Hook Head is a headland in County Wexford located on the east side of the estuary of the three Sisters Rivers (the Nore, Suir and the Barrow). It is part of the Hook peninsula and is adjacent to the historic townland of Loftus Hall.
Hook Head is said to have found its way into common English usage in the saying "By Hook or by Crook." It's claimed that the phrase is derived from attempts to take Waterford by Hook (on the east side of the harbour) or by Crook (a village on the west side of the harbour) by Oliver Cromwell.
Hook Lighthouse is a unique example of an almost intact medieval lighthouse. It dates from the early 13th century and was a major feat at the time of its construction. Purpose built as a lighthouse, it has served sailors and shipping for 800 years, apart from a short closure during the 17th century. It is thought to be one of the oldest operational lighthouses in the world. When the Tower of Hook became fully automated in 1996 and no longer needed resident keepers, it was decided to celebrate its uniqueness by opening it to the public. This area is renowned as the location of Hook Lighthouse. Hook Head is the oldest lighthouse in Ireland, and one of the oldest in Europe still operating. In the 5th century St Dubhan set up a fire beacon on the headland as a warning to mariners. After his death his monks kept the beacon going for another 6 centuries. Between 1170 and 1184 the Normans built the present lighthouse. It was built from local limestone and burned lime mixed with ox's blood. Even today traces of the blood-lime mix can be seen coming through the paintwork. The walls are 9 to 13 feet thick and 80 feet above the ground. In 1665 King Charles II granted letters patent to Sir Robert Reading to erect six lighthouses on the coast of Ireland, one of which was at Hook Head on the site of the older lighthouse, the others being at Howth, one to mark the land, the other to lead over the bar; the Old Head of Kinsale, Barry Oge's castle (now Charlesfort, near Kinsale), and the Isle of Magee.
While remaining a fully operational lighthouse in the care of an Attendant, Hook Head now also accommodates a heritage centre with tours of the lighthouse.
Visitor Centre is open year round
June/July/August 9.30 am to 6 pm
May/September 9.30 am to 5.30 pm
Rest of year 9.30 am to 5 pm
Guided Tours of Hook Lighthouse Tower
June/July/August - Every half hour from 10 am to 5.30 pm
Mar/Apr/May/Sept/Oct - Every half hour from 11 am to 5 pm
Nov to Feb - Weekends and Holidays only
Group bookings by prior arrangement
Access to Lighthouse by guided tour only
Senior / Student €4.50
Child (5 to 16 years) €3.50
Child (under 5) free
Family (2x2) €18
Pre-booked group (20+) receive 10% discount when paying as a group.
Hook Lighthouse Café
Ballyhealy Castle within 28.2 km
Ballynageeragh Portal Tomb within 24.2 km
Christ Church Cathedral, Church of Ireland, Waterford within 19.4 km
Cliff / Shell Cottage, Cullenstown within 17.4 km
Clonmines Castle / Augustinian Abbey / Church Ruins within 19 km
Coolhull Castle Ruins within 19.6 km
Corluddy Castle Ruins within 25.3 km
Dunbrody Cistercian Abbey, Hook Peninsula within 17.9 km
Dunhill Castle Ruins within 23 km
Gaulstown Dolmen within 21.3 km
Granagh / Granny Castle Ruins within 23.5 km
Knockeen Dolmen within 18.2 km
Saltee Islands within 23.8 km
Slade Castle within 1.7 km
Tintern Cistercian Abbey, Hook Peninsula within 14 km