Point of Ayr lighthouse, near Talacre

Point of Ayr lighthouse, near Talacre

talacre_old_photo_of_lighthouseThe lighthouse on the beach near Talacre has stood disused for over 2.5 times longer than it was in use! It was built in 1776 in response to shipwrecks in the area, particularly the loss of two Dublin ferries on which more than 200 people died.

The lighthouse marked the mouth of the Dee estuary for mariners who approached in the dark from the north or west. It didn’t include a light for mariners leaving the estuary.

The uppermost part was replaced in the early 1820s, soon after the structure came under the management of Trinity House (which remains the lighthouse authority for Wales and England).

The lighthouse was replaced by a new one in the same area in 1844. A year later, the lighthouse keeper was accused of ignoring gunshots and flares fired as distress signals by the crew of the Mermaid, wrecked near Point of Ayr in fog. The accusation was rejected and the keeper and local lifeboat crew received rewards for meritorious service.

The 1844 lighthouse has long since vanished, having itself been replaced in 1883 by a lightship moored in the estuary. In 1882 it had been alleged in court that the lighthouse was too far inland, following the grounding a steamship which had just started a voyage from Mostyn to Barrow-in-Furness with a cargo of iron and coal.

The original lighthouse has a slight lean but has withstood countless storms in this exposed location. It was restored in the 1990s. The photo above (thanks to John Lawson-Reay) shows the structure – surrounded by a barbed wire fence – in poor condition before the Second World War, with a lean-to on the landward side.

Many people claim to have seen ghosts in or near the lighthouse. In 2010 the structure’s owner, James McAllister, installed a sculpted figure on the balcony in honour of the ghosts.

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