A lighthouse is a dedicated structure designed to emit a beam of light at pre-defined intervals, to aid shipping by warning them of the presence of obstructions to navigation. Historically, lighthouses were manned with keepers living either in the cramped quarters of the lighthouse or in adjacent employer provided housing. All lighthouses in Ireland are now automated with remote monitoring undertaken by an attendant.
In Ireland, apart from some harbour installations, lighthouses are operated by the Commissioners of Irish Lights, an independent, all Ireland body, with 63 lighthouses plus further navigational aids under their control.
The oldest operational lighthouse in the world is at Hook Head in Wexford and is 800 years old. The lighthouse at St. John’s Point was once painted (badly) by playwright Brendan Behan, resulting in a complaint from the principal keeper to the Commissioners about him.