Arranmore Lighthouse can be found along the North West corner of the Island. It has stood there since 1798, although it had been decommissioned in 1832 it was opened again in 1859. It’s convenience to the Atlantic Ocean meant that the lighthouse had been used as a World War II post and helped to look out for U-Boats. It is one of many lighthouses along the rugged coastline of Donegal.
Arranmore can be found in the Irish speaking Gaeltacht area of Donegal and can be found just three miles from the Donegal mainland coast. It’s combination of hills, rocky mountainsides and small lakes make this a quintessentially scenic Irish locale and is a popular holiday destination especially for those who like walking, learning the Irish language, diving, cycling and it is rich in less strenuous pursuits such as fishing and nightlife.
With breath-taking walking routes around its seven square miles you can see back to the mainland from Glen Head to Tory Island. The island offers relaxing beaches in the secluded areas of Aphort and Leabgarrow.
Those who prefer aquatic pursuits will find the clear waters and abundance of marine life ideal for snorkelling and Scuba diving. The lakes are a goldmine for keen fishermen with brown trout, rainbow trout, cod, long, conger eel, pollock, wrasse, skate, turbot and plaice amongst the fish to be found here.
Arranmore is twinned with Beaver Island, USA which happens to be the biggest island in Lake Michigan. A memorial celebrating the joining of these two islands can be found at Lough Thoir on Arranmore. It celebrates those who have emigrated and a shrine commemorating those who left the island to cross the Atlantic sits on the roadside opposite to the memorial.
Significant connection with the USA
The lighthouse also holds a significant connection with the USA as it is where American Wayne Dickinson was found after his remarkable journey from Boston to Arranmore in 1982. In his 8ft 9in boat known as ‘God’s Tear’ he crossed the atlantic in what was then the smallest craft to ever have done so.
After 142 days a storm swept him onto the rocks of Arranmore Island and Wayne was found later that day at the lighthouse having seeked refuge there.
The island is the largest in Donegal and the second largest in Ireland. A 15 minute car ferry service is operational from Burtonport. More information on timetables and pricing can be found at www.arranmoreferry.com