Inishowen Lighthouse, known locally as Stroove lighthouse, was built in 1837 to protect the busy shipping lane at the entrance of Lough Foyle. The lighthouse is built on Dunagree Point which is 1km south of Inishowen head and serves to protect ships from Tuns Bank, a sandbank lying to the north east of Macgilligan’s Point.
The shipping lane at Lough Foyle was important for the port of Derry as it served immigrants travelling to America and Australia then becoming a naval base for the U.S during World War 2, it was established in 1944 until 1977.
The design of Stroove lighthouse
The lighthouse was designed by George Halpin who was a leading civil engineer and lighthouse builder in Ireland. Known for being the founding father of the Irish lighthouse service Halpin constructed much of Dublin Port, several bridges in Dublin and lighthouses. As inspector of lighthouses in Ireland the number of Irish lighthouses increased from fourteen to seventy-two.
Designed with two towers Stroove Lighthouse went through several upgrades since being first built. The West tower stood at 25m high and in 1870 an extra 8m added bringing it to a height of 33m. The lighthouse was originally oil-powered until it was upgraded to electricity in 1961.
On 31st August 1979 the lighthouse at Stroove was automated and the keeper was replaced with an attendant who lives in the closest house to the lighthouse.
A lighthouse of many names
One thing you may have noticed is the different names given to this lighthouse. Officially known as Inishowen Lighthouse, according to the Commissioners of Irish Lights, its also known as Stroove, Strove, Shroove, Shrove or even Dunagree. Is that because of the different accents in the region? Who knows…