Yvonne is an avid walker and is really tuned in to weather in her area. On good days, you can get a glimpse of the bay off in the distance from her dining room window. On bad days, you don’t even know there’s a bay out there. Today when we woke up –we couldn’t see the bay. It was foggy.
We had hoped to visit Mizen Head today and Yvonne predicted that it wasn’t going to be a very good day for it. However, we were all willing to give it a shot –and I’m glad we did.
Mizen Head is a signal station/lighthouse located on the furthest South-West point of Ireland. It was built in 1910. Mizen Head was mostly a fog signal station as there is a lighthouse on an island a few miles offshore (which wasn’t visible on this visit). In the 1990’s it was automated and not long after that efforts began to make it a visitor attraction.
As we pulled into the parking lot, we were wondering if we had, in fact, made the wrong decision by going there.
Mike and Yvonne both decided to not go beyond the welcome center. Gail, Laura and I said we’d come too far to quit now!
There is a café, gift shop and some displays in the welcome center.
Then you step outside and begin the walk to the actual signal station/light house. At one time, the keepers had to descend 99 steps to get to the bridge. Now they’ve created walkways that wind back and forth and provide access to the site for everyone. On the way back to the visitor’s center you can stay on the paths or take the “shortcut” up the stairs.
It is not too far to get to the bridge, which crosses a deep chasm between the mainland and the station. Things were still looking foggy, but Laura got a look at the terrain and the bridge below and felt a bit panicked about going further, so she went back.
Gail and I kept going and the lower we got, the less fog there was. We ended up getting some nice pictures and, having been there before, I really enjoyed seeing it partly-foggy!
The bridge is 170 feet across and 150’ high. It was built about 10 years ago or so. The original bridge it replaced was built had been there for 100 years. Before there was a bridge at all, the station was supplied by boat, which must have been quite a feat since it is so high on the cliff.
Gail and I crossed the bridge and walked to the actual station. Many of the old rooms in the station have various displays about what life was like for the keepers, old equipment, information about ships and shipwrecks, and displays about the local plants and animals. These displays are simple and don’t take much time to see.
After walking through the station and taking a picture at the “edge of Ireland”, we went to different vantage points and took a ton of pictures.
As we were heading back to the Visitor’s Center, a family stopped Gail and asked him to take a picture of them at the bridge. I was cracking up because I’ve been joking about how Laura, Gail and I are “paparazzi” on this trip and Gail ended up making a simple picture request almost an entire photo shoot (which I think was really great). I can’t claim to be an innocent bystander. After he’d snapped several shots of the family from a couple of different angles, I pointed out that the spot where I’d been standing and watching him in action was also a good angle…and even more pictures were snapped. That couple probably had at least 10 pictures on their phone by the time we got done with them. We take our jobs as photographers seriously!
Gail and I challenged each other to take the stairs. The 99 steps sign is located at the top of the stairs, the warning sign is at the bottom. As soon as we got up to the level of the Visitor’s Center, it was foggy again. Mike and Yvonne had expected us back much sooner and probably were wondering what was taking so long –after all it was all foggy up there! They were having a little trouble believing that we actually had decent visibility for our visit.
We got one picture of a beach through the fog on the way back to Yvonne’s.
We had the pleasure of meeting up with Yvonne’s parents for dinner that night and it was a very enjoyable evening with good food and fun conversation.