A Festival of Light will take place around Carlingford Lough from Friday 11th August to Friday 1st September, creating a nightly spectacle from 9:30pm up to 1:00am, with light reflecting off iconic structures across the waters of the Lough.
The Loughs Agency has encouraged property managers to illuminate the following iconic structures around the cross-border lough: – Haulbowline Lighthouse tower, Greenore Lighthouse, Boher Chapel, King John’s Castle, Narrow Water Castle, Ross’s Monument and Greencastle Royal Castle.
As part of the festival, Newry Maritime Association will illuminate the tower of the Haulbowline lighthouse at the mouth of Carlingford Lough. This was undertaken in 2016 to mark the centennial of the collision between two ships (the ‘Connemara’ and the ‘Retriever’) at the entrance to the Lough, in which 94 souls perished.
This year, the illumination of the lighthouse has taken on an added significance. The Northern Ireland Coastguard has asked that it be dedicated to the memory of the crew of the Search and Rescue helicopter (R116) which was lost off the coast of Mayo earlier in the year.
Rescue 116 was a regular visitor to the Carlingford Lough area. The weekend prior to their sad demise, the crew of R116 attended an air accident in Carlingford where a private helicopter had crashed. They airlifted the pilot to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin in what was to be their penultimate mission. Next was Mayo and tragedy. The crew of Rescue 116 had very strong local links.
A partnership has been formed to deliver the Festival of Light with partners including the Newry Maritime Association, Loughs Agency, Irish Lights, Warrenpoint Harbour Authority, Carlingford Lough Commissioners, Louth County Council, Greenore Port, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, the Historic Environment Division (Department for Communities) and the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.
L-R James McArevey NMA,
Back: Andy Sides, Development Officer at Loughs Agency, Richard Chestnutt (Chestnutt Holiday Parks) Mickey Mallon NMA
Front: Michael O’Hare NMA, Sharon McMahon, Loughs Agency Designated Officer.
The project would not have been possible without the indispensable contribution of Tyrone-based RMK Electrical, the light tender vessel “Slieve Ban” (skippered by Captain Thomas Cunningham) and Peyton Cunningham and Captain Sean Cunningham on their vessel the “William John”.