The Tuskar Rock lighthouse, built from granite and standing 120 feet (37 metres) tall, was built over a period of years beginning in 1812. In October of that year, a storm struck, washing away temporary barracks which had been erected on the island, and killing fourteen workmen—the worst such disaster in Ireland's history of lighthouse construction. The surviving workers clung to the island's slippery rocks for two full days before being discovered and rescued. Work resumed, and the lighthouse was completed, entering into operation on 4 June 1815.
During wartime small rocks like Tuskar were very vulnerable to drifting mines which had parted from their moorings. One of these mines exploded when it struck the rock on 2nd December 1941 injuring two assistant keepers, W. J. Cahill and P. Scanlan. Both were brought ashore by the Rosslare lifeboat but unfortunately Patrick Scalan died in hospital the next day
On 31st March 1993 the lighthouse was converted to automatic operation and the keepers were withdrawn from the station.