House 2 sleeps 4 - Clonakilty, Co Cork
Dogs are not allowed at Galley Head.
Galley Head Lightkeepers' Houses are perched on dramatic cliffs
at about 130 feet above sea level overlooking St George's Channel.
The houses, in their elevated setting, make an ideal location for
relaxing and getting away from it all. The views from every
angle are awe inspiring and breathtaking.
Galley Head lighthouse station is close to the award winning
village of Clonakilty. This vibrant market town is must see
for tourists. Guests can enjoy a wide range of activities
from dolphin and whale watching, surfing at Inchydoney Blue Flag
Beach or a historical walking tour of Clonakilty. The houses
are also within easy reach of Cork City and Airport. (40 km)
Nearby: Clonakility (15 kms) Shop (5 kms) Restuarant (15 kms)
Inchydoney Beach (3 kms)
The station was built in 1875, during the heyday of lighthouse
building, and within twenty years of its closest neighbours at Old
Head of Kinsale and Fastnet. The lighthouse displays an
unusual landward arc of light because, it is said, the Sultan of
Turkey asked to be able to see it from nearby Castle Freke at
Rosscarbery whle on a visit there. The house at Castle Freke,
abandoned in 1952, can now be seen from Galley as a gothic
The two keepers' houses at Galley Head, were taken on by Irish
Landmark in the final years of the 20th century. Lightkeepers
who lived here would have witnessed the tragic loss of the
Lusitania in 1915, and sighted a German ship carrying arms, in
disguise as a Norwegian steam, being pursued up the St. George's
Channel by British destroyers a year later. It is also said
that Ray Bradbury based his melancholy story "The Fog Horn" on a
reported sighting of a sea serpent at Galley in 1860.
The station consists of a tower connected by a 38 metre corridor
to the semi-detached, two-storey, dwelling, originally built for
the principal and assistant keeper, a single-storey dwelling for
the gas maker. The two houses have been restored to their original
symmetrical layout and make an ideal retreat for a family
From 1st January 2010, a contribution towards light and heat will
be applied to all bookings. As a not for profit
organisation, this fee makes a significant contribution to rising
energy costs. It is our aim to reduce our energy
consumption at all self catering holiday homes and encourage guests
to reuse, reduce, recyle.
The Irish Landmark Trust acknowledges the intrinsic value of our
architectural heritage, including its historic and social aspects,
but, above all, the particular quality of fabric, form and scale
which imbues its aesthetic worth. It seeks to retain
these qualities and weave new uses into existing buildings without
diluting their essence. It is not a rigid doctrine which aims
to preserve all in aspic, nor one which bows to the kitsch or the
pastiche. It embraces the demands to incorporate modern
facilities sympathetically and takes them on board as challenges in
proving the economic viability and future sustainability of
retaining and reviving existing buildings.
The approach is equally strict on issues such as materials and
finishes, with the insistence that only compatible materials should
A philosophy of repair rather than replacement of damaged elements
was followed. Tiny paint remnants were matched when
decorating and salvaged items were reused wherever possible.
When taken on by Irish Landmark, the buildings were suffering from
severe water ingress and general dampness. Problems had been
exacerbated by the use of inappropriate materials while carrying
out previous remedial works, such as the use of building paper
coated in bitumen covering the asbestos slates and limestone coping
stones, or the use of hard cement based render, causing the north
brick gable walls to become saturated with water and consequently
A programme of works putting back slate roofs to high
specifications, allowing for ventilation of the building fabric,
and repairing doors and windows as well as making them
draught-proof was undertaken. The failed north brick gable of
the property was repaired by the introduction of vertical slate
cladding, as is common-place in many parts of rural Ireland.
General restoration work was undertaken throughout the buildings,
with a strong emphasis of repair rather than replacement. Modern
services were introduced, so that buildings remain sustainable for
the foreseeable future. Much advice was sought from the local
ligthhouse guardians, who were well aware of local weather
Interior Design at Lightkeepers' Houses
The interiors of these idiosyncratic lightkeeper buildings
demanded a slightly different approach to that adopted at other
Irish Landmark buildings. The buildings are modest and
vernacular in character with a functional approach to design, and
they had been inhabited almost continuously and until recently, so
there was an eclectic and mixed evidence of previous interior
Often, fragments of colour surviving in Irish Landmark houses
provide the key to new design schemes. During redecoration, a
similarly muted palette was chosen for the walls and woodwork, with
a black finish to the floors (of which we did find evidence).
Strong colour was introduced through the fittings and furnishings -
cherry rugs, aquamarine slip covers, and maritime port and
starboard lights. The distinctive dark green exterior doors
and bright lighthouse red gates were retained - the standard colour
scheme of Commissioners of Irish Lights.
The original kitchens had been small with warrens of ancillary
pantries and washrooms, so it was decided to open them into bigger
rooms in which people could comfortably eat. The pine kitchen
tables are from old houses while the sugán chairs are still made in
Kilrush, Co. Clare.
Most of the living rooms at our lightkeepers' houses have either
an open fire or stove as they would, historically, have had.
Galley House 1 has a boxy 1950s sofa and House 2 a Victorian sofa.
Rugs and upholstery fabric are used to introduce colour, and there
are also plenty of books, both old and new in the property.
All the original shutters ere restored or replaced so eliminating
the need for curtains, which would have detracted from the fine
timber and joinery of the windows, many of which are the
150-year-old originals. Period light fittings and lamps add
to the ambience of the reception rooms.
There are various objects throughout the houses that are relevant
to shipping and lighthouses - some decorative, other informative,
including ships in cases and maritime prints and paintings. There
are books on lighthouses, as well as on birds, dolphins and whales.
There is also a whale and dolphin identification chart, and
binoculars. Brass ships' lamps and illustrated maps add to
the lighthouse/nautical theme.
There are a mixture of brass, cast iron and timber beds
throughout. Wardrobes, where they fitted upstairs, and simple
mahogany chests furnish the bedrooms. Again, the approach is
simple and colour introduced through the bedspreads, rugs and
pictures. Fireplaces were retained, but are non-functioning
in the bedrooms. Traditional and comfortable tufted
mattresses are used on the beds, and in a departure from other
Irish Landmark properties, duvets are used instead of blankets.
25 Eustace StreetTemple BarDublin 2Ireland
Registered Number: 195260Charity Number: CHY10937
Tel: +353 1 670 4733Fax: +353 1 670 4887
50 Bedford StreetBelfastBT2 7FWNorthern Ireland
Registered Number: NI 031218Charity Number: X02040
THE IRISH LANDMARK TRUST IS A COMPANY LIMITED BY GUARANTEE AND A CHARITY