We arrived down to Hook Peninsula in Wexford after a three plus hour journey from Louth, into howling winds and hail from Storm Hector, and I thought, “Ah here now! What have I arrived into!?!” It feels like you are on the edge of the world on that peninsula. Luckily, when we woke up the next morning, it was birds chirping, clear blue skies and a little heat in the air (for Ireland!!) This day was especially good because my mom, and my sister and her kids drove up from Cork to join us for a few nights. Here are some of the things we did while on Hook Peninsula.
Hook Lighthouse was built 800 years ago and is the oldest operational lighthouse in the world. We had smashing views of the lighthouse that morning against the backdrop of the blue sky and the rugged Irish Sea.
You can actually take a tour of the lighthouse but our crew had more fun exploring the rocks and pools under the lighthouse.
And then Gran tried to show her American granddaughter how to play rugby…..or at least her version of rugby….
There was a lovely little sheltered beach called Sandeel Bay Beach right by our holiday home. It was evening time when we arrived and the tide was in so the beach was not accessible for us. The cousins didn’t care in the slightest as there was a sliver of sand at the top of the bay that they were able to play on. The world’s most expensive buckets and spades came in handy yet again!
There are ruins and abandoned houses and manors all over this part of the country, and I wondered what stories each one could tell. A random field hid what looked like the wall of a tower.
And as you round a corner another sudden, dilapidated, forgotten house greets you. So it came as no surprise to learn that Ireland’s most haunted house is on Hook Peninsula.
Lotus Hall is a sight to behold and it’s desolation and loneliness can be felt from far away.
I decided to take the forty five minute tour sans kids and I’m really glad I did. The tour guide ensured he kept it interesting by leading us into dark, spooky rooms and telling the Loftus story with the aid of lighting and pyrotechnics. The nine year old that was part of our small tour group was literally whimpering and burying her head in her mom’s shoulder. The house has had many owners and each owner has befallen some kind of tragic fate. The last owner dissapeared in the late 1990’s and was ‘found’ two years later in an English nursing home. When asked why she suddenly left and didn’t tell anyone, she replied, “The House told me it was time to leave.” The guide highlights facts like the house was inherited by the Loftus Family in 1666, and that there are 9 windows at the top, in the middle and on the bottom. Turn 999 upside down and….you get the idea!
You are not allowed to take photos while inside the house which is a shame. There is a magnificent staircase in the house, sister to the staircase in the Titanic, and the staircase at the Pope’s house. (Do you call it the Pope’s house??? Or palace? Or residence?) There is no way I would be able for the night time Lock In that happens once a month.
A movie was made about the house last year and will be shown in theatres soon. Not sure I’ll be watching it….. scary movies like this one mean I don’t sleep for weeks.
D loved photographing me holding up traffic trying to take a photo of Loftus Hall and booking it back to my car.
Speaking of ruins, we ate at Templers Inn the first evening and there were some pretty cool ruins of Templetown Church across the way. Coincidentally Templers Inn had some of the best fish and chips (breaded monkfish) I have ever had! The church sits on a graveyard overlooking the sea.
Tintern Abbey and Gardens.
As far as abbey ruins go, these ones feel pretty restored. FYI- the place does not feel the most kid friendly. We grabbed a cuppa in the tearooms and it felt a little like we were being ‘watched over’ with the littles. So we decided not to go in and instead take a stroll around the vast, winding gardens.
We came across the old ruins of the gardeners house. The gardens are huge- I am in awe of the job he must have had!
This little village has a lot going for it. There is a vast windy beach, where the cousins built yet more castles for a little while.
D took her two home for a nap and mom and I took my littles for a ramble. We discovered Duncannon Fort.
The fort was closed on this particular day, but we met two donkeys which delighted the kids. They called them Harry and Sally.
There’s also a lovely little harbor at the end of the village.
A fabulous two nights in Wexford! As I pulled back into Cork, I checked the odometer. 2207 kilometers clocked around Ireland in the last sixteen days. An absolutely brilliant trip!