The Folklore, History and Beauty of Ireland's Coastal Beacons. In a land whose roots are so entrenched by mythical legends of the past, it is no surprise that Ireland's lighthouses, located in some of the most unspoilt and picturesque places, are surrounded by tales of danger, heroism, romance and mystery. 'Hookhead Lighthouse', the oldest lighthouse in the British Isles was formerly operated by an ancient order of monks. 'Lightships' were simply boats that acted as lighthouses. They were manned by daring keepers who had to endure terrible living conditions and unrelenting seas. The 'Ballycotton' lighthouse in County Cork sits in a picturesque village and looks out across the wide and tranquil inlet of Ballycotton Bay. 'Fastnet' in County Cork, known as 'The Teardrop of Ireland' because during the days of emigration, for many it would be their last sight of Ireland. Despite the valiant attempts of designers and engineers, the power of the sea is a force that cannot be beaten, only contained. 'Bull' and 'Calf Rock' light houses are examples of when the power of the sea proved too strong. The 'Skelling Islands' were occupied by an order of ancient monks who built a monastery on the edge of the cliffs hundreds of feet above the treacherous sea. Mythology and superstitions haunt the mysterious 'Tory' island. Set in the northwest corner of Ireland this is a place where ancient traditions and customs still exist. The 'Maidens' is a pair of lighthouses, home to a Romeo and Juliet style love story, whereby the children of the two lighthouse keepers who prevented the children from seeing each other and how their love prevailed. 'Roches Point' is positioned beyond Cork Harbour where its tranquil beauty is deceiving. The waters here are very dangerous indeed, many ships have crashed on the rocks. 'Baily' has guided ships into the port of Dublin in the past 300 years and the last to be automated, ending the era of manned lighthouses in Ireland.