse, located at the mouth of the Shannon Estuary, is steeped in history and rich in maritime heritage with its origins dating back to the 1670s. The existing tower style lighthouse was constructed in 1854 and was operated and maintained by a keeper who lived within the lighthouse compound. In January 1991, the lighthouse was converted to automatic operation, and today is in the care of an attendant and is also monitored by the CIL.
The lighthouse reopened to the public this summer, following a successful trial scheme in 2011 that resulted in an estimated 17,000 people visiting the landmark building.
Further information on the International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend is available from www.illw.net Visit www.loophead.ie or www.clare.ie for more information on Loop Head Lighthouse and the Loop Head Peninsula.