One of the biggest draws of the Ireland’s Ancient East trail is a new tour experience at the world’s oldest working lighthouse.
Hook Lighthouse on the tip of the Hook Peninsula in County Wexford will see visitors ascend the 115 steps of the 800-year-old building, and hear tales from a hologram of St Dubhan who will recall tales of how he and his fellow monks dedicated their lives to the safety of those at sea in the early 5th century.
Hook Head itself is steeped in history and is said to have found its way into common English usage in the saying “By Hook or by Crook.”
It is claimed that the phrase is derived from a vow by Oliver Cromwell to take Waterford by Hook (on the Wexford side of Waterford Estuary) or by Crook (a village on the Waterford side).
Following St Dubhan’s tale, visitors will enjoy another hologram of the 12th century William Marshal, the first Earl of Pembroke, who is revered as the ‘greatest Knight that ever lived’. William will tell the tale of why and how he built the tower that stands today and also of his empire in the Southeast and how he married the daughter of Strongbow and became one of the great crusaders.
The final stage of the tour provides access to the previously private Watch room where visitors can discover more of the unique stories of Hook Peninsula. The team at Hook Lighthouse expects the new tour experience will deliver an increase in visitor numbers of 15 per cent over the next three years.
Tux Tweedy, the last principal Lighthouse keeper, said: “Two of my brothers and I all served as Light keepers at towers around Ireland since we were teenagers, growing up and living by the sea meant it was a natural choice for us.
“Today the automation of the lighthouse towers means the important work of keeping those at sea safe continues but the era and the way of life of Light keepers is now part of history.
“It is important the tales are told and this huge part of the Ireland’s maritime history is captured and passed on to future generations. “The new tour experience at the Hook does just that and I’m very proud to help launch this today.”
Find out more here: www.ireland.com
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