Amateurs ham it up

A group of (ham) radio amateurs from across Ireland’s Mid-West will gather at Loop Head Lighthouse Experience in County Clare this weekend to use Morse Code and SSB (Single Sideband) Radio to contact lighthouses and lightships throughout the world.

The Limerick Clare Radio Amateur Club will broadcast non-stop for 48 hours from the West Clare lighthouse this Saturday and Sunday as part of 26th annual International Lighthouse / Lightship Weekend (ILLW).

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See for more information on the International Lighthouse and Lightships Weekend. For more information about the Limerick Clare Amateur Radio Club visit

Loop Head is on the south-western tip of County Clare.

In previous years, the Club has successfully contacted other radio amateurs in Brazil, Australia, Tonga, French Guiana, Asiatic Russia, Ecuador, The Azores and The US Virgin Islands. The group has also attempted to communicate with its twin club in South Jersey using Earth-Moon-Earth communication, also known as "moon bounce". First developed by the US military after World War Two, the radio communications technique involves radio waves travelling from one transmitter to another using the Moon as a reflector.  

During this weekend’s broadcast, visitors to the lighthouse will be able to listen into communications with some of the 500 lighthouses and lightships in over 40 countries that will be activated by amateur radio enthusiasts.

Leonard Cleary, Director of Tourism Development and West Clare Municipal District, Clare County Council, said, “We are very much looking forward to hosting the Limerick Clare Amateur Radio Club whose members will wind back the clock at Loop Head Lighthouse Experience when they attempt to communicate via radio with hundreds of other radio clubs across the globe.”

Joe Ryan, Secretary of the Limerick Clare Amateur Radio Club, commented, "Loop Head Lighthouse is particularly suitable for long distance radio communication attempts due to its isolated location on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean and the lack of radio interference in the general area. A special QSL Card (confirmation of communication) has been designed to mark the event. The club will operate two stations, one of which will be at the entrance to the Lighthouse so members of the public can listen to some of the transmissions."

He added, “We are very grateful to all of the staff of Clare County Council and the Commissioners of Irish Lights for their help in planning this event and for allowing us to use the grounds as part of the International Lighthouse and Lightships Weekend."

Loop Head Lighthouse Experience is one of 17 Great Lighthouses of Ireland, an all-island tourism initiative of Irish Lights. Located at the mouth of the Shannon Estuary with its origins dating back to the 1670s, the lighthouse was first opened to visitors in 2011 and has since become one of West Clare’s most popular attractions.  The lighthouse also is one of two Signature Discovery Points in County Clare along the route of the Wild Atlantic Way.