Howth: Day Trip to Ireland’s Eye

On Sunday, it was a beautiful sunny day in Dublin we thought we’d do something different so we decided to visit Ireland’s Eye – the small uninhabited island just 10 minutes north of Howth Harbor. For the past two years, we’ve looked at the island nearly daily yet this was our first time out there and I’m sure it will not be our last.

There are a couple different boats leaving from both East & West Pier – and they are about 15. per adult and 10 for kids – though you don’t have to be too concerned with which one you come back on as they both return you to Howth. [Though I have read online of some tourists get all fired up as they are not where they were originally.]

When we first had to get on the “ferry” (and by that I mean a simple boat which holds 15 or so) you have to walk down steps on the water’s edge… then it’s even worse as when you arrive at the island I was instantly overcome with panic as the steps were so small and dangerous.  This would NEVER fly in the US.  I know several kids who should NOT be taken onto this island for safety purposes.  🙂  In fact, I said to Nils, perhaps we just not get off…. overruled!  I guess I assumed we were pulling into a pier or jetty – nope!   Thankfully we were safe and no injuries in our party! 

Yep, walk up those lovely rocks my kids – don’t fall! 🙂

See what I mean, where in the US will a boat let you off on a side of a cliff and say walk up. lol
Thankfully I was wearing sneakers as Nils was in FLIP FLOPS! 🙂

Once we managed to get up we came to a lovely small rocky beach just left of the Martello Tower, were I knew instantly I could find sea glass so my nerves were calmed (at least for a a bit until we started to explore more).


While Nils and the kids paddled a bit in the sea (Soren’s fractured elbow prevented a proper swim), our student spent his time on the phone – grrrr – teenager!

This was my haul in less than 1 hour – will post a photo the rest at the end.

After some time on that one beach, we climbed a bit of the path and went around to a much larger, more sandy beach.

While I collected glass, Maebh collected rabbit bones thanks to myxamatosis.

As we turned around the beach area, we were up on the cliffs over looking seals below and a guy in a yellow kayak, who had a very up close experience.  If you look closely next to him in the water, you can see two white seals.

The people way out on the edge made me so nervous – one google search and you’ll find dozens of stories of people falling off the cliffs and having to be rescued by the Coast Guard and RNLI.
From here we turned around and backtracked our same steps as we were not going to walk through the high grasses with nettles and brambles and we are not experienced hikers, etc.
A TIP WHEN RETURNING:  When you are ready to come back from the island, head down to the steps and start forming a queue as you might have to wait for a few boats if you are towards the back. With kids this can be a long wait.

Here is where we waited – and sure enough a boat arrived packed with people who only went on the journey around the island – they did’t get off so only 5 of us could return and 20 others had to wait behind for the next ferries to come get them.

On the journey back, the boat takes a different path – around the backside of the island past all the birds – we were luck enough to see a Puffin – but with my phone’s camera, you can’t even see it.

When we arrived back in Howth, it was packed with tourists all enjoying the beautiful weather.

Here is a promotional video from Ireland’s Eyes Ferries  – you can get a great idea of the island from it…

and one of a drone – you really see the great beaches on one side and “the stack” area where the birds are mainly located, though the seagulls are all over and can be very vicious.

There is a bit of history on the island in that there was a murder there.

In 1852 William Kirwan, an artist and a gentleman, came to Howth on holiday with his wife, Sarah. They were rowed out to the island by a local boatman. He planned to do some painting, while she was going to soak up rays. As the sun set, the boatmen returned to collect them. Sarah was missing. Her body was later found washed up on rocks at a place known as the “long hole”, the place we have just passed.
Kirwan said she had drowned, but was charged and convicted of her murder and sentenced to death. The evidence was largely circumstantial. Kirwan had been in dispute with locals over unpaid bills, and was having an affair with a woman in the city. His sentence was subsequently commuted to a life term and he served 27 years of hard labour before setting off to America to meet the “other woman”
We were there for about 4 hours – time really went quickly.  Next time I would bring a picnic and our swimsuits …. if we only had friends with a boat who could take us there more frequently!

Almost forgot, here is the second haul of sea glass (20 minute walk back to boat)

Glad we made the trip out, it was a a great adventure and we’ll do it again.

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