Myself and a friend visited Ireland’s Eye yesterday. The island has a fascinating history, with a church, called Cill Mac Nessan, being built here circa 700 AD by three sons of Nessan. There they worked on a manuscript copy of the Four Gospels called the Garland of Howth, which is currently in Trinity College Dublin.
There are many different seabirds nesting here, peregrines, shags, gulls, gannets, puffins and cormorants among others. The birds can get quite protective of their eggs and young in nesting season, so if you do visit the island in May or June, be careful to watch out for nests and not to go too close.
The Martello Tower was built in 1803 on the orders of the Duke of York and is one of three Martello Towers that were built in Howth to repel any possible Napoleonic invasions.
Ireland’s Eye Ferries is a family business that have been operating tours to the island since the 1940’s. Ken is the third generation of the Doyle family to operate the boat tours, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. The Ferries operate 7 days a week, from the slipway just to the left of the East Pier. It’s great value, €15 for Landing on the Island, you can stay as long as you like until the last boat of the day is leaving, €10 for a Trip around the Island where you don’t disembark and €20 for the Murder Mystery Tour, which takes place at 6 pm and you follow in the footsteps of William Burke Kirwan, who was convicted of murdering his wife on Ireland’s Eye in 1852.