independent

Friday 31 October 2014

Lighthouse keepers in the spotlight

Published 22/01/2013 | 14:33

Lighthouse keepers Jimmy Cullen (left) and Tux Tweedy (right) with Liam Colfer of Hook Heritage at Hook Lighthouse last week.

SHINING a light on all lighthouse keepers, a unique event is set to take place at Hook Head Lighthouse in September.

Hook Head Lighthouse has teamed up with the Irish Commissioners of Lights to host an international reunion for all lighthouse keepers.

Conceived by some local keepers, the Gathering event has already attracted the attention of American news giant NBC who recently featured the Hook Head event in a special report on The Gathering. Lighthouse tour guide Liam Colfer who is local historian Billy Colfer's nephew, was interviewed for the programme.

Hook Head Lighthouse manager Ann Waters hopes the exposure will help attract American lighthouse enthusiasts to the three-day event.

'We are in the process of extending an invitation to the lighthouse keepers at the Sandy Hook Lighthouse off the coast of New York to attend the festival,' she said.

' This is the oldest lighthouse in America and the Americans are big into their lighthouses.'

But its not just Americans on the guest list. 'We are not excluding anyone, everyone is welcome.'

Organisers expect that the majority of the visiting lighthouse keepers will come from other 'Celtic ring countries and those along the Atlantic rim'.

The festival will get under way on Friday, September 13, with a welcoming reception at the lighthouse.

The last principle lighthouse keeper and current attendant at Hook Head, Tux Tweedy will be in attendance, as will other local former lighthouse keepers.

A symposium will also be hosted by well known historian and author Billy Colfer for those who want to learn a little more about the history of lighthouse keeping.

The highlight of the weekend will be a gala dinner dance with lighthouse keepers gathered the guests of honour.

Organisers hope to secure a local sponsor for the event and any local businesses that feel they may be in a position to do so should contact Ann on 051 397055.

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