Around every other bend in the road there are bright sea pinks and rugged cliffs, ancient ruins and quiet villages: the light and shade of the tapering headland of the Hook Peninsula. And how hypnotic the vast, steely-blue sea and flat open fields. Then you glimpse it, striped black and white in the distance.
Hook Peninsula, County Wexford
Hook Peninsula, County Wexford
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.
Hook Lighthouse

Hook Lighthouse

Hook Lighthouse
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.
A monk stokes the fire in front of Hook Lighthouse
A monk stokes the fire in front of Hook Lighthouse
Onwards the real-life stories flow as you discover the once-private Watchroom
Or gaze out upon the “graveyard of 1,000 ships” where Cromwell lost his flagship Great Lewis in the 17th century but vowed to take nearby Waterford City “by hook or by crook” – Hook Head and Crook being his two ways in. Today’s marine visitors you might spot – dolphins, seals, even a whale – are more welcome!
Take a virtual tour of Hook Lighthouse.
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.
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Visit Hook Lighthouse & Visitor Centre

The Hook, New Ross, Wexford