Light memorial to remember late Newcastle mum

Light memorial to remember late Newcastle mum

7 August 2019

NEWCASTLE mother-of-three Ruth Maguire will be one of the lost souls remembered this month as Haulbowling Lighthouse on Carlingford Lough is illuminated.

The 34-metre tall structure will remain lit between 9.30pm to 12.30am every evening throughout August to remember all of those who have lost their lives on the lough.

It is thought to be the first and only lighthouse in the UK and Republic of Ireland to be externally illuminated. 

Ms Maguire’s body was recovered in Carlingford Lough five days after she went missing as she socialised with friends on a hen night in the border town in March.

The 35 year-old was due to marry her fiance and long-term partner, Jim Griffin, in St Patrick’s Church, Bryansford, tomorrow. 

They have three children – Tyler (10), Lydia (7) and five year-old Oliver.

Her sister, Rachel Wilkinson, told the Recorder at the time that was believed Ruth may have fallen into the harbour and hit her head before the waves took her out.

It is one of the many tragedies which have happened on Carlingford Lough over the years, resulting in several hundred deaths.

The biggest loss was in 1916 when a coal ship leaving Greenore collided with a passenger ferry bound for Holyhead. 

Only one person, a fireman on the coal ship, survived the tragedy which claimed the lives of 97 passengers and crew.

The illumination of the lighthouse, which marks the 195th anniversary of its commissioning, was organised to promote water safety in the area.

Paul O’Sullivan, founder of Carlingford Lough Ferry, said: “The idea was an endeavour undertaken by the Newry Maritime Association four years ago as it was the centenary of the famous SS Connemara and Retriever boating disaster.

“They wanted to do something novel so, with the permission of the Commissioners of Irish Lights, the lighthouse was externally illuminated for a month.

“That was successful and we have carried it on since. This year’s illumination is to remember all those who have died on Carlingford Lough over the years and to promote water safety.”

He said that the number of drownings on the lough were at a record low and added: “The promotion of water safety has been very effective and if the unique event of illuminating helps to do that then it’s something that is very positive.”