There is just something magical about lighthouses. They evoke thoughts of pirates, ships in the night and so many more amazing sea faring stories. During our trip to Ireland we visited Hook Head lighthouse in Southern Ireland which is the oldest operational lighthouse in the world.
Hook Head lighthouse was constructed in the 13th century by William Marshal the Earl of Pembroke. Hook Head lighthouse is constructed of local limestone and stands four stories tall. The walls are up to 4 meters thick! When you visit Hook Head Lighthouse it is hard to believe that the structure was built over 800 years ago.
Each section of the lighthouse has its own story. You can see where the lighthouse keepers lived inside the lighthouse and worked 24 hours a day together.
The view from the balcony near the top of the light house is breathtaking. I was amazed to learn that during storms the mist and spray can reach the balcony. When you are standing on the balcony the ground and water seems so far below. I am very happy that it was not stormy and the water was no where near us on the balcony.
There is a lovely cafe and store in the old lighthouse keepers house on the grounds. The staff is incredibly friendly and happy to answer any questions you have about the area and Hook Head Lighthouse.
During the tour we were able to visit multiple levels of the lighthouse. I have to say when I heard we were climbing to the top of the lighthouse I was not overly excited. All I could picture was tons of stairs and tight compact spaces. In reality there are a ton of stairs but the tour is broken up by level. You stop and explore each level which gives you a chance to catch your breath for a second before going up more stairs. The stairwell is wider than I thought and not very cramped (thank goodness)
I am really glad I fought back my fears and went to the top of Hook Head Lighthouse. The views were spectacular and now I can say I was near the top of the worlds oldest operational lighthouse. Plus I would have regretted not pushing myself to get to the top.
Admission to Hook Head Lighthouse is 6 euro for adults, 3.50 euro for kids and 4.50 for seniors/students. The lighthouse is open year round for guided tours. There is a lovely grass area with a great pirate ship for the kids to play on near Hook Head lighthouse. There are multiple paths that lead to the water and around the grounds that are perfect for exploring. You can find out more about Hook Head light house on their website –Hook Head Lighthouse also on Facebook and Twitter.