News

World’s Oldest Lighthouse gets Tech Savvy with new Online Tour Booking

The oldest operational lighthouse in the world ‘Hook Lighthouse’ launches online ticketing for the first time from today (June 19).

Following the busiest year to date, the team at the lighthouse on the tip of the Hook Peninsula in county Wexford aim to alleviate queues for visitors by making advance booking of guided tours for Hook Lighthouse available online.

Commenting on the launch of the new Hook Lighthouse website (www.hookheritage.ie) and online booking system, Manager of Hook Lighthouse Ann Waters said, “In 2016 we saw year on year growth of 10% with visitor numbers of 250,000 and in the month of August alone we welcomed 38,617 visitors. Some of those who visited particularly during the peak summer period waited for over two hours to avail of a tour of the 800 year old lighthouse, so we very much wanted to alleviate that inconvenience for our visitors and allow them to book a specific tour date and time online in advance of their arrival.”

Earlier this month Failte Ireland published the annual list of Ireland’s top tourist sights, with most attractions registering strong growth in the last year and Hook Lighthouse is also seeing year on year double digit growth on par with Ireland’s top attractions. “We are delighted to have enjoyed double digit growth at the lighthouse for the last couple of years. We work very hard every day to ensure our visitors enjoy a great experience and this helps us to reap rewards with top Tripadvisor scores and online reviews. However, as an 800 year old protected medieval structure of limited size; the maximum capacity for each tour is 30 persons, therefore the ability for visitors to book online in advance of arriving at the lighthouse will provide huge benefits not only to our visitors but also for our team.” Ann said

Hook Lighthouse is presently the most popular tourism attraction in Wexford and the third most popular in the South East region, coming in third after the Rock of Cashel and Kilkenny Castle respectively.

In 2016 Hook Lighthouse launched an all new Ireland’s Ancient East tour during which visitors can climb the 115 well worn steps of the medieval tower while they step back in time and meet life-size figure of St Dubhan, telling the tale of monks who kept a beacon alight in the fifth century; William Marshal – the first Earl of Pembroke, who built the tower and married the daughter of Strongbow appears next, followed by stories of lighthouse life before automation. Visitors can also enjoy the vistas of the South East coast from the tower balcony and explore the previously private Lightkeeper’s Watchroom.

Tours of the ancient lighthouse are available from 9.30am daily all year round and tour tickets are sold for fifty-minute tours of the lighthouse tower. Tickets can now be booked online in advance or purchased at the Lighthouse reception desk and advance group bookings are also organised. See www.hookheritage.ie

Hook Heritage Ltd. - news

July 2017

Series of Summer Talks at Hook Lighthouse

 in aid The Helen Blake Project

Hook Residents Association in conjunction with Hook Lighthouse announce a series of Summer Talks as a fundraising initiative for the Helen Blake Lifeboat Project.

Each of the six talks will take place at the monastery level of the 800-year-old Hook Lighthouse at 8pm on Wednesday evenings between July 12th and August 16th with an expert speaker leading a talk on a variety of topical issues. In advance of each talk refreshments will be served at the lighthouse from 7.30 pm.

Getting the series off to a start on Wednesday, July 12th is Professor Kevin Whelan, University of Notre Dame and the title of his talk is ‘What do we see when we look out from the Hook?’ and the talk will focus on the maritime tradition of a peninsula. Kevin Whelan, a native of County Wexford, is Director of the University of Notre Dame Global Gateway in Dublin. He has authored or edited twenty books and more than one hundred articles, and he has lectured on Irish topics in fourteen countries.

On Wednesday, July 19th Noel Whelan, Founder of the Kennedy Summer School, Former Chair of the JFK Trust, New Ross will take to the stage. Noel will speak about the Kennedy connection and building on the Wexford angle. Noel Whelan is a barrister, author and political analyst. He writes a weekly political column for The Irish Times and is regular contributor on current affairs for the broadcast media. He is the author or ci author of 12 books including the Tallyman series of election guides. A native of Ballycullane, County Wexford he is founder of the Kennedy Summer School and a former chair of the JFK Trust New Ross.

On Wednesday, July 26th Edno Delaney, Nature and Wildlife Photographer will offer audiences an in-depth look at Fur & Feather through Wildlife Photography. Endo is a photographer of note, he has had a lifetime interest in capturing all types of flora and fauna, from the rare flowers and plants of the Burren to the Pine martin family in the nearby Lacken woods. In season he has scenes of frogs and tadpoles in the pond at the bottom of his garden and lots of shots of the neighbours cat while he was set up to try catch the fleeting visit of the elusive Jay. Edno’s work has appeared in many Wildlife journals and magazines and his studio walls are covered in certificates and prizes, which were won over the years. Many of Edno’s pictures can be seen as a background to the nightly weather forecast we see on RTE Television, the latest being the Murmurations (a collection of many thousands of Starlings) that were at Ballywilliam last Autumn and which he will show with its unusual commentary in the Summer talk at the Hook.

On Wednesday, August 2nd  Brendan Power, Chairman of the Helen Blake Lifeboat Project will discuss Helen Blake: The Tragedy, The Benefactor. Born in Fethard on Sea, Brendan Power is a former broadcaster and journalist who spent some time on the ‘pirate’ radio stations of the 1960s before joining Radio Antilles on Montserrat – the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean. He was involved in the launch of commercial radio in the UK as a producer on the Birmingham station before moving into financial services. He is a founder and past President of the Professional Speakers Association and has spoken to audiences in more than a dozen countries. Now retired and living on the Hook Peninsula, he is Chairman of the community group that is building a replica of the Helen Blake lifeboat.

Jimmy FitzGibbon of New Ross Historical Society will take to the podium on Wednesday, August 9th and he will host a talk titled ‘It said it on paper – New Ross Standard, May 5th 1916.’ Jimmy is a member of the New Ross Historical Society he is custodian of what has become known as the ‘Cavanagh Collection’. Cavanagh, a harness maker from North St in New Ross had a keen interest in early photography in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, and has left us with about 1500 glass plate negatives of remarkable high quality giving us a unique view of his life and times in the area. He also had a magic lantern, a device that preceded the cinema and in the collection there are 100’s of lantern slides of interest, from the route to India via the newly opened Suez Canal to some originals of the fatal Scott expedition in 1910 to the Antarctic by Ponting, the official photographer of the trip.

Jimmy was invited to show a collection of slides on the lantern from the church of Ireland archives which had recently been discovered in 2010 and was shown in a BBC Western TV programme. He also gave a lantern show in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin as part of their Heritage Works Programme. He has hosted his lantern show to Wexford, Waterford, Kilkenny and New Ross Historical Societies over the years. He published a book on Cavanagh as part of the celebrations for New Ross 800, “A time and a place” and he also has a keen interest in old newspapers as their content tell us so much about the life and times of the area on the date of their publication.

And taking the series of summer talks to a close on Wednesday, August 16th is Professor J. Ray Bates, Adjunct Professor of Meteorology, UCD when he will discuss “Climate change: planetary emergency or long-term threat?” Prof. Ray Bates grew up in Kilmore Quay and is a past pupil of St. Peter’s College, Wexford, where he was a classmate of the late Dr. Billy Colfer. He obtained a B.Sc. in Physics from UCD and a Ph.D. in meteorology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has worked at Met Eireann, was a senior scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre, a professor of meteorology at the University of Copenhagen and is now Adjunct Professor of Meteorology at UCD. He is a member of the Royal Irish Academy.

 

Hook Lighthouse - Summer Talks 2017Each talk is a limited to 50 persons; tickets are available online via www.hookheritage.ie or by calling 051 397055, tickets to each talk are €10 includes refreshments prior to entry. All proceeds will be donated to the Helen Blake Lifeboat Project.