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Written by David Walsh   
Thursday, 20 May 2010 13:51

O315-500 Sheet 43


The closest approach is from Donabate Martello Tower at O263-505 but this would only be suitable if travelling out and back on the flood. Rush Harbour at O274-543 is almost as near, and in calm conditions is handiest on the ebbing tide. In NE winds or a strong ebb tide, launch in Loughshinny Harbour at O273-568. Loughshinny is always dependable, sheltered, has good parking, and is the best choice with bigger groups. The best plan for a day trip is a slingshot from Loughshinny, lunching at the island during the LW slack.


The island is privately owned by the Revelstoke family and no landing should take place. This is particularly true of the W side of the island where the main harbour and housing is situated. If in distress, at least stay below the high water line, and out of sight. The owners value their privacy, the welfare of the nesting wild bird population, and the health of the most unusual domesticated animal population, marsupials included.

There are two satisfactory beaches on the N side, just E of the north-west point, one tucked into the point itself facing E at O310-515, and the other is just further E, below an unsightly rubbish dump, facing N at O312-512.

There are no beaches or landing sites anywhere on the eastern half of the island, but there are three excellent, small, sandy or stony beaches on the S side, in sheltered coves. One is in the middle in Bishops Bay at O315-500, one W of the middle, somewhat out of harm's way, and one tucked into the south-west corner.


Tidal races run strongly on all four corners. Local HW is the same as Dublin HW. The stream floods N from HW Dublin +0430 to -0130, and ebbs in reverse. Between Lambay and the mainland, 2 knots can be achieved in springs.


The island is a significant wild bird habitat and holds internationally important numbers of breeding Cormorant, Shag, Razorbill and Guillemot. 59,000 breeding pairs of Guillemot were counted in 1995/1999, which makes it the second most important colony in Ireland after Rathlin Island (c.96,000 pairs). It is the most important colony for Herring Gull and Shag in the country. The 675 pairs (1999 census) of Cormorant qualify this as the largest colony in Ireland. In winter, there are up to 1,000 Greylag, and several other species of geese.


Barnacle Goose, Peregrine


Flint tools of such a high quality as were probably ornamental were manufactured here from about 3,000 BC to 500 BC. The Romans never got to the Irish mainland that we know of for certain, but they did get to Lambay, traded with it, and called it Limnios. In 795, the first ever raid by the Vikings on Ireland happened here. Lambay is a Viking word. After the Battle of the Boyne in 1691, a 15th Century castle was used as a concentration camp for the defeated Jacobite troops, and was converted into a mansion around 1900. The castle and houses were designed and built by the renowned Lutyens.

Seabirds eggs have been harvested here on the grand scale in times of crisis. Apparently the birds all feed on municipal dumps across on the mainland and the eggs do no taste fishy at all at all. In WW2 the eggs were collected and exported to England.


In 1905/6 Robert Lloyd Praeger, Ireland's greatest ever naturalist, led a team of 20 professional naturalists to examine Lambay with the intensity of a forensic police search. It was in part a post Darwinian experiment, in testing an offshore island as a focus point for development in the nature of species caused by lengthy estrangement from the mass. They didn't find any, but they did find 5 species new to science (3 worms, 1 mite and 1 bristletail), 17 species new to the British Isles, and 90 new to Ireland.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 June 2010 19:30

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