Digest>Archives> May/Jun 2015

Planned Lens Change Brews Controversy


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St. Johns Lighthouse in Northern Island.
Photo by: Gladys Sluss

Locals and lighthouse preservationists are up in arms at the plans by the Commissioner of Irish Lights to do away with the sweeping beam of the Fresnel lens at St. Johns Point Lighthouse in County Down, Northern Ireland and replace it with static light-emitting diode (LED). Instead of rotating, the LED light will simply flash on and off and will not be seen as far out across the water.

A recent local meeting about the issue turned “heated” and it was obvious that the people do not want any changes to the historic 1839 lighthouse. But, the Commissioner of Irish Lights says the old lens is too expensive to operate and that they would allow the old Fresnel lens to stay in the tower, but it just simply would not be used.

However, Eileen Peters, from the Killough Community Association, said that the sweeping beam of the lighthouse is of cultural and historical significance for the people of the area as well as for tourism.

One local historian stated that the government discontinued the fog horn at St. Johns about 4 years ago without any prior consultation and they do not want to see the beam done away with in the same manner.

This story appeared in the May/Jun 2015 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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