Kish Bank

The Kish Bank (Irish: Banc na Cise)[2] is a shallow sand bank about seven miles (11 km) off the coast of Dublin, in Ireland. It is marked by the Kish Lighthouse,[3] a landmark well known to sailors and ferry passengers passing through Dublin Bay and Dún Laoghaire harbour.

Kish Bank Lighthouse
Banc na Cise
Kish Bank Lighthouse in 2011
LocationCounty Dublin
Coordinates53°18.65′N 5°55.542′W
Year first constructedJuly 1963–July 1965
Year first lit1965
Automated7 April 1992
Constructionreinforced concrete
Tower shapetelescopic cylindrical tower with four balconies, lantern and helipad
Markings / patternwhite tower with a red band
Tower height31 metres (102 ft)
Focal height29 metres (95 ft)
Original lenscatoptric
Intensitytwo million candlepowers (three in fog)
Range27 nmi (50 km)
CharacteristicFl (2) 20s. 24 hours light
Admiralty numberA5865
NGA number6592
ARLHS numberIRE-048
Ireland numberCIL-0850[1]
Managing agentCommissioners of Irish Lights

Many ships were wrecked on these shallows. The Vesper was lost in January 1876; the Norwegian MV Bolivar ran aground on the Kish Bank during a snow storm on 4 March 1947; both wrecks are frequently dived.[4] A mailboat operated by the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company between Dún Laoghaire, at the time Kingstown, and Holyhead, the RMS Leinster, was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine on 10 October 1918. She went down four miles (6 km) east of the Kish Lighthouse with over 500 lives lost, the greatest single loss of life in the Irish Sea. Fifty-five wrecks are listed for the Kish Bank area at Irish Wrecks Online.[5]

In 2000, the Department of Marine and Natural Resources awarded licenses to allow detailed studies to be carried out on the Kish and Bray Banks in relation to the construction of a large offshore wind farm. Press reports at the time suggested 100 or more wind turbines might be erected.

The lighthouse

Before the present Kish Lighthouse was installed in 1965, the sand bank had been signalled by a lightship since 1811. An attempt to build a lighthouse in 1842 was abandoned because of destruction caused by severe weather. The first Irish electric lightvessel, the Gannet, was installed in 1954.

The Commissioners of Irish Lights decided in 1960 to erect a reinforced concrete lighthouse with helicopter landing pad on top. The lighthouse was built in the Coal Harbour of Dún Laoghaire, and designed by Christiani & Nielsen.[1] The first section of lighthouse cracked while it was being built and had to be discarded. The second telescopic lighthouse was completed, towed to its station, extended to its full height and installed in 1965, with a projected lifetime of 75 years. The sand bank was bored in 1961 and a seismic survey revealed about 300 feet (91 m) of sand at the site. Construction began in Dún Laoghaire in 1963. The completed structure was towed from the harbour out to the sandbank on 29 June 1965. The tower was raised on 27 July 1965 to its full height of 100 feet (30 m), with twelve floors inside, and with a 32-foot (9.8 m) wide helicopter platform on top.

The lightvessel was removed on 9 November 1965 and the new lighthouse replaced it, operating at between two and three million candlepowers, depending on visibility conditions. The beam is visible for 27 nmi (50 km). The lighthouse was automated on 7 April 1992, and the keepers came ashore.[3]

Burials at Sea

At the time when the Department of the Marine permitted burial at sea (of people who had died on land) they normally required the burial to occur at the Kish Bank where the tides are strong, and where the sands are always moving.

See also


  1. Rowlett, Russ. "Lighthouses of Eastern Ireland (Leinster)". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
  2. Kish Bank. Irish Placenames Database. Retrieved: 2010-10-22.
  3. Kish Lighthouse. Commissioners of Irish Lights. Retrieved: 2010-10-22.
  4. Louth, Cormac (2011-02-06). "The Wreck of the Bolivar". Maritime Institute of Ireland. Archived from the original on 2010-11-26. Retrieved 2011-02-06.
  5. Kish Bank. Retrieved: 2010-10-23.
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