Comharchumann Forbartha Ionad Deirbhile has taken the next step in their preparations to open Blacksod Lighthouse to the public. This week Irish Lights and Mayo County Council signed a lease with Comharchumann Forbartha Ionad Deirbhile to take over this historic building and open it to the public for guided tours.
The lighthouse, which is property of the Commissioners of Irish Lights, will bring to life the stories of the lighthouse, its keepers and their contribution to world history.
Welcoming this development, Chairperson of Comharchumann Forbartha Ionad Deirbhile Seán Ó Gallachóir said: "This building has contributed to the safety of those who make their living from the sea and to the economic viability of this area for many years, and we are delighted to work with Údarás na Gaeltachta, Mayo County Council and the Commissioners of Irish Lights to open this building to the local community and visitors alike".
Blacksod Lighthouse is scheduled to open to the public on Friday, July 30. A local team from CFID and Údarás na Gaeltachta are working hard to get ready for this and intense activity is underway in the background at the moment to make this happen. A process of research has now been completed to identify the story of the lighthouse itself, how it was built, as well as the lightkeepers that worked here and their day to day lives.
Blacksod Lighthouse earned a special place in world history when Lighthouse Keeper Ted Sweeney and his wife Maureen provided essential weather reports to the allied forces who were planning the D-Day landing in 1944, which saved countless lives during the landings itself, and which marked the beginning of the end of World War 2. This work also highlights some of the history of three neighbouring lighthouses in the Erris region: Blackrock, Eagle Island and Ballyglass.
A design team were employed to prepare the interpretation and displays for Blacksod Lighthouse in order to offer a high-quality experience for the visitor.
Design works have also been completed to renovate the building and this work will be in line with Blackrock Lighthouse’s status as a Protected Structure, and CFID are working with the conservation experts in Mayo Co. Council and the building specialists in the Commissioners of Irish Lights on this.
Access to Blacksod Lighthouse will be by guided tour and CFID and Mayo Northeast LEADER Company are currently delivering a training programme for the guides who will be giving the guided tours. Tours can be booked the website www.visitblacksodlighthouse.ie
Opening Blacksod lighthouse to the public is just one part of the Áras Scéalta an Atlantaigh project, an innovative Tourism Hub & Spoke development in Eachléim. Áras Scéalta an Atlantaigh received €2.5 million capital funding from the RRDF, Roinn na Gaeltachta and Údarás na Gaeltachta and is supported by Mayo Co. Council, the Commissioners of Irish Lights and Fáilte Ireland. Áras Scéalta an Atlantaigh Tourism hub is being developed in Eachléim village by Údarás na Gaeltachta for Comharchumann Forbartha Ionad Deirbhile. Opening in 2023, the project will build on the stories of Blacksod and dive deeper into the local heritage and maritime history of our peninsula.