Professor of Irish at Trinity College Dublin Máirtín Ó Murchú on the tradition of lighthouse keeping in families.

Against the backdrop of the Baily lighthouse on Howth Head in Dublin, Professor of Irish at Trinity College Dublin Máirtín Ó Murchú talks about life on Irish lighthouses.

Máirtín Ó Murchú's mother was the daughter of a lighthouse keeper. As well as his grandfather, Máirtín Ó Murchú’s great grandfather was also a lighthouse keeper.

Máirtín Ó Murchú explains how lighthouses operated in the days before electricity. The lamp in the lighthouse tower was lit by paraffin. The beam of light sent out was strengthened and deflected by two rotating lenses.

The lighthouse keepers worked in potentially hazardous environment as they faced the elements on isolated islands and rocks. Máirtín Ó Murchú is quite sure he would not like to live in the Kish lighthouse, during a stormy night.

Máirtín Ó Murchú goes into the history of the the Commissioners of Irish Lights which he believes was established in 1868. This maritime organisation is responsible for the lighthouses, lightships, buoys and beacons around the Irish coast.

Máirtín Ó Murchú agrees there is a unique tradition and lore connected with the people who worked in the lighthouses over the generations.

'Fáilte' was an Irish language programme featuring culture, music and chat.

This episode of 'Fáilte’ was first broadcast on 20 March 1983. The reporter is Pádraic Ó Catháin.