This is part two of a three-part interview with the Irish lighthouse keeper and author Gerald Butler. Gerald is the co-author of the classic book The Lightkeeper: A Memoir. A third generation lighthouse keeper on both sides, Gerald Butler went to work for the Commissioners of Irish Lights in 1969. He spent most of his career as an assistant keeper on the Bull Rock, Fastnet Rock, Old Head of Kinsale, and Mizen Head lighthouses.
A new short documentary film has been produced about Gerald Butler’s career as a lighthouse keeper. The film, called The Last Lightkeeper, was directed by Niamh Hayes. It was selected for the International Filmmaker Festival in New York last May.
In part two of the interview, much of the focus is on the iconic Fastnet Lighthouse, especially the story of what happened in 1979 when Gerald was a keeper there during one of the worst disasters in the history of yacht racing. Part three of the interview with Gerald Butler will be posted on Thursday, October 28.
Jeremy D’Entremont is the author of more than 20 books and hundreds of articles on lighthouses and maritime history. He is the president and historian for the American Lighthouse Foundation and founder of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, and he has lectured and narrated cruises throughout the Northeast and in other regions. He is also the producer and host of the U.S. Lighthouse Society podcast, “Light Hearted.” He can be emailed at Jeremy@uslhs.org