The Oldest Operational Lighthouse in the World : Hook Head

lighthouse From Tintern Abbey I drove to Hook Head Lighthouse. The roads were quiet and virtually traffic-free and I expected to be the only person booking in for a tour. Not so! Crowds were enjoying the bracing winds, the café and shop and the hourly tours of the lighthouse. At 800 years of age it Hook Lighthouse is still fully operational. It’s the oldest intact operational lighthouse in the world.   The Hook Head Lighthouse was built by the same William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke, who founded Tintern Abbey. the monastery

The Monastery

It’s 4 storeys high with walls up to 4 metres thick. The rib vaulted chambers with fireplaces still exist. One is called Liberty Hall and another The Monastery. On this spot monks lit fires to warn passing ships of local dangers. monk's cell

A Monk’s Cell

The Norman structure consists of three bullet-shaped chambers mounted one above the other. Each has an arched cross of stone at the top to strengthen the vaulted ceiling and bear the weight of the chamber above. Together they rise to a height of 100ft to support a light that has guided shipping for 1400 years. For most of that time the lighthouse was manned by monks, who carried timber and peat up 149 steps to the beacon fire, and who slept in rooms set in the walls. Now the light is run by electricity.” [Source : Reader’s Digest Illustrated Guide to Ireland] example light  It’s not possible to visit the top of the lighthouse and see the lamp close up (you just climb up to an outside balcony from where there are spectacular views) but on the ground floor is a similar light from a lighthouse from another County. But this light is only a third of the size and weight of the Hook light above us. 6:5 Hook View

Hook Peninsula

Views from Hook Lighthouse Balcony


2 comments on “The Oldest Operational Lighthouse in the World : Hook Head

  1. Julie Stivers says:

    Just catching up with your travels Barbara, after a too-busy spring. I don’t remember if John was doing the lighthouse thing when you were last here. He got recruited by a neighbor because they needed volunteers young enough to climb the stairs during visitors hours (when we go to events we are often the youngest there — an odd feeling). So naturally we have been visiting more lighthouses. Hope to see this one some day.

    • How interesting, Julie! I wonder which one it is – we visited at least two that I can think of. One was on the Lake itself possibly near Silver Lake and the other was very squat and like at the estuary near Muskegon? If my memory serves me right. Sounds like a great volunteering opportunity to me – be we are 70 miles from the coast. There are very many around the coast of Ireland and I had ear-marked a trip to another but never made it so definitely next time.

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