Howth in December (2007)
Image by infomatique
Ireland’s Eye is a small uninhabited island off the coast of County Dublin, Ireland, situated directly north of Howth Harbour. The island is easily reached by regular tourist boats. The island is currently part of the county of Fingal, for administrative purposes, but was at one time part of the city of Dublin.
The ruins of a Martello Tower and an 8th-century church are the only signs of previous habitation. The tower’s window entrance 5 metres above ground level can now be accessed by a rope that hangs down from the window. The church functioned as parish church for Howth until recent centuries, eventually being replaced by a church in the village due to the limitations of having to take a boat for every service.
In Celtic times the island was called Eria’s Island. Eria was a woman’s name and this became confused with Erin, the Irish name for Ireland. The Vikings substituted the word Island with Ey, their Norse equivalent, and so it became known as Erin’s Ey and ultimately Ireland’s Eye.
In September 1852 a woman named Sarah Maria Louisa Kirwan was killed on the island, and her husband, William Burke Kirwan, was convicted of her murder.
reland’s Eye comprises the main island, a range of rocks and an islet called Thulla. The most spectacular feature is the huge freestanding rock called "the Stack", at the northeastern corner of the island, which plays host to a large variety of seabirds, including thousands of guillemots, razorbills, fulmars and gulls. Ireland’s fifth gannet colony became established on the Stack in the 1980s, and there are now a few hundred pairs breeding there each year. There is a large cormorant colony on the main island, and a few breeding pairs of puffins. Grey seals are abundant in the sea around the island.