Great Lighthouses of Ireland RTE Documentary Announced

Great Lighthouses of Ireland RTE Documentary Announced

Great Lighthouses of Ireland RTE Documentary Announced

Irish Lights has announced its involvement in a four-part documentary series with RTE 1 that tells the story of Ireland’s lighthouses and the associated aids to navigation network around the island of Ireland and the vital role it plays in ensuring safety at sea for all.   

The documentary, Great Lighthouses of Ireland, illustrates Irish Lights’ leading role in safe navigation at sea from the 1800s to the present day, and the advances that have taken place in relation to Aids to Navigation from an engineering and technology perspective during this period. The documentary pays tribute to Irish Lights’ heritage and the people behind the lighthouse service, and the pivotal role they played in the history and life around the coast over generations. The show will air on RTE 1 from Sunday 30th September at 6.30pm for four consecutive weeks.  

Speaking about the documentary, Yvonne Shields O’Connor, Chief Executive, Irish Lights said, “Irish Lights is delighted to collaborate with RTE on this documentary which showcases the previously untold stories of lighthouses in Ireland, their keepers and the vital role they have played in maritime safety in this country over the past 200 years.  It is a wonderful testament to our organisation's rich heritage and the dedicated people who have supported Irish Lights in its mission to ensure safe navigation at sea.  Today Irish Lights continues to be at the forefront of maritime safety, using advances in technology and engineering to deliver reliable and wide-ranging services to support a diverse and important maritime industry around the coast north and south.” 

The first episode will show the important role of Ireland’s lighthouses in providing safe navigation at sea.  As an island nation, almost everything we consume, from food to electronics, fuel and vehicles, arrives by sea. The visual and electronic Aids to Navigation operated by Irish Lights support the safe passage of ships around our often-dangerous coastal waters, and viewers will see glimpses of what life was like for lighthouse keepers and their families in earlier periods. 

The second episode will uncover how Ireland became a world-leader in lighthouse engineering. Often working in hostile and treacherous natural locations, Ireland’s lighthouse engineers and builders used incredible ingenuity to achieve what seemed impossible. 

The third episode explores Ireland’s forgotten naval history, and the surprising roles that lighthouse keepers played in both the First and Second World Wars.  The final episode will focus on the transition to the automation of lighthouses, and it will show how Irish Lights is at the forefront of modern technology, from advances in lighthouse lighting to sophisticated buoys that tweet information to mariners.   

With over 340 General Aids to Navigation in the form of lighthouses, buoys, beacons, electronic Aids to Navigation and a range of digital services, the Irish Lights operational network constitutes a critical coastal infrastructure for the safety of all at sea and our coastal communities. In addition to profiling the important work of ILV Granuaile, this episode will highlight the work Irish Lights does to protect and develop its heritage assets for the benefit of the Irish public through the hugely successful Great Lighthouses of Ireland North-South tourism and heritage initiative.  



About the documentary

Great Lighthouses of Ireland is produced by Lighthouse Films DAC in association with Irish Lights for RTE and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.    

About The Commissioners of Irish Lights

The mission of Irish Lights is Safe Navigation at Sea.  We are a maritime organisation delivering essential 24/7 safety and navigation services around the coast of Ireland (North and South), 365 days a year. Our vision is to protect lives, property, trade and the environment by delivering next generation maritime services at the interface of navigation technology, engineering and data management.   

Irish Lights is responsible for Maritime Aids to Navigation under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention. This remit includes the provision and maintenance of over 340 general aids to navigation, the superintendence of approx. 3,200 local aids to navigation, and marking or removing dangerous wrecks outside harbour areas around Ireland.

Irish Lights also provides a range of navigation and contract commercial services including ship charter, buoy and maritime data. We provide value added services to support the development of the broader maritime economy including Met and Coastal Data Services. The Irish Lights tourism and heritage initiative, ‘Great Lighthouses of Ireland' was developed in partnership with local communities and offers visitors from home and abroad the chance to visit or stay in a working lighthouse.   

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About the General Lighthouse Authorities

The General Lighthouse Authorities of the United Kingdom and Ireland are Trinity House, the Northern Lighthouse Board and Irish Lights. Together they have the statutory responsibility for the provision of marine aids to navigation around the British Isles. Their joint mission is the delivery of a reliable, efficient and cost-effective aid to navigation service for the benefit and safety of all mariners. 

Please visit the following websites for more information

Trinity House:

Northern Lighthouse Board:

Irish Lights: