Thursday, 1 June 2017

ST JOHN'S POINT AND KILLOUGH



The lighthouse at St John’s Point is striped like many lighthouses, but is distinctive in that the stripes are black and yellow in the manner of a bumble bee.  It is the tallest onshore lighthouse on the Irish coast, having been extended to a height of 40m in the 1880s, and it was automated in 1981.  In 2015 the locals in the area were up in arms about a proposal to replace the six-ton antique lamp with a cheaper LED version.  The headland was immortalised in song by Van Morrison when, in his song Coney Island, he talked of  “stopping off  at St John’s Point”.  Its other claim to fame is that the ill-fated Titanic did her sea trials in the waters off here.

The village of Killough, formerly named St Ann’s Port, lies on the west shore of an almost-enclosed bay.  The present-day name comes from the Irish Cill Locha, meaning “church of the loch”, the church in question being long since gone.  The harbour was built in the 18th century and became an important departure point for the export of locally grown cereals.  However, by the 19th century the port was going into a decline due to the collapse of grain prices.  Around the same time the village became popular as a seaside destination, not least for its attractive tree-lined main street lined with low-rise cottages and pubs.  Killough and Coney Island, facing the village across the bay, had their moment of Hollywood fame in 2012 when they featured in the short film The Shore, directed by local lad Terry George, which won the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film.


File:St Johns (19), October 2009.JPG
St John's Point Lighthouse. Photo by Ardfern, via Wikimedia Commons
 

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