Tandem Design

Great Lighthouses of Ireland

Visitor Experience

Great Lighthouses of Ireland

Commissioners of Irish Lights

“Interpretive themes explored many facets of life at and around each lighthouse…”

Tandem were appointed by the Commissioner of Irish Lights (CIL) as part of a wider consultation team responsible for the brand development, marketing, interpretation and operation of an all-island lighthouse trail now known as the ‘Great Lighthouses of Ireland’.

CIL’s planned to open five lighthouses and their former lighthouse keepers’ dwellings to the public:

  • St John’s Point (South Donegal)
  • Fanad Head (North Donegal)
  • Rathlin Island West Light (Antrim)
  • Blackhead (Belfast Lough, Antrim)
  • St John’s Point (Co. Down).

The sites comprised a mix of high quality themed accommodation and enhanced existing visitor facilities, as well as new visitor experiences at Rathlin West Light, Fanad Head and Blackhead.

We worked collaboratively to identify the key themes and stories that would appeal most to a local, national and international audience . We determined the locations where these stories were to be told then developed content and specifications for delivery media that would bring together all the interpretive elements in an accessible and engaging way.

Ultimately we aimed to reveal the stories of the Great Lighthouses of Ireland, representing the vital role they played in Ireland’s maritime heritage.

Interpretive themes explored many facets of life at and around each lighthouse, addressing the significance of the lights to both mariners and the local population and light mechanics, with a focus on the innovative nature of the Fresnel lens.

As this project was spread across five sites with each lighthouse having unique interpretation requirements and fit-out needs, a carefully coordinated delivery strategy was required. We developed multi-faceted scheme designs to artwork stage and mobilised all sub-contractors, art-directing their subsequent design developments to ensure that they remained in line with the agreed interpretive vision.

Recognising the unique environmental conditions of each site, we consulted with specialist outdoor signage providers on their production methods to ensure their ability to deliver & install interventions capable of enduring these challenges.

In managing the physical fit-out and installation at each lighthouse we agreed a programme of on-site works for approval by operational personnel. We also ensured that the interpretation was delivered, installed and handed over on budget and to an exacting standard.


We developed content that would reveal the stories of the Great Lighthouses of Ireland and represent the vital role they played in Ireland’s maritime heritage.