Meet our Team

Meet our Team

We are an experienced and enthusiastic team local to Ballycotton.

Our skippers are very seasoned sailors and our guides passionately invested in sharing the legacy of the lighthouse and its narrative in Ballycotton.

It is our mission to share the rich history of the area, so join us and discover the past as we bring it alive for you through an enchanting retelling.

OUR TEAM

Claire Whelan

Very proud to be a lighthouse guide since the venture began in 2014. Its wonderful to be part of a great crew when each one is equally passionate on sharing the history of the island and lighthouse and protecting and improving it into the future. Always interested in promoting Ballycotton and the many great things it has to offer visitors. I volunteer with a very active local Tidy Town group and also join beach cleanups with Cleancoast Ballynamona when time allows. Sea swimming with a great bunch of pals is very important part of coastal life too. Looking forward to welcoming visitors when new season begins in spring….

OUR TEAM

Derry Keogh

Derry has been guiding visits to Ballycotton Lighhouse since the beginning. He has a had a fascination with the Lighthouse for many years. He has built up a store of knowledge on the Lighthouse, its keepers and their families over many years and is delighted to share his passion with visitors.

OUR TEAM

Eddie Fitzgerard

Growing up on the edge of Ballycotton Bay, looking out over the blue water to the green Island, with the Black Lighthouse on top and always wondering what went on out there.

Many Years later I found out what went on out there as I joined the Lighthouse service as a Lightkeeper and was posted to Baily Lighthouse on Howth head as a young SAK learning all about Lighthouse keeping. I was lucky enough during that time to be sent to Ballycotton.

Working on Ballycotton Lighthouse was so exciting as I was a local and I have fond memories of my time there. Now of course there are no longer any Lighthouse Keepers on the Lighthouse but Ballycotton Lighthouse is one of the Great lighthouses of Ireland open to the public and I am honored to be a Lighthouse guide there.

We have a wonderful team of people at Ballycotton who have a passion and knowledge of all things connected to the Lighthouse and we look forward to passing on all the information to our visitors.

OUR TEAM

Hazel Hannessy

Hello! My name is Hazel and I have been lucky enough to be a guide for Ballycotton Lighthouse since 2014, when the tours began.

It is the perfect job for me as it contains some of the things I enjoy most in life, namely, meeting new people, working outside, being in nature, and being on the ocean.

I am also very lucky to be working with an amazing team of guides who, like me are all so dedicated and who love the job just as much as I do. It means we are there for each other and we know we always have back up if its needed.
The last couple of years have been difficult for everyone, but for us it meant that more Irish people came to visit us on their staycations. It was especially nice to be able to share our beautiful village and Lighthouse with folks from inland counties, and to see the joy on their faces as we headed out on our beloved YASSY!

So I am really looking forward to seeing you all this summer, when hopefully we will be back on duty again.

OUR TEAM

John Archer

I am John Ballycotton born and reared, being a tour guide allows me to share my passion for our iconic lighthouse and my beloved Ballycotton.

OUR TEAM

Iwona Zulawinska

Iwona is a Pole who came to Ireland in 2021 and fell in love with the Ballycotton lighthouse. Iwona not only organized trips, but also became a guide for Polish groups. She is fascinated by sea adventures, not only lighthouse tours, but also fishing trips and excursions overlooking the bay. You can  enjoy a tour  in polish language every Saturday and Sunday at 4:30 pm

OUR TEAM

Ann Maria Fitzgerald

My infatuation with Ballycotton Lighthouse began when I was a child. My family would visit East Cork for the summer holidays each year. I have fond memories of spending long periods of time each night watching the beam from the lighthouse and counting the seconds until the light was visible on the sea again. I recall the excitement of seeing the lighthouse up close when we visited the village each day. Even though many years have passed since those wonderful summer holidays, I am still in awe of this beautiful structure each time I see it. After working as a teacher and a curriculum developer, I retired and moved to East Cork. I subsequently earned my National Tour Guide badge and I am very fortunate to work in a place that I have loved for so long. Being able to share the beauty and the history of Ballycotton Lighthouse with others really is a dream come true for me.

Testimonials

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!"