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Summer Birthday's on Ireland's Eye.

TN puffin 5After Experiencing Island wildlife off the Northern Coast this summer it has created a new found interest in us to explore some more. With two granddaughters celebrating birthdays and interested in taking the 15min. boatride from Howth's East Pier. We made a call the day before to Island Ferries to inquire about the trip and to make a booking.

Ireland's Eye known in Celtic times as Eria's Ey. Eireann being the Irish for Ireland, and Ey the Viking equiveland for Island it later became known as Ireland's Eye.

What a beautiful morning. Even at 7am. the sun was warm. The first boat leaves for the Island at 10am. and every hour after that. It would be great to spend even 1hr. before the many tourists arrive.  Would this be too early a start for the girls? they are on school holidays and in a more relaxed morning mode. To our surprise and delight they were up and enjoying breakfast when we arrived at 8am. After a cuppa and a generous application of sun factor we set off with packed lunches looking forward to a picnic on the Island later.

An hour later we arrived in Howth. It was still very quiet around the Pier and Harbour. P7250004The sea and sky were as one.The colours resembled a painting. P7250005

We Looked for the Boat that would take us to the Island. We walked along the Pier choosing a moored boat that each of us suspected may be the one to take us to the Island, we enjoyed the sunshine and each others company as we waited.


Soon Mark our boatman arrived, took a Dingy from his van and rowed out to get his Little Princess. She looked so small at first, and there were four others waiting to travel also .Once on board we realised that there was plenty of room for all and possibly ten more.

We set sail on July 25th.




Once out of the harbour our course was set towards the East of Ireland's Eye. This was great for us as we got a view of the otherwise inaccessable parts of the Island.


P7250008P7250009Some fishing vessels were already busily working to catch and supply the days demand for fresh fish in Howth and the north city area. The sea a just a little bit choppy as we passed, the gulls were excited at the prospect of an early morning breakfast. 


P7250010P7250011As we approached the Eastern shores we received a welcome from the Gulls, Guillemot, Fulmar Cormorant and Razor Bills who had been up since the crack of dawn, some were heard to laugh at us, was my hat on backways ?


P7250015P7250026A large Rock known as The Stack stood tall before us. Birds seemed excited at our arrival, or were we the excited ones ?The water was so clear and inviting that joining a lone razorbill was uppermost in my thoughts ! (patience now)


The water was so calm and it easy to disembark at the tiny Island harbour. P7250023P7250046

The Martello Tower stands 5metres tall here on the North West End. A rope hangs now where once the entrance steps had been. Will we, won't we climb ? One of the young men who travelled on the with us boat took hold of the rope and was inside in seconds. It's very dark inside he said and was unable to see anything. No need for us to climb now. After a few minutes exploring this area it seemed the right time for the morning dip, no a soul in sight. We took the opportunity to enjoy a quiet swim before the next boat arrived with more visitors. Beautiful warm clean clear water just what the body needs, and warm sunshine to dry us afterwards.P7250047 The girls paddle and wish they had taken swimming costumes P7250034with them. Built in costumes are perfect for us, always available and take up no space in the bag. They explored the caves and inlets around the harbour.

Soon boats are arriving. It seems that the early boat was the only one to take the route around the north of the island, maybe it was the early tide, maybe it was just  lucky us.

Onwards and upwards. This is a small island and as the boats arrive with 8-10 passengers each time the harbour area is soon crowded. We made our way to the highest point.P7250038 Along the way we met a young couple tending to their wounds. They had walked through the bracken and their lower legs were torn and bleeding, a warning to us not to take that route. Once at the top it seemed the perfect time and place for our picnic. Oh Oh.... someone had forgotten to pack the picnic. Lucky for us the girls had come prepared, and were able to share with their forgetful elders With that sea breeze and the swim to work up an appetite those sea gulls and little bunnies had a narrow escape. The girls were amused at a picnic without food, it would have been a first for them and for us.

P7250036We had taken our Collins Irish Wildlife Book with us and were researching each bird as we saw them.  



The Lesser Black-backed Gull is common here as are a speckled humpy looking bird, which we couldn't find a picture for, and was laughing at us. Cara suggested that it may be the young chick, and sure enough that is exactly who it is.P7250030




P7250029From here we had a clear view of the ruin of the 8th century church once the Parish church for Howth. This led to the over grown path that we were warned of.






We watched as a sailing school arrived and practised their new found skills.The island was fast becoming crowded, as the weather was just perfect. There is always time for a tune and now seems to be just the right time.




We made our way towards the harbour through the tall ferns, some were taking sun along the way. Others had taken beach blankets, sunshades, ice boxes all the necessaries to enjoy their time in their small space. For us it was time to leave, maybe return another time, off season.  

Our time on Ireland's Eye, this tiny Island just a stones throw away from Howth Pier was very worthwhile. Why had we not been here before, we had grown up less than 20miles away ?

There is only the now !