Capping the Peninsula’s southern tip, Hook Lighthouse, the world’s oldest working lighthouse, has shone across 800 years to help seafarers navigate a rocky coastline that’s exhilarating … but treacherous when sudden fogs descend.
Climbing the 115 well-worn steps of the tower and exploring thick-walled chambers, you now meet a life-size hologram figure: St Dubhán, who tells of perishing nights spent with fellow monks in the 5th century warning sailors against dangers with a beacon they kept alight on the headland – subsequently called Rinn Dubháin (Dubhán’s headland). Dubhán, coincidentally, is Irish for fishing hook.
Then another life-size figure appears: Strongbow’s son-in-law William Marshall, “the greatest knight that ever lived”, who tells of his empire in the Southeast. He built this very lighthouse tower in the 13th century, to guide shipping to his port at New Ross.
The lighthouse is automated now, but 800 years of human deeds still blow keenly in the breeze … a thrilling thought as you enjoy lunch in the former keepers’ houses, the waves crashing outside.