Ireland's Eye


's Eye is a small island lying just north of Howth. In summer it is home to large numbers of breeding seabirds including Irelands newest Gannet colony. The only access to Irelandís Eye is by a regular small boat service that runs during the summer months from the west pier in Howth Harbour. The landing point is on the north side of the island, close to the Martello Tower. From here follow the narrow, path that runs along the north end of the island from which there are several excellent vantage points that give good view over the cliffs. The area at the back of the Martello Tower is the best area to see Puffin in summer. Care should be taken to avoid walking on eggs and chicks as this path leads through a colony of Great Black-backed and Herring Gulls. At the highest point of the island is a sea stack just offshore that holds breeding auks and Gannets. From here a path continues south and eventually leads to the beach on the west side of the island. This then brings you back to the Martello Tower. Ringed Plovers and Oystercatchers nest on the beach so care should be taken to avoid nests when walking the beach.

It is always worth asking the boatman to bring the boat around the island on the return journey. This provides excellent views of the breeding seabird cliffs and the Gannet colony. It should be noted that the paths on Irelandís Eye are frequently overgrown by bracken in summer and that in wet weather, the cliff paths can be quite unsafe.

Birds found on Irelandís Eye
Seabirds found here in summer include Fulmar, Cormorant, Shag, Gannet, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Kittiwake, Guillemot, Razorbill, Black Guillemot and Puffin. Sedge Warblers and
 Whitethroats also breed on the island while offshore Sandwich, Common and  Arctic Terns are found. Manx Shearwaters are often found in large numbers in late summer on the sea behind the island. Oystercatcher and Ringed Plover breed on the beaches. In winter Greylag Geese are occasionally found here.

  © Copyright Eric Dempsey