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Written by David Walsh   
Thursday, 20 May 2010 13:53

Approaching Ireland's Eye

O284-414 Sheet 50

Ireland's Eye is an interesting, small, uninhabited island off Howth Harbour. Circumnavigation is recommended as the cliff scenery is excellent. The island is most attractive and most popular in early summer. There is a regular ferry in season, from Howth East Pier.

The island is noted for its rock climbing on the tor at the NE corner, on the sea stack just off it, and also on the big cliff centred on the N side. Do please though exercise caution as regards bird life, and climb later in the season.

The church dates back to 700, and is called Cill MacNessan. A manuscript similar to the more famous Book of Kells was penned here by three monks, and it is also preserved in Trinity College Dublin.


Peregrine. The island is a breeding ground for various auks, Fulmar, Kittiwake, Shag, Cormorant, gulls, and others. In particular, a Gannet colony started to breed here in 1989, and is now the only significant such colony between the Saltees to the S and Ailsa Craig in Scotland.

Embarkation and Landing

There is convenient access at a public slipway beside the Lifeboat Station at O285-394 in Howth Harbour. Landings can be had at various points, the best of which is at the sandy beach just SE of the Martello Tower. No water. The lusher parts of the island are rat infested, making camping unattractive.

Text reproduced from Oileáin by kind permission of the author, David Walsh. Text was extracted from Oileáin (online edition) on 4th May 2010.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 June 2010 19:28

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