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The first lighthouse on this site was built in about 1667 by Sir Robert Reading, and was one of six that Reading had received letters patent to build from Charles II in 1665. The original facility consisted of a small cottage and a square tower which supported a coal-fired beacon. Parts of the original buildings remain.
In 1790, the coal beacon was replaced with a set of six Argand oil lamps, each including a silvered copper parabolic and a bulls-eye glass pane. During this period, the lighthouse was maintained by the Revenue Commissioners.
In 1810, the Corporation for Preserving and Improving the Port of Dublin took over the operations. The original building's location was high on the headland, so the light was often obscured by fog.
On December 5, 1811 a recommendation was issued that the lighthouse be moved south on the headland to Little Baily, or Dungriffen. A new tower and house for the keeper, designed by George Halpin, the corporations’s Inspector of Works, was completed on March 17, 1814. The top of the tower stood 134 feet (41 m) above the sea, and the fixed white catoptric light was provided by a set of 24 Argand lamps and reflectors.