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Something I didn’t know

Before this weekend I had been to Hook Head lighthouse in Co. Wexford tonnes of times as a kid. Up until recently however (approx. 6 years), you were not permitted access to the building. Yesterday that changed for me and I took a guided tour of the lighthouse with a fantastic tour guide who was great craic altogether. The lighthouse itself has over 800 years of history including monks who kept fires burning to alert ships to danger right up to the modern day 1000 Watt bulb rotating on a bed of mercury and controlled from a remote station elsewhere in the country. That’s one kilowatt, roughly 14c per hour to keep sailors from the rocks, pretty good value for money. But I digress slightly, what I didn’t know until yesterday is that every single lighthouse in the world is unique through a contrived combination of features and there is even a lighthouse directory as such. Each lighthouse has different colouring for a start, some have different numbers of bands and some have none. Secondly the interval between foghorn blasts is different also, the Hook lighthouse sounds twice every 45 seconds. Lastly the flash of the light is different also. Seemingly by combining these three features and the directory of lighthouses it is possible to tell where you are in the world without a GPS or sextant. Amazing! I like finding out stuff like this.

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