Friday, November 11, 2016

Hook Lighthouse

When most people think of a lighthouse, they don't think of a monastery and huge bonfire, but that is what Hook Lighthouse used to be.

It started out as a tower with a bonfire on top because hundreds of ships would wreck off the coast. So the monks, who lived in the tower, watched the fire.

I believe the monks started the fire in the 800's and the building was made in 1172. Making it the oldest operating Lighthouse in Ireland. It has, of course, since been upgraded from a bonfire to an automatic light.

Today, it stands on the rocks on the edge of Hook Head Peninsula in Co. Wexford at the southern edge of Ireland.

 It's always windy on the coast, but at Hook Head, the wind almost pushed us over. We could lean against the wind! But, of course, so much wind made it quite chilly, so we were happy to get inside the lighthouse.

Below is a picture if the medieval roof and a replica of the light used at the top of the lighthouse. Each chamber in the lighthouse looked like this, which is exactly how it would have looked for the monks.
Monk's Quarters and Chapel
 I've climbed to many circular stairs here, it was just second nature when we had to go up the stairs in the lighthouse, however, instead of turning to the right, they turned to the left! Most staircases turn to the right so that if the castle is under attack, it will give the defenders an advantage while hindering the right handed defenders who are then trapped against the wall.

So, we climbed 115 uneven medieval stairs to get to the overlook balcony at the top of the lighthouse.
Can you see the bus below?
 The picture above is an overhead view of Kenzi's famous monster cave -- More on that later.

The wind stirred up the waves which were then crashing against the rocks.

 We traipsed back down the stairs, and I followed Kenzi to the Monster Cave. She is one of the Upperclassmen here, but when she was on this trip as a freshman she was inspired to write a book because of that cave, and now she is here doing research for it.

It was quite a steep climb down

 In the back of the cave, the waves on the rocks above create a waterfall into the pool of the cave and the in and out of the waves make the cave echo as if there is a monster living there -- hence its nickname.
 As a mentioned before, the crazy wind made some fantastic waves. The picture below is slightly edited. The ocean was about this color, but my camera washed it out to be far greyer.
 Normally, we cook out on the rocks at Hook Head, but the wind hindered us again. So we scouted around for a better place. What can be better than a castle beside the harbour?
 Unfortunately, the castle was in ruins, and we were unable to go inside...
 But I took a picture...
 This is definitely one of the larger castles in Ireland. It is surprising it isn't restored and a tourist attraction. As it is, a whole bunch of fishing crates are stacked up against its sides in a quite little corner where no one seems to go.
 Cute little houses beside the castle

 While the grill was being set up, we went on a walk exploring the area. I decided that my goal was to find a horse. (Surprise, Surprise) The Path I chose to walk along had a zillion blackberries, so that was a welcome snack.
 I almost turned back when I saw this...
 I met my goal! But I was getting hungry so I headed back to the harbour to see if the food was ready.

This isn't a sign you see every day.
 As it turns out there was a crisis with the Grill and food wasn't ready until long after dark, but we made a good time of it and played games, explored, and then ate with our feet dangling over the harbour wall.
If exploring medieval castles, lighthouses and monster caves, seeing horses, and having a delicious dinner beside the sea doesn't sound like a good day, then I don't know what is.

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