Works underway to improve and modernise the Skellig Lighthouse.

The Commissioners for Irish Lights are carrying out a major upgrade of the Skellig Lighthouse, the first since it was established in the 1820s. Modernisation of the living quarters for lighthouse keepers and technicians is also taking place. 

When complete, Skellig Michael's lighthouse will have an electricity generator which will be a reliable and continuous power source for the navigation light and radio telephone communication system. 

Construction work started on two lighthouses here in 1821, and in December 1826 they were both fully operational. Each tower was approximately fourteen metres tall and stood two hundred and twenty seven metres apart. 

The upper light stood at one hundred and twenty one metres above high water and could be seen at a distance of forty kilometres while the lower light was fifty three metres above high waters and could be seen twenty nine kilometres away. 

Each lighthouse consisted of two semi-detached houses and the lighthouse tower. Lighthouse keepers and their families lived in these houses until the 1900s until the system of onshore houses for the families and relieving the keepers on a regular basis became the norm. 

Both lighthouses were in operation until 1870 when the lighthouse on Inishtearaght came into service. The Skelligs upper lighthouse was then discontinued. 

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 16 June 1965. This footage is mute.