Hook Head Lighthouse, Hook Head. County Wexford        c. 1200

Hook Head Lighthouse is a national monument and is located on the tip of Hook Head in county Wexford. It is recognised as the oldest operational lighthouse in the World and tradition states that Dubhán, a missionary monk, may have established some sort of beacon at this location as early as the 5th century. Interestingly, the word ‘dubhán’ in the Irish language means ‘fishing hook’, later translated to ‘the hook’ or ‘hook head’, giving this location its name. The exact date for the construction of the tower is still debated but it may have been attributed to the Normans Raymond Le Gros around 1172 or by William Marshall in the early 1200’s. The reason for its construction was to not only establish a lighthouse but to also fortify the approaches to Waterford Harbour. The original tower was 24 feet high by 26 feet in diameter and had an open fire at the top to serve as the beacon. The tower and its grounds were entrusted to local monks who ended up managing it for the next 700 years!  In 2001 the lighthouse was opened to the public as a tourist attraction and in 2011 it was placed 1st by Lonely Planet in its list of ‘Top 10 Flashiest Lighthouses’ describing it as ‘The Great Grand Daddy of lighthouses’.