Irish lights

In Brief

The "Irish lights board" was, and still is, a board of commissioners with regulatory authority over all the lighthouses built around the coasts of Ireland, as well as lightships like the one on Kish bank and navigation buoys.

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The board's present-day insignia, shown in the accompanying photograph, depicts all three warning systems: a buoy on the left, a lighthouse in the middle (with another on the cape in the distance), and a lightship on the right.

The organization officially called the Commissioners of Irish Lights was established in 1786 by an act of the Parliament of Ireland, before the dissolution of that parliament in 1800. The law was titled "An Act for Promoting the Trade of Dublin, by rendering its Port and Harbour more commodious." Precursor bodies had been authorized by various English monarchs, however, and in the 19th century various laws passed by the combined Parliament of Great Britain and Ireland in Westminster continued to modify the composition and duties of the board. Today, the CIL continues to operate under both Irish and British law. The UK funds the body with dues raised from ships that use the seas around Ireland, because many ocean-going ships use the lights but do not put in to Irish ports.

JH 2013
Photograph by William Murphy of CIL insignia on an Irish lighthouse, 2007. Source: Wikimedia Commons.