Chaine Memorial Tower – Larne, Northern Ireland - Atlas Obscura
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Larne, Northern Ireland

Chaine Memorial Tower

This picturesque lighthouse at the edge of the Irish Sea looks like a giant stone pencil. 

Locals have cutely nicknamed this picturesque beacon “The Pencil.” It’s easy to see why—with its long, cylindrical base and sharply pointed top, the tower does indeed resemble an enormous stone pencil ready to scribble in the sky.

The structure is both a working lighthouse and a memorial tower. Officially called the Chaine Memorial Tower, it honors James Chaine, a local businessman and politician who was key in developing the Port of Larne and the town itself.

Chaine was an elected representative as a Member of Parliament in 1874 for the constituency of Antrim, a position he held for 11 years until his death in 1885 at the age of only 44. Chaine is actually buried standing up in Larne Town Park, overlooking the sea and his memorial tower.

The tower is a replica of an Irish Round Tower and was built in 1888 thanks to generous public donations from people of every class. It stands nearly 90 feet tall and has a roughly 25-foot-wide base, making it a looming feature of the seaside landscape. The locally beloved piece of architecture continues to feature heavily in artists’ and photographers’ work to this very day.

Know Before You Go

Get the train to Larne Town or Harbor and walk up the Curran Road toward the town and then take the Tower Road. The tower is a great opportunity for dusk and dawn photographs, as well as winter photos.