Wednesday 28 September 2016

New Hook: World's oldest working lighthouse gets high-tech tour

Ireland's Ancient East

Published 29/04/2016 | 02:30

Pictured helping to launch the brand new Ireland’s Ancient East Tour experience at Hook Lighthouse are Ryan Lynch (age 7), Molly Lynch (age 9) and Ava Lynch (age 6). Picture: Patrick Browne.
Pictured helping to launch the brand new Ireland’s Ancient East Tour experience at Hook Lighthouse are Ryan Lynch (age 7), Molly Lynch (age 9) and Ava Lynch (age 6). Picture: Patrick Browne.
Cllr Larry O'Brien, Chairman Hook Heritage Ltd, Jenny De Saulles of Fáilte Ireland, Eileen Wickham wife of Lighthouse keeper Ray Wickham and former resident at the Hook, Tux Tweedy, Last Principle Keeper and Ann Wall General Manager Hook Lighthouse. Picture: Patrick Browne.
Molly Lynch (age 9), Ryan Lynch (age 7) and Ava Lynch (age 6) launching the new tour at the Hook Lighthouse. Picture: Patrick Browne.

Ireland's Ancient East has gotten a high-tech boost thanks to a new tour at Wexford's 800-year-old Hook Lighthouse.

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The world’s oldest working lighthouse, famously dubbed one of the 'flashiest' on earth by Lonely Planet, unveiled the experience this week.

Developed with Fáilte Ireland's ‘Ancient Spaces’ grants for its 'Ireland’s Ancient East' tourism initiative - a follow-up to the Wild Atlantic Way - the tour features hologram figures, authentic stories and access to the previously private Watchroom.

Holograms include a life-size figure of St Dubhan, telling the tale of monks who kept a beacon alight in the fifth century, and William Marshal - the first Earl of Pembroke, who built the tower and married the daughter of Strongbow.

At the final stage of the tour, visitors will hear stories of lighthouse life before automation, and get a sneak peek inside the Watchroom - previously off-limits.

"It's important the tales are told and this huge part of the Ireland’s maritime history is captured and passed on to future generations," said Tux Tweedy, the last principal Lighthouse keeper at Hook Lighthouse, at the launch.

Molly Lynch (age 9), Ryan Lynch (age 7) and Ava Lynch (age 6) launching the new tour at the Hook Lighthouse. Picture: Patrick Browne.
Molly Lynch (age 9), Ryan Lynch (age 7) and Ava Lynch (age 6) launching the new tour at the Hook Lighthouse. Picture: Patrick Browne.

Fáilte Ireland says Ireland’s Ancient East has the potential to deliver an additional 600,000 overseas visitors to a region traditionally bypassed by many.

The team at Hook Lighthouse expects that the new tour experience will deliver a 15pc increase in visitor numbers over the next three years.

This May bank Holiday weekend, Hook Lighthouse hosts the Maritime Matters Festival in conjunction with the Great Lighthouses of Ireland.

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