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South Stack Lighthouse

Now I do like a good lighthouse, in fact, I pretty much like any lighthouse really, such a unique piece of architecture.


South Stack is no exception, in fact, it has to be one of my favourites, purely for the adventure involved in getting to it.


Anglesey is always a great place to visit and I have given it some coverage on this page previously, but if you carry on towards Holyhead on Holy Island then you will find South Stack Lighthouse perched high on the summit of a small island amongst the treacherous rocks.


Once the road ends, and you reach the crest of the slope in front, there is quite a tremendous view that greets you when you peer out over the edge.

south stack lighthouse on anglesey

The lighthouse was built on the island back in 1809 and you only need to take a look around the waters that surround it to work out why. It defines the word treacherous.


To get to the island you need to descend the stone steps, twisting and curving your way down the cliffs until eventually, you reach the metal steps and bridge that connects you.

the bottom of the steps down to the south stack lighthouse

Now those cliffs are brutal, huge, and destructive to anything that might accidentally run into them. The need for a lighthouse was never more evident.


The cliffs also provide a great base for a lookout spot as the image below shows.

the cliffs around south stack lighthouse

I remember climbing those steps as a child and back then, at the right time of the year you could see thousands of puffins and sea-birds nesting on the rocks, it was quite some sight.


As you get onto the little island itself you can see the coastline and its rocks stretching out both ways, with more lookout posts and small shelters.

the rocky coastline around south stack lighthouse

The lighthouse itself is about 28m tall and was designed by Daniel Alexander who was a notable designer of lighthouses and also several prisons in the early 1800s


The lighthouse serves its purpose of protecting ships as they use the Dublin, Holyhead, and Liverpool sea routes across the Irish Sea.


This part of the world is relentless, it's windy and often very wet. Hardy souls were needed to build and maintain this amazing structure.

a black and white image of south stack lighthouse

Up to 1938 when it was electrified, the lighthouse was powered by various burners and it was still manned right through until 1984 when the keepers were withdrawn.


These days, the lighthouse is remotely monitored and controlled by its owners over in Harwich, Essex.

south stack lighthouse and the small island

It's a super little place to visit, it has history, it has presence and it helps protects the lives of thousands of sailors out there in the Irish Sea.

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