Passionate about what we do
Ballycotton Sea Adventures was established in 2018 and for the past eight seasons thousands of people of all ages have enjoyed a bespoke adventure and uniquely memorable experience of visiting the iconic black Ballycotton Lighthouse. We operate a ferry from Ballycotton Pier which can carry up to 10 passengers across the bay to Ballycotton Island-a journey of about 10 minutes duration. The full tour takes approximately one and a half hours.
History & Folklore
Great lighthouses of Ireland
Now for the first time ever you can set foot onto the wild, natural and unspoilt island, climb up the original granite staircase of the black tower and enjoy the same incredible views from the lantern gallery that up to now only the lightkeepers could have experienced.
Each tour is led by one of our local, experienced guides who will accompany you at all times. Majority of the tours are let in English, but you can also ask for a tour in Gaeilge or book a Polish tour.
Once on the Island you will walk at a leisurely pace up the winding path to the lighthouse compound. As you climb you will take in the wonderful views of Ballycotton and the East Cork coastline and experience a huge variety of bird life- Cormorant, gannet, rock pipit and gulls of different types You may spot a seal near the landing or some dolphins in the bay or even a basking shark! Keep a look out for our small herd of resident goats who roam anywhere they wish on the island.
Local experts and storytellers
The guide will tell you of the shipwreck that led to the Lighthouse being built, how the light worked and changed over the years as well as regaling you about island life of the light keepers and their families and the challenges they had to face in years gone by.
Once you reach the Lighthouse compound at the top of the island you get to walk around the old cottages, see where the original fog signal bell tower was and then go into the tower where you get to climb the marvellous granite staircase inside to the viewing gallery at the very top. The 360 degree view from here has to be seen to be believed! On a clear day you will see the Old Head of Kinsale Lighthouse to the west and Mine Head Lighthouse to the east as well as the Galtee, Knockmealdown and Comeragh mountains to the north.
Elpa_Cork Oct 2021
An Outstanding Day on Ballycotton Island Lighthouse Tour
"An outstanding day out in exceptional weather for this time of year (October). The tour is well run with an excellent guide and boat captain. Safety is of primary concern so we were all issued with proper lifejackets before departure. The history and social living conditions of the lighthouse keepers on the island are very well explained. Ballycotton holds a treasured place in Ireland's marine history and our guide was able to point out the Smiths Reef where the SS. Sirius ran aground and was lost in 1847. This caused the lighthouse to be built on Ballycotton Island rather than Capel Island off Youghal which is further East. Overall an outstanding tour. Well done to our guide, Heather and our captain Paddy. Go Raibh Mile Maith Agaibh. Liam and family"
James S Aug 2021
One of the best things to do around Cork. Great family experience
"Had a great tour on a fantastic sunny August day with amazing views from the island. Hazel was a brilliant tour guide and paid extra attention to my inquisitive 5 year old and equally curious 3 year old.
It’s a perfect way to spend an afternoon in Cork. The boat trip is nice and smooth - not too long! The island and lighthouse tour is really interesting."
Paula Galvin Aug 2021
Eddie the expert guide.
"Eddie our expert guide was a delight on this tour. A wealth of knowledge combined with a fine sense of humour made this a wonderful tour, thoroughly enjoyed by ourselves and the other five occupants of our boat.
Eddie had been a lighthouse keeper, not only in Ballycotton but in lighthouses the length and breadth of the country so he was able to tell us some great stories about his time.
It is such a shame to see this lighthouse and the two cottages being left to become ruins but we did manage to climb the two staircases of the lighthouse and imagine what it would have been like in its glory days, all gleaming brass and ship shape.
Thank you Eddie for sharing your passion of lighthouses with us!"