This summer saw an IWT Dublin Branch adventure to north Dublin's best kept wildlife secret - Ireland's Eye. The demand for this trip was so high we had to run it twice! Over these two trips we were guided by wildlife experts Dr. Rory O'Hanlon, Conn Flynn and Sarah Rubalcava who showed us the wonderful flora and fauna present on this uninhabited wilderness.
Our troop of 30 people, young and old alike started the day off by taking to sea via boat from Howth Harbour. These boats brought us around ‘The Stack’, a large rock formation at one end of the island, before heading around to view multiple bird species on the seaward side, including huge colonies of Comorants, Shags, Kittiwakes, and nesting Gannets before landing on the island itself. We were even lucky enough to spot the elusive Puffin and some Razorbills! Irelands's Eye is of national importance for many of these species. There is also a seal colony in the area, and these could be seen bobbing in the waves.
Once on the island we were able to explore the colonies up close, and to learn a bit more about the island and plant species found there. We stopped for lunch with the sun shining upon us and birds shrieking overhead, before continuing on our trek to the opposite side of the island to meet our boat. Before our journey back we had enough time to have a look around the Martello Tower, shale beach and ecclesiastical ruins which date back to 700AD.
Variable weather, and landing points not being the easiest only seemed to add to the adventure and an excellent time was had by all. We hope to be able to offer these trips again in 2012, so if you haven't yet managed to see this gem on our doorstep, watch this space!!!! (photos courtesy of Chiara and Joy)