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Fastnet Rock | by Ronan.McLaughlin
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Fastnet Rock

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Fastnet Rock (Irish: An Charraig Aonair, meaning Rock of Solitude or Lonesome Rock) is a small clay-slate island with quartz veins and the most southerly point of Ireland, 6.5 km southwest of Cape Clear Island (Oileán Chléire) in County Cork, which is itself 13 km (8 miles) from the mainland. It lies in the Atlantic Ocean 11.3 km south of mainland County Cork, at latitude 51.37°N. It rises to about 30 m above low water mark. Study of the documentary record suggests that the name is from Old Norse Hvastann-ey 'sharp tooth island'.


Divided into Fastnet Rock proper and the much smaller Little Fastnet to the south by a 10 m (30 ft) wide channel, it also had the nickname 'Ireland's Teardrop' as it was the last part of the country seen by Irish emigrants to the United States in the 19th century as they sailed past it.


Characteristics of the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse



51º 23.3’ North 9º 36.1’West


Fl W 5s White Flash every 5 seconds, also exhibited by day when the fog signal is sounding: nominal range 27 nautical miles.

Radar Beacon

Morse ‘G’ on vessel’s radar display.

Fog Signal

4 blasts every 60 seconds

Height of Tower

54 metres

Height of Light above mean high water springs

49 metres




I write a logbook in this lighthouse,

Autumn waning, winter coming

Wind from the North

Gelid blowing;

Sun cloud-shadowed,

shortening days.

ships wave battered,

ploughing ocean,

And every night

migrant birds calling.

Spindrift sprayed.

The tower windows;

A time of change

That's my log.


D.J O'Sullivan (From Fastnet to Inishtrahull)

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Taken on November 25, 2008