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Irelands Eye

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The second garden group event took place today. This time to Irelands Eye.

It was an amazing day. And to that some notes of thanks are due. To the legend that is Diarmuid O’Cathasaigh of The Howth Peninsula Historical Society, who spoke to us about the island and to Mary Stephenson who introduced me to Diarmuid – thank you so very much. It put meaning to the journey.

To the skipper of The Little Flower, Mark Doyle of Island Ferries. You are Sir, a gentleman and I wouldn’t sail in any other boat.

To the people I spent the day with… I applaud you and thank you. Absolute Ladies and gentlemen.

To the island itself… I did try to edit the story teller [the video of him that is] that is Diarmuid [and I could have rewritten what he told me]… but the guy is a legend and I just couldn’t do it. Want to know about Irelands Eye…. really ?

From the famous murder to why martello is actually incorrect spelling. From the year 200 AD to Napoleon and why Howth has 2 of everything…. it’s all there.

All I know is, prior to this trip, I could find very little information on Irelands Eye, including 3-ish photographs and some information on wiki…

This video is the ultimate guide to a history of Irelands Eye. The day out… one I will never forget.

My advice if you are going…

  • Get on well with skipper Mark – that’s if you wish to plan in advance. He is a marine engineer by trade and a gentleman by nature.
  • Wear long trousers and hiking boots, not necessary, just better.
  • Bring a picnic including a hot drink and water And sun screen and water proofs.
  • Relax and enjoy. Worth every cent… more than that, every minute.
  • The boat rip costs €15 and if the tide is with you takes about 15 minutes
  • I recommend you spend a good 2 -3 hours there
  • There is much more than the martello tower there [see images]
  • Anything else…

looking for more information

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The Garden Group Set To Sail

I have a different gig on this weekend – not be confused! To this one, planning had started some time ago for the garden groups second journey and I am pleased to say we are ready to roll.

Never been on a garden group gig…?

After a late night phonecall with a gentleman called Mark from Island Ferries [4th February] our next adventure will be to Irelands Eye.

  • Date: April 18th, Sunday
  • Time: 11.30 am
  • Meeting Point: Outside The Bloody Stream Pub, Howth, Co. Dublin
  • Cost For Boat Trip: €15 return – paid to Skipper on the day
  • Booking: via comment here only
  • Contact me: I’m on [Vodafone Prefix]6594688 or twitter.com/DoneganGardens
  • Other: As we are travelling by boat I will need to call two days in advance to ensure that weather conditions are suitable for us to travel. There are no toilet facilities on the island – so use your head!  Also be very careful with rubbish/ wrappers that may blow away.
  • Dress Code: See above video and this is Ireland.
  • Duration: I conferred with The Skipper and I and he reckon about 3 hours on the island should be ample.
  • Weather: the weather…. your guess is as good as mine ;) and this is Ireland. But I will be keeping an eye on met eireann and saying a wee prayer. Bring an umberella. Wrap up warm. And wear some shoes that will keep your feet dry.
  • Lunch: I had suggested bringing a picnic. That’s what I will be doing anyway. All things going good it’ll be a flask of coffee and some nice sambos!
  • Anything else: leave a comment below or gimme a call.
  • Directions: Get to Howth via DART is the best option. The entrance exit of the station is right next to our meeting point The Bloody Stream Pub. Bus numbers 31 & 31B also go there from Lower Abbey Street and there should be ample parking.

Have I ever been there…? No. But from my extensive google research here’s what I have found out.

Courtesy Wikipedia

The ruins of a Martello Tower and an 8th-century church (the Church of the Three Sons of Nessan) 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, derived from Éireann, 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. The island was also known formerly as Inis Faithlenn.

Ireland’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.

The Eye is a townland in its own right, with a registered area of 21.5 hectares (53 acres).

Birdweb.net also have some good reading for those a little more into the nature side of it with some great notes on routes to take and what you can expect to see. I would pay particular note to this line of their writing

It is good policy to stick to the trodden paths as it is only too easy to walk on well camouflaged chicks or eggs.

Places for trip are limited to 18 people. Those who were on the previous Garden Group trip have first refusal and the usual Garden Group Guides apply.

*The First Garden Group Journey

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Loughshinny Beach

Before you even dream of saying it….. I will 😉

What on Gods earth am I doing reviewing a beach…?

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Well, it turns out one of North Dublins hidden gems may not be the worst day trip you ever took. And in this case it turns out there is a lot more than sand to see here.

This place is literally brimmed with history and nature.

For those not into the ye olde botanics of the great outdoors…. this is exactly what you are looking for. The beach may well be the meeting  point [so to speak] but there is so much more than that here.

I went down on Valentines day, a change of plan from what I had intended, but… it was just relaxation heaven. The tide was out. Some of the boats were in. The fishermen where loading up the days catch. I walked the harbour wall and looked over towards Lambay Island. I walked on towards the Martello tower and did what is known as the Millennium Walk.  I brought the dogs. It was cold. I wrapped up warm. And as the wind blew [right] through my hair…. the horses wandered the beach front. You simply cannot find serenity and such amazing views like it. Add to that the fact that the beach and surrounding areas were absolutely spotless.

Shame that Fingal County Council have such limited information on their website about the history of Loughshinny. Maybe someone else maybe able to shed some extra light on this [?]. For the moment, go forth and so enjoy…. simply amazing.

View more images of Loughshinny Beach

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Velvet Strand, Portmarnock Beach, Dublin

When it’s right on our doorstep… they say you rarely use it. Personally, I always loved the beach.

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I hated it as a child. I had to get in. People would be in duffle coats and I’d be in my pants freezing, eating salad covered in sand 😉 Oh happy days! Great memories 😆 But when I was a teen my family moved there and the strand took a whole new meaning.

It was more than a getaway for me in the teen sense of it. Because I love[d] nature so much… this had everything. It was I suppose the ultimate in escapism. I had no mobile phone then….. Last week, a meeting was delayed…. an hour to spare. I took my flask of coffee and went for a wander. I loved every second of it.

A few points of note if you are going. Make sure and park in the municiple car park [next to the country club hotel]. Cars parked on the main road have a habit of getting parking tickets. Also I read in the Portmarnock local newsletter that they had done some work on the dunes and grasslands around to attract bees so be mindful of that. Aparently the efforts have been quite successful and numbers appear to have increased. Make sure and see the Southern Cross Monument called Eccentric Orbit. The two islands are Lambay and Irelands eye and a walk up by The old Martello Tower [which goes all the way to Malahide] is also quite nice.

Also do take your time…. and enjoy 😉

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