LivingTravelHook Head Headlamp

Hook Head Headlamp

Hook Head Lighthouse in County Wexford, one of Ireland’s most iconic and historic coastal attractions. But it’s a bit out of the way, though you can explore it on a day-long ‘historic’ tour from Wexford Town, which also includes Tintern Abbey, the Dunbrody Famine Ship, and the Irish Agricultural Museum at Johnstown Castle.

But… this is not a trip for those prone to yelling “Are we there yet?” Every few seconds – To reach Hook Head Lighthouse, you need to turn right towards the southern end of the sizable Hook Peninsula. A long and winding road. Which takes time and some patience. But the journey is rewarding, if only for the magnificent views and the clean fresh air alone.

Views that can get even better when you climb to the top of the Hook Head Lighthouse. Because this is an extremely rare opportunity to see a working lighthouse in Ireland, most lighthouses are virtually inaccessible due to their remote location (or private golf courses that severely prohibit intruders), and they won’t let you in either .

Hook Head Lighthouse in a Nutshell

Is it worth the trip? It certainly is, as I said above, Hook Head is one of the few lighthouses in Ireland that you can experience, up close and personal, inside and out. And it is also one of the oldest working lights in the world. And then there are the breathtaking walks you can take along the rugged southern tip of the Hook Peninsula.

The only thing that really needs to be considered as a potentially negative aspect is that it takes a while to get there; if you are running a tight schedule, you may have to abandon this detour from the main tourist route.

But what will you miss then? A medieval lighthouse built in the 13th century, which still functions as a lighthouse protecting the shoreline and the entrance to the ports of Waterford and New Ross. Although the Hook Head lighthouse was made fully automatic in 1996, the extensive outbuildings, once used by lighthouse keepers, were preserved. Opened as a tourist attraction a few years ago, it now attracts a multitude of visitors throughout the year.

Hook Head Lighthouse revisado

First things first… if you can, avoid weekends or any special events (especially tall ship races, in case they are close by), because a. the site in and around the Hook Head lighthouse may fill up, and b. Driving can also be challenging. May I add c., You will not find a seat in the very decent cafe and restaurant, which I would recommend for an aperitif.

But why is there a lighthouse here anyway? The southern tip of the Hook Peninsula marks the entrance to protected waters and safe harbors, occupied since the Vikings settled in the vicinity of Waterford and a busy naval town grew from its small colony. On the other hand, the rocky shoreline stopped many boats that were unsafe in low visibility conditions. Which is not exactly a rare occurrence here. Then, in the early 13th century, the “Hook Tower” was built as a navigational aid on the orders of William Marshal.

Monks from a nearby monastery kept watch for the fire signal at night.

The idea of such an erection could have been imported from the Holy Land, through the crusades. And Marshal certainly liked cylindrical buildings: Five of his castles, including Kilkenny Castle, had circular towers.

In service since then, the lighthouse has seen structural and technical improvements to keep up to date. In 1911 it was turned into a flashing light courtesy of a clockwork mechanism, in 1972 it was electrified, and the fog gun was replaced by a fog horn only in 1972. In March 1996, the headlamp became fully automatic and the complex it became a visitor center. opened in 2000.

The medieval tower is now accessible to visitors, while a cafe and crafts shop in the former light keepers’ huts make a good stop before hitting the road again. However, one should take some time to explore the surroundings, especially the rocks right in front of the lighthouse. On a sunny day, they are an ideal perch from which to watch the world go by. And with a lot of luck, you can even see a tall ship go by, although the Dunbrody no longer leaves her home port of nearby New Ross.

Hook Head Lighthouse: lo esencial

Address – N52.12.48.75, W6.93.06.15, Loc8 Code: Y5M-77-RK8
Hook Lighthouse is at the end of the R734, about 50 miles from Wexford, 29 miles from Waterford (via Passage East Car Ferry), or 38 miles from New Ross.
Website – Hook Lighthouse & Heritage Center
Hook Lighthouse Tower Guided Tours – Every day from June to August every half hour, every other month every hour
Entrance fee – Visitor center and land free, guided tour € 6.

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