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Hook Head Lighthouse, Co. Wexford

Hook Head Lighthouse dates back over 800 years, making it one of the oldest lighthouses in the world. The original beacon was intended to help ships make their way safely to Waterford Harbour.

A group of monks were the original lighthouse keepers who kept the warning fires light until 1641.

During times of fog, a fog gun was fired, an essential service in the periods before modern technology such as radar or radio. A shot was fired every 10 minutes to warn shipping traffic. This was eventually replaced by a compressed air horn which fired every 45 seconds.

In 1791 the coal burning lantern was replaced with a more modern, whale oil lamp. These operated for 80 years and replaced with gas lamps in 1871. In 1911 the light was changed to paraffin oil, and became a flashing beacon, by using a clockwork mechanism. This mechanism had to be wound up every 25 minutes by the keeper on duty. In 1972 the light source changed to electricity, and has been operated remotely since 1996.

The former keepers cottages are available to rent for holiday stays.

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