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Visit the World’s Oldest Working Lighthouse

Hook Lighthouse (2)

Situated on Hook Head at the southern tip of Hook Peninsula in County Wexford, Ireland, lies the the Hook Lighthouse. The lighthouse dates back at least to the 5th century, 800 years before the tower was built, when St. Dubhan and his fellow monks braved the unforgiving elements of the islands headland and lit a fire to warn sailors of the coastline.

It was only in the 13th century when a tower was constructed to house the fire. The tower was built by knight William Marshall, who was concerned over whether his new ship makes it safely to port at New Ross. The coal fired signal sat at the very top of the fire and was maintained by monks at the time.

Today, Hook Lighthouse is the oldest running lighthouse in the world. It is open for the public to tour and explore the history behind the tower and climb the 115 flight of stairs that spiral inside the tower walls. Upon reaching the top of the tower, there is a balcony that is just across the rocky coast.

Hook Lighthouse (3)
Image credit: Sergio

Be warned, bring your waterproof outerwear. It may not be raining all the time but the sea can surprise you with a spray.

The guided tours in the site isn’t just about the ancient history of the lighthouse, you also get to learn about the lives led by the light-keepers and their families who have resided in this remote island up until the 70’s.

Hook Lighthouse (1)

Hook Head is declared as a Special Protected Area and is not only home to a variety of bird species, but whales, dolphins and seals can be spotted around the area as well. November is the start of whale-watching season with humpbacks, fins and minkes arriving in the surrounding waters of Hook Peninsula. The area is also rich in fossils, sea-life and vegetated sea cliffs in which ravens and peregrine falcons nest.

With the surrounding waters claiming many ships throughout the centuries, there are plenty of dive sites around and is commended to be one of the best spots in the country for divers.