Mizen Head is the southern tip of Ireland and extends dramatically into the wild Atlantic Ocean with its sea cliffs. On the Mizen Peninsula is the Mizen Head Signal Station, which was once built to warn ships on the open sea of the treacherous rocks here. Today there is a shipping museum near the signal station, where you can relive the history of the station as a lifesaver for seafarers.
In Mizen Head Visitor Centre high up on the cliff you can admire all sorts of exhibits and seafaring equipment, such as an automatic weather station or the scale model of the lighthouse on Fastnet Rock. A great photographic collection shows the local wildlife on Mizen Head.
Starting from the visitor centre you walk over 99 steps, along a coastal path and over the high arch bridge to the actual signal station. With a little luck you can spot seals, dolphins and humpback whales on the open sea. In the west, the Fastnet Lighthouse shines out at you, often the last sight of their homeland for Irish emigrants before they set off across the Atlantic for new shores. In addition to the living area of the station keeper, the engine room and the Mizen map collection, the signal station also houses an exhibition on the underwater world.
When in 1847 a 1034 ton American ship, SS Stephen Whitney, with 92 fatalities sank off Crookhaven, the Irish Lights Board decided to build a lighthouse on Fastnet or Fastness Rock because the existing Cape Clear Island lighthouse, the marker for Cape and Fastnet Rock, was too far inland. The original Fastnet lighthouse was used from 1854 to 1891, but the tower was not stable enough to bundle the power of the sea. A new tower was built between 1899-1903 for 84,000 pounds.
1906 the Ministry of Commerce and the Irish Lights Board decided to build a fog signal station on Cloghane Island, Mizen Head.
- The day pass at Mizen Head is €7.50 making it the cheapest tourist attraction in Ireland.
How to get there
Mizen Head can be reached via the Wild Atlantic Way. If you let the navigation system guide you directly to Mizen Head, you may be off the Wild Atlantic Way route.