Hook Head (East)      Section 29a

Dollar Bay

In 1765 the ship, the Earl of Sandwich departed Tenerife for England with a cargo of 250 sacks of Spanish gold. During the stormy voyage, the ship was swept back towards the Irish coastline, where the crew threw the captain, mate and passengers overboard. The mutineers then launched the ship’s boat, loaded the cargo, opened the ship’s ballast doors and allowed the ship half sink and capsize, leaving the cabin boy aboard. 

The crew rowed up the estuary, landing at Dollar Bay, where they buried the gold for safe keeping, sharing some amongst themselves.  They then continued up river until Fisherman’s Quay near New Ross where they spent the night at an inn.  They continued to New Ross, where they also stayed and bought 6 horses and hired 2 guides to take them to Dublin. 

Meanwhile the half sunk ship was blown ashore at Sheep’s Island near Tramore.  The cabin boy relayed the tale to local police, who traced stories of 4 men spending Spanish gold at Fisherman’s Quay, New Ross and at the Black Bull Inn in Dublin; the 4 mutineers were arrested.  They were hung at St. Stephen’s Green and displayed at Dublin port to warn other sailors against mutiny.

Although Dollar Bay was searched, most of the gold was never found and still lies buried under the sand.


Great Lewis

In 1645, 1500 Irish Royalists besieged Cromwell’s Parliamentarian garrison of 200 in Duncannon Fort.  The Great Lewis, and three other ships were sent to recapture the fort.  The Royalists fired at the fleet and while three ships escaped, the Great Lweis was hindered by a combination of heavy cannon fire, high tides and winds

With her masts shot down she drifted into shallow water and sank, with most of her crew and 200 soldiers still on board.  For 400 years she lay lost until 1999, when the wreck was rediscovered whilst dredging the navigational channel


Loftus Hall

Originally built in 1350 by the Redmond family and rebuilt by the Marquis of Ely, the austere mansion sits on Hook peninsula, overlooking the estuary.  Loftus Hall was the site of Irish Confederate battles, a refuge for shipwreck victims and travellers, was a hotel for a time, and following a long desertion, has now been redeveloped as a characterful amenity on Hook Peninsula.

On a wintery evening, a stranger called to the mansion and was made welcome to stay. One night when they were playing cards, a card was dropped on the floor, and when the niece Ann Tottenham went to pick it up, she noticed that the young man had a hoof in place of a foot.  Ann screamed and the man went up through the roof in a puff of smoke, leaving behind a large hole in the ceiling.  Ann went into shock; staying in her tapestry room and refusing food and drink, she died in 1775.  Rumour has it that the hole in the roof could never be properly repaired.  A local priest performed an exorcism in the house.  His gravestone reads: Here lies the body of Fr. Thomas Broaders, who did good and prayed for all, and who banished the devil from Loftus Hall. www.loftushall.com


Hook Head Lighthouse

Hook lighthouse is the oldest operating lighthouse in Europe.  The light has been ma  intained for 1,500 years from the first beacon lit by Welsh monk Dubhan in the 5th century to the development in the early 13th century by William Marshal, Earl of Pembrokeshire as a navigational aid to guide his ships into Waterford Harbour. The freestanding, cylindrical stone keeps are known as Juliets; similar to Marshal castles at Ferns, Kilkenny and Pembroke.  The 36.6m high tower and consists of a 13m-tier with three vaulted ceilings each with an original fireplace and an upper 6.3m-tier with 115 steps to the parapet.

The fire beacon was replaced by a gas-lit lamp from 1871 and by electricity in 1972.  Before the operation was transferred to an automated system in 1996, 3 keepers manned the lighthouse. 

The lighthouse keepers' houses have been converted to an audio-visual room; café and craft shop with a conservatory linking the two houses.  Guided tours supported by multi-lingual literature are provided on site and many events and festivals run throughout the year   www.hookheritage.ie


Tintern Abbey

at the head of a small inlet beside a quiet river, stands Tintern Abbey, a Cistercian abbey, founded c. 1200 by William, the Earl Marshall, and colonised by monks from Tintern Abbey in Wales. Under Henry VIII, it became the property of the Colclough family, who converted it into living quarters and occupied the house from 1543 until 1973.  The remains consist of a nave, chancel, tower, chapel and cloister. The Abbey is set in a beautiful woodland area and the Coclough Walled Gardens have been recently renovated.


Bannow Bay  Round the corner from Hook Head, lies Bannow Bay, a wealth of natural and cultural heritage.  In 1160, the first Normans landed here.  The buried city of Clonmines was a Norman (& Viking) town but abandoned in the 1600s when shifting sands blocked its port and erosion threatened the town. Up to 1800, the town was represented by 2 MPs. The Norman church survives.  A coastal path continues on to Cullenstown strand and eventually Kilmore Quay.