A solitary tower, sending a supernatural signal across the sea: What horror lurks in Ireland’s Haunted Hook Lighthouse? PAUL MOYNIHAN reports …
The beautiful, barren landscape of southern County Wexford boasts some of Ireland’s most breathtaking scenery. Dotted with quaint little villages, it is also home to one of the oldest lighthouses in the world. Hook Lighthouse sits on the Hook Peninsula, overlooking the wild sea with an every watchful eye. The magnificent building is over 800 years old, one of the oldest operational lighthouses in the world.
Historians have debated the origins of the lighthouse for years. Some believe it was Norman Raymond LeGros who built the tower in 1172. It is widely believed, however, that William Marshal, Earl of Pembrokeshire, began building the lighthouse in the mid-13th Century. Its purpose was to guide ships (many of which were Marshal’s) safely into the harbour in Waterford. It is said that the building’s design was inspired by the many stone keeps (known as ‘Juliets’) which were found throughout Wales and France at the time. The tower and its beacon were later placed in the care of the monks of the Priory of Saint Augustine. The remains of one of the monks are said to be entombed within the walls of the lighthouse. Interestingly, the Welsh monk Dubhan founded a monastery close to the site of Hook lighthouse in the 5th Century.
With a history so rich, stories of a supernatural nature are an inevitability. Various paranormal researchers have ventured to the location, in the hopes of discovering some unexplained activity. They have often found what they came looking for. Those sensitive to the other side have claimed to feel a heavy atmosphere throughout the location. The cottages which stand beside the lighthouse have been of particular interest to spook-seekers, with many a visitor claiming to feel the sense of not being alone. An eerie feeling seeps throughout the place. It is also said that William Marshal himself haunts the lighthouse, keeping vigil in his tower. Mediums who have visited the location have picked up on his presence numerous times. Tales of a phantom monk are also well-known in the area, with various sightings of a man in hooded garments walking both on the tower and at its base being reported.
The haunted lighthouse at Hook Head truly is a sight to be seen. Barren and majestic, it climbs above surrounding scenery, its eye trailing the landscape like a silent guardian. Its power is palpable, and a visit is highly recommended. Opened to the public in 1996 when the beacon became fully automated, it has become one of the south-east’s biggest tourist attractions. Guided tours occur all year round, given by some of the friendliest staff you are likely to meet. There is a nautically-themed gift shop, a great cafe serving soup, sandwiches and some of the best seafood the country has to offer. The lighthouse also hosts art workshops as well as exhibitions. For the paranormal fanatics, a wonderful ghost tour takes place during the Halloween period, and it’s guaranteed to send a shiver down your spine.
I wish to take this opportunity to thank the wonderful staff of Hook lighthouse for their assistance in researching the astonishing building. Their correspondence was a great help.
All that is left to be said is this: Visit haunted Hook lighthouse, a national treasure and a truly remarkable and historically fascinating building. Take in the mind-blowingly beautiful sights and soak up all that the area has to offer. Just keep an eye out for the numerous spectres who refuse to leave this most haunted of hotspots…