TOURISM ATTRACTION The famous Blacksod Lighthouse will be open for tours to the public this summer.
THE famous Blacksod Lighthouse will be open to the public this summer after Mayo County Council formally agreed to lease the building to a local development company.
Last month it was announced that guided tours will be available at the lighthouse after it was confirmed that a lease agreement had been reached with Mayo County Council and Comharchumann Forbartha Ionad Deirbhile (CFID).
Údarás na Gaeltachta, in conjunction with CFID, was successful in obtaining funding of €2.5 million to extend the Ionad Deirbhile heritage centre in the Eachléim Gaeltacht and to develop Blacksod Lighthouse.
The historic lighthouse has been run by the Sweeney family for many years and was once a metrological station. In June 1944, the weather report from Maureen Sweeney resulted in Allied Forces postponing D-Day by 24 hours and as a result altered the course of history.
The story of the D-Day weather report will be one of the many stories which will be told to visitors of the lighthouse.
Speaking at the monthly meeting of Mayo County Council following the official agreement of the lease, Erris-based councillor Gerry Coyle said he was delighted to see the project come to fruition.
“I want to thank people in the council for the great work they did here and also acknowledge the great work of Comharchumann Forbartha Ionad Deirbhile who have taken over the lease of the building. That is the most famous building in Ireland. We were neutral in the war but that played a most significant part in the World War and I would like to acknowledge the Sweeney family for what they have done for Europe,” he said.
Cllr Coyle also praised the work that CFID do for the community and especially thanked them for all they did when the Coast Guard helicopter R116 was lost off the coast of Blacksod in March 2017.
Fellow Erris councillor Seán Carey echoed what Cllr Coyle said and believed the guided tours of the lighthouse will be a catalyst for tourism in the area. He praised the Sweeney family for its many years of association with the lighthouse and wished Maureen Sweeney who is 98 years well.
“This is a tremendous good news project for the area and I welcome it very much,” he said.
A coffee hub at Blacksod outside the lighthouse will also be opened to provide a service of tea/coffee and snacks to the community and visitors alike.
The building will remain a working lighthouse and will still be used by the rescue services and coast guard for refuelling. As a result tours will be postponed should this service be required.
For more information follow the Blacksod Lighthouse Facebook and Instagram pages at @Blacksodlighthouse and visit the website www.visitblacksodlighthouse.ie.