IRA Raid Fastnet Lighthouse, Cork 1921

#OnThisDay 1921 The West Cork IRA launched a daring raid on Fastnet Lighthouse to relieve it of the explosives and detonators stored there. The plan was launched by Sean Lehane Commandant of the Schull Battalion but lead by John O’Regan, a local sailor whose expertise was needed in piloting the 12 men aboard the 24 foot fishing vessel out to the lighthouse.

Fastnet is located on an island, 10 miles off the coast and was known for high swells even in times of good weather.  Having waited for the British destroyer to pass the lighthouse on its patrol between Old Kinsale Head and Bantry Bay, the Marie Cait set off in rough seas and O’Regan with a rope tied around his waist, jumped through the eight foot swell to dock their boat safely.

The raiding party made their way up the stairs and luckily for them, the two tonne iron door was not locked. They gained access and the lighthouse keepers put up no fight. They took half a ton of guncotton (explosives) & detonators using the lighthouse crane to load the booty on board the Marie Cait.

The raiders left, got back to shore, unloaded and kept the guncotton under a pile of seaweed which was avoided by the British military patrol the next day.

Fastnet Lighthouse

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