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Photographer's Note

This is a shot of Hook Head lighthouse which is situated at Hook Peninsula in County Wexford in the Southeast of the country.

The tower pictured is over 800 years old making it the oldest lighthouse in Ireland and one of the oldest in the world. Even though this was constructed in the 12th century, there has been a tradition of a beacon light at this place since the 5th century when a light was put in place here by Dubhn, a missionary to the area. It is a corruption of Dubhn that gives the area its name, as the similar sounding Irish word 'dun' means fish hook, so the area came to be known as its English translation of Hook Head.

Its exact date of construction is under some dispute but some scholars believe it dates to 1172 when it was constructed after the Norman invasion to provide a beacon and a fortress for the approach to the city of Waterford.

After its construction, its day to day running was handed to the monks of the Priory of Saint Augustine in Ross. Through the centuries, its ownership changed hands a number of times. During the English civil war, the monks abandoned the area and the loss of this beacon was felt by all seafaring people. Thus in 1665 the lighthouse was reopened along with the construction of six new lighthouses around the Irish coast. It has remained in active service since 1667.

The lighthouse was opened to the public as a tourist attraction in 2001, and Hook Head is listed in the Lonely Planet guide as one of the flashiest in the world, and as the Great Granddaddy of all lighthouses.

Hook head is an interesting area with a number of tourist attractions. Other nearby sites to visit include Loftus Hall (one of the most haunted houses in Ireland) and the Templar Church - ruins of a church founded by the famous order and featuring a number of Templar gravestones in its cemetery.

The phrase Blood is thicker than Water is in evidence here at Hook Head too, but not for family connection reasons. In the days when this lighthouse was built, it was common to mix the bonding agents with animal blood to thicken the mixture, and before being repainted, the blood was clearly visible in the walls.

Thanks for looking!

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Additional Photos by Noel Byrne (Noel_Byrne) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2523 W: 12 N: 5988] (20860)
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