Minister Coveney at Roancarrig. Pic: Niall Duffy

A NEW light beacon has been officially opened at Roancarrigmore in Bantry Bay by Marine Minister Simon Coveney.

The new automatic beacon replaces the 19th Century lighthouse which has been a local landmark to shipping in Bantry Bay for generations.

The Minister arrived aboard the Irish Lights vessel Granuaile before opening the new €40 million pier development at Dinish Island.

The new beacon is fitted with solar panels and has been called as the first in a new generation of light beacons around the Irish coast.

The first lighthouse on the rocky island to the east of Bear Island began operating in 1847.