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South Stack Lighthouse

It was the 9th February 1809 when the oil lamps in the newly built South Stack Lighthouse were first lit to provide a beacon to the east bound shipping on the dangerous sea passage between Dublin, Holyhead and Liverpool. The building stands 28 metres (ninety-one feet) tall, and can be seen for about twenty-eight miles, depending on the height of the observer above sea level on the vessel. In 1928 a thirty metre iron suspension bridge was erected so that the deep water channel to the lighthouse could be crossed safely. The present bridge to the lighthouse is a new aluminium structure, but there are still around 400 steps for the thousands of annual visitors to descend and then ascend again on the way back.

Supposedly, the lighthouse it haunted, and it has featured in an episode of the television programme ‘Most Haunted’ season 9, episode 1. The story goes that on the 25th and 26th of October 1859 an extraordinary storm (known as the ‘Royal Charter Storm’ after the famous steam clipper that was lost that day on the coast of Anglesey with over 450 souls onboard) smashed the western coast of Britain sinking 133 ships and badly damaging a further 90 (according to the Board of Trades records). The assistant lighthouse keeper at South Stack at that time was John ‘Jack’ Jones, and on his way to the lighthouse on the 25th of October he was struck on the head by a falling rock from the cliff face just as he reached the suspension bridge. Jack was critically hurt, but he managed to get across the bridge in the gale force 12 storm, climb the path and reach the lighthouse. Regrettably his cries for help were drowned out by the storm, and he wasn’t found until the next day by Henry Bowen, lying outside the door to the lighthouse. He died three weeks later from his injuries. It is said that heavy footsteps can be heard along with strange screams, and that rattling of doors and the rapping on windows is said to be the ghost of the lighthouse keeper in search of shelter from the storm.

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