The recently installed series of ten lights marking the channel between the Port of Sligo and Rosses Point, which will now permit the entry and departure of vessels at the Port during the hours of darkness, were formally inaugurated on Monday evening last by the departure for Belfast, shortly before 6.00PM, of the Dutch motor vessel Pollendam, which had discharged a cargo of Polish coal at the Port, and subsequently by the symbolic switch-on of the navigation lights by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Local Government, Mr P. Brennan TD, on an illuminated map of the channel at a reception held in the Imperial Hotel.
The lights were installed by Sligo Harbour Board at a total cost of approximately five thousand pounds, all of which was paid from the Board's own resources.
The lights, which are battery operated, incorporate a number of features, among these being automatic switching by a photoelectric cell and an additional spare bulb in each which automatically lights up should a bulb fail. In addition, the lights are of the flashing type and have been erected on perches along the channel retaining wall.
Speaking at the reception, the Chairman of Sligo Harbour Board, Mr J.W. MacMullen, recalled that this was not the first time for a lighting system to be in operation in the channel.
He said that in the old days a series of oil lamps had marked the passageway for ships between the Port of Sligo and Rosses Point. In those days the Board had employed a man who left Rosses Point each evening, taking with him in a rowboat the copper and brass lamps, each of which weighed almost two stone. He rowed up the channel and fixed a lighted lamp to each of a series of wooden perches and then rowed back home. In the morning he rowed up the channel again, extinguished and collected the lights and again returned home.
And, added Mr MacMullen, he did this work for the princely sum of thirty shillings a week.