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West LigHtHouse


visit to the bird sanctuary at the West Lighthouse is the main attraction for most visitors to the island. From the start- ing point in Church Quarter you will pass through a further eight townlands. Although boundary walls between townlands were built in 1780, it’s not so easy for the visitor to identify them. In 1824 the Royal Commission recommended the whole of Ireland, including Rathlin, be surveyed and a map, 6 inches to the mile be used. Te work, started in 1825, involved the entire workforce of the Ordnance Survey includ- ing three companies of sappers and miners (later to be called the Royal Engineers). In addition, more than 200 soldiers and 2,000 civilian assistants were employed. Te survey was kept to a bare minimum and marked townland boundaries only for taxation purposes. Tere were no field boundaries or contours marked. Te divi- sion of farms came much later, around 1860. Do try and walk to the West Lighthouse; you will not be disappointed. Te walk there and back will take the seasoned walker about four and a half hours allowing ample time to view the birds and have a picnic amidst the


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West Lighthouse


spectacle. During the summer months there is a mini bus service for those who are less energetic. Head for St. Tomas’s Church and then climb the steep,


tree lined Church Brae to the crossroads. Take a breather here as another steep hill, Park Brae awaits. As the road levels, search out the famine memorial that sits low into the wall overlooking the bay. On reading the inscription it


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