Mizen Head

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The Mizen Head Signal Station was built in 1909 to sound a fog signal warning ships away from the dangerous headland at the southwest tip of Ireland. The signal station sits on the tip of the peninsula (far left on the photo above), cutoff from the mainland by a deep chasm, with a bridge spanning the gap. Visitors can cross the bridge and gaze down into the sea far below, then tour the station perched on the cliff edge.

The video below shows the spectacular cliff and seascape views from several of the lookouts at Mizen Head, with additional higlights from our June 12th, 2017 visit following. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at http://mvdirona.com/maps

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A quick beverage break overlooking the sea after biking to the Mizen Head Signal Station.
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The propeller from the British steamship Irada that struck the rocks off Mizen Head in December of 1908. The navigator had been unable to establish their position after several days of heavy seas and blinding fog when the ship went aground. Six on board perished and the remaining sixty-three were rescued by workmen building the fog signal station.
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Fastnet Lighthouse

The Mizen Head visitor center has several interesting displays detailing the construction of the Fastnet Lighthouse.
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Rounding Fastnet

A striking photograph in the museum showing super-maxis raceboats Rambler and Leopard three seconds apart as they round Fastnet Rock during the 2007 Fastnet Race. (This Rambler is a predecessor to the Rambler we watched in the 2014 Sydney Hobart race.) The start of the 2007 Fastnet race had been postponed by 25 hours due to a severe weather warning, the first time in the race’s 83-year history. Even with the delay, gale force winds and extreme seas forced over three-quarters of the boats to retire. Despite difficult sea conditions, Leopard took advantage of the high winds and won in 44 hours 18 min, taking almost 9 hours off the previous record set in 1999.
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Another photograph in the museum shows spray well above the signal station from waves crashing into Mizen Head. The Mizen Head light (hidden by the station on the seaward side) is 180ft (50m) above sea level, so the waves must be huge to send spray that high.
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Visitors Center

A model of the visitors center in their museum. The signal station sits on the tip of the peninsula (far left), cutoff from the mainland by a deep chasm, with a bridge spanning the gap. Visitors can cross the bridge and gaze down into the sea far below, then tour the station perched on the cliff edge.
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Mizen Head

The signal station perched on the cliff edge at Mizen Head with the pedestrian bridge visible on the right.
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99 Steps

Jennifer descending the original 99 steps used the access the station.
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View from Bridge

North of Mizen Head, cliffs divide the shore into multiple small bays, viewed here from the pedestrian bridge.
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One of the paths leads to a lookout directly below the bridge.
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Guglielmo Marconi lived and worked in Crookhaven from 1901 to 1914, installing wireless telegraph equipment at a number of nearby locations, including Fastnet Rock, Brow Head and Mizen Head. Some of the original Marconi Wireless equipment is on display at the signal station.
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Even on a relatively calm day, the shores around Mizen Head look treacherous.
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View North

The fabulous view north from one of the lookouts. This is the same seascape we could see from the bridge.
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Looking way down into a gully north of the signal station.
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View East

The view northeast across the pedestrian bridge. The scenery here is just amazing.
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A sailboat about to round Mizen Head.
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Signal Station

The signal station complex.
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Looking Back

Another path leads almost down to sea level to a viewing point across from a sea arch. This is the view from that path back to Mizen Head, the signal station and the pedestrian bridge.
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Sea Arch

The sea arch below the visitor’s center museum.
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Three Out Of Three

We were planning to return to Crookhaven for lunch at O’Sullivans, but this sign for the Barleycove Beach Bar met all our requirements.
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And what a view it was. We had an excellent meal overlooking Barleycove Beach.
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Barleycove Beach was busy when we returned, and the parking lot was completely full.

Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at http://mvdirona.com/maps.


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6 comments on “Mizen Head
  1. Gary says:

    Fascinating and as usual a superb travelogue of your adventures. I have just returned from a week in South Australia staying with some friends in the heritage town of Mintaro, famous for its world class slate and stone. I really enjoyed your pictures of Mizen Head and comments on the weather and the Fastnet yacht race. I have nearly finished Force10 Fastnet which chronicles the disaster that was the 1979 Fastnet. As a professional navigator I have a particular interest in meteorology and the massively destructive but highly localised storm SW of Fastnet on the notorious Labadie Bank. I have a real connection with this race as there was a strong Australian Admirals Cup contingent some of whom were personal friends and sailing colleagues. The meteorology surrounding the event is fascinating. The difference in sea state and wave heights across quite short distances was astonishing. 50nm separated conditions approaching Force 11, 60ft waves and unmanageable conditions from tough but sailable Force 9 and 10. https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B007HXKY86/ref=oh_aui_d_detailpage_o01_?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    The death toll and loss of boats was astounding.
    Glad you’re enjoying good weather and once again thanks for sharing your journey.

    • Yes, I read and loved Fastnet Force 10 (https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B007HXKY86/ref=oh_aui_d_detailpage_o01_?ie=UTF8&psc=1) year ago. It’s an excellent book and really makes visiting Fastnet Rock by boat particularly enjoyable. It’s an exciting read on one of the worlds premier ocean races.

      • Gary says:

        Pleased to hear it and even more exciting to have it as a cross Atlantic landfall and a couple of laps around it later on. I had lunch yesterday with a friend who was on Rolly Taskers yacht Siska. He has also read the book and attests to the ferocity of the storm. Rolly’s, Taskers sails were legendary. I had for business reasons passed on the 1998 Sydney Hobart but watched with mounting horror the unfolding events and the spectacular helo knowing very well and having worked with the pilots. The SW coast of WA produces similar conditions around Cape Leeuwin which we would traverse in the annual Fremantle to Albany races.
        Here’s Part 1 of the Hobart race to lead you in if you have the time. The video is riveting.

        • I watched a bit of that video this morning and, you are right, it is excellent. I’ll save it and watch it with Jennifer this evening when she is back. We’ll both enjoy that video.

          We were in a spectator boat for the start of the 2014 Sydney Hobart and it was super exciting. Perhaps even more amazing was the Big Boat Race earlier in the week where there are no restrictions on where the spectators can go. We were able to run along beside 4 super-maxis running 22 kts in the harbor. Really exciting to watch the crews work in close quarters.

          Starting today, the 2017 World Moth championship is getting underway in Italy. Looking at the entrance list they have several America’s cup sailors in the 215 entrants. I’ll bet they will have some amazing races over the next week — I wish it was televised.

  2. Stewart says:

    Looks like you and Jennifer are enjoying some splendid weather. I hope your travels in Ireland more than make up for the heart stopping moments of getting there.

    • Yes, absolutely. The west coast of Ireland is truly a world class cruising destination. Absolutely incredibly cliffs, history, great people, and good pubs and restaurants. It’s been one of our favorites of our around the world trip.

      We’re now up in Scotland and spent yesterday in Glasgow. Today Jennifer is taking Spitfire into the vet to get a EU pet passport and I’m adjusting the valves in the generator, changing fuel filter, doing oil & filter, and catching up on work items.

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