Valentia Island, Co Kerry, Munster, Ireland
An Irish Piece of Paradise, Valentia Island is situated on the Western Coast of Ireland, in Kerry. It lies off the Iveragh Peninsula. It may be accessed by ferry from Renard Point to Knightstown, or drive across the free bridge from Portmagee.
The Lighthouse Valentia
The star shaped Fleetwood Fort was built in 1653 to guard the entrance to Valentia Harbour. It was manned by a garrison of 40 soldiers until it was decommissioned in 1669. Some of the old cannons are still in place.
In 1841, a lighthouse was built inside the fort walls. The oil lamp with a fixed white light and a range of 12 miles was maintained by a single Keeper. Who lived there with his family.
The lighthouse was automated in 1947, at which time the Keeper was withdrawn. The character of the light is 1 flash every 2 seconds.
A Bridge to Valentia
The idea of joining Valentia Island to the mainland by bridge was first suggested in the 1930’s. Being cut off from the mainland at times caused great hardship and tragedy. A committee of farmers, business people and community leaders was set up to achieve the dream.
Construction began in September 1967 and on New Years Day 1971, the bridge was blessed by Eamon Casey, Bishop of Kerry, and opened by Mr Neil Blaney T.D. to great celebration.
It was built by P.J. Hegarty Co of Cork and is 600 metres long with a central swing span to allow vessels to pass through.