Lift-off for Hook with airport slot and hologram tours
HOOK Lighthouse has been rewarded for the speed in which its management and team of staff have spent Fáilte Ireland funding with the placement of an image of the lighthouse on the arrivals hall at Dublin Airport.
The lighthouse received funding of €80,000 in September and had its new hologram tour up and running by May.
Manager Ann Waters said: 'We knew a lot of the Ireland's Ancient East had already been on a management development programme. We put our application in last June and were approved in September and had final approval to start works in December. Ten attractions got the go-ahead nationally and we were one of four to have it completed in the first tranche.'
With the in-house expertise of Liam Colfer coupled with the technical brilliance of ICT company Mirador, works were completed on the excellent tour within four months.
'The tour is in line with the Ireland's Ancient East plan for the region. It had to be completely experiential and the aim is that the visitor is absorbed into the story.'
Ms Waters said the 50 minute guided tour - which features brief historical accounts of the lighthouse by a hologram of St Dubhan, William Marshal and projected video footage of former lighthouse keeper Ray Wickham and his wife Eileen who lived at the lighthouse and Tux Tweedy - has been getting a fantastic response, expecially from children, adding that the watch tower area has been opened up to the public.
'Nobody had access to that before.'
The lighthouse opened to the public 15 years ago.
'At the time they were expecting 5,000 visitors after three years. President Mary McAleese opened the centre in May 2001 and that year we had 20,000 visitors through our doors. Last year, for the first time, we had over 40,000 visitors. That is not including people who visit the grounds. 75 per cent are Irish, 8 per cent come from Great Britain, 6 per cent come from mainland Europe and 6 per cent come from America. People can access the lighthouse grounds for free. It's such a nostalgic area for tourists with generations of the same family coming here.'
The cost of entry to the tour has increased slightly for individuals but management were conscious of keeping prices low for families.
Ms Waters said Hook Lighthouse is unique in Ireland.
'The icon of Wexford is Hook Lighthouse.'
The lighthouse has featured on numerous television channels in recent weeks.
Cllr Larry O'Brien praised management for completing the new tour at such speed and welcomed the announcement that the iconic lighthouse will be promoted at Dublin Airport.