Valentia Island is on the southwest coast of Ireland, in the southwest part of County Kerry. The island’s lighthouse, built on the grounds of a 17th century fort at Cromwell Point, began service in February 1841. The stone tower stands 49 feet tall, and the adjacent keeper’s house is a concrete building constructed in 1910. Valentia Island’s last light keeper, Harry Staniforth, and his family were the last residents of the station, leaving when the lighthouse was automated in 1947.
The house is now fully restored as a museum, and visitors get to climb the lighthouse tower for a spectacular 360-degree view of the wild Atlantic. The light itself remains active and is maintained by the Commissioners of Irish Lights. Lucian Horvat is the project manager for the Valentia Island Development Company, which has been developing the light station as a tourist destination in collaboration with the Commissioners of Irish Lights and the Kerry County Council. Valentia Island Lighthouse is one of the founding members of the Great Lighthouses of Ireland, a branded partnership established in 2016.
USLHS Executive Director Jeff Gales co-hosts this episode, which will also be available as a video presentation on the USLHS YouTube channel.
Use the player below to listen to the podcast.
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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