Hook Head is said to have found its way into common English usage in the saying “By Hook or by Crook.” It is claimed that the phrase is derived from a vow to take Waterford by Hook (on the Wexford side of Waterford Estuary) or by Crook (a village on the Waterford side) made by Oliver Cromwell.
This area is renowned as the location of Hook Lighthouse, the oldest working lighthouse in the world. Hook Lighthouse is one of the most fascinating examples of medieval architecture in Ireland. The tower stands four stories high with walls up to 4m thick. The tower itself consists of three rib-vaulted chambers in the lower tier while the upper narrower section would have carried the warning beacon. In 2001 the light was opened to the public after the old keepers houses were turned into a visitor centre. In January 2011 The Hooks fog horn was heard for the last time as all the fog horns were turned off. It was felt that seeing that the technology on modern ships was so advanced that the fog horn was no longer required. In June 2011 the structure was placed first by Lonely Planet in its list of “Top 10 Flashiest Lighthouses”; the guide described Hook as “The great granddaddy of lighthouses”.