The Tall Ships in Waterford and the Lonely Planet’s “Flashiest Lighthouse” accolade has put Hook Head back in the news again recently.
I wrote about the latter development and was more than happy to do so, given that Hook Head is another of Wexford’s true gems. It’s such a beautiful place and, in my opinion, actually more spectacular on a wet and wild day. It’s definitely a rugged beauty.
But if you’re not up for that kind of outing then it’s also great on a sunny day. It’s just five kilometres from the lighthouse to Slade Harbour and back along by the cliffs. You won’t find many nicer short walks anywhere in Ireland.
If you have an interest in finding out more about this historic area you should get your hands on Billy Colfer’s fantastic book “The Hook Peninsula”. To say he’s an authority on the area is putting it mildly. Even the locals will have learned a lot from reading this book. Here’s an overview.
For the non Wexfordians among you, Billy also happens to be the father of author Eoin Colfer, whose star just continues to rise since the phenomenally successful Artemis Fowl series.
An interesting thing I only found out about Hook Head recently – through Wexford artist Eleanor Duffin – is that the late Stanley Kubrick was in love with the place.
He went there on holidays with his family and was looking at the possibility of making a film there. (Eleanor has been given access to the great filmmaker’s archives by his family and it will be very interesting to see what she comes up with!)
It seems Stanley was also fascinated with Loftus Hall, the second most striking structure on the Hook Peninsula. This famous house has now unfortunately gone to rack and ruin and is once again up for sale, with an asking price of €635,000.
Loftus Hall has a fascinating history in its own right, not least the story surrounding it’s most famous visitor, Satan (allegedly!). Read all about it here.
Ramsgrange Church was broken into recently and someone stole the chalice that Fr Thomas Broaders reportedly used in his famous exorcism at Loftus Hall. Thankfully it turned up, as Elaine Furlong reports.
In conclusion, I have two things to say.
Firstly, if you haven’t been to Hook Head in a while, or particularly if you’ve never been, make it your business to get there soon.
Secondly, Fr Broaders, who is buried in Horetown Cemetery, has one of the best epitaphs I’ve ever seen:
“Here lies the body of Thomas Broaders, who did good and prayed for all, and who banished the devil from Loftus Hall.”