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Displaying items by tag: Inland Fisheries Ireland

A total of 82 rivers will open for salmon and sea trout angling in the 2020 season that commences this Wednesday 1 January.

“This will allow everyone to share in this important natural resource, for which conservation will be to the fore,” said Sean Canney, Minster of State with responsibility for inland fisheries, who added that “41 of the rivers will be fully open with a further 41 available on a ‘catch and release’ basis”.

Legislation governing the coming year’s wild salmon and sea trout fisheries was informed by management advice from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) on more than 140 distinct salmon stocks, and related scientific assessments carried out by the independent Technical Expert Group on Salmon (TEGOS).

The same advice was also made available as part of a statutory public consultation process during which 27 written submissions from stakeholders were received.

Along with the 82 openings, it was recommended that 65 rivers be closed for 2020 as they have no surplus of fish available for harvest.

Minister Canney said: “Ireland is internationally recognised for elevating the conservation imperative to the pinnacle of our salmon management principles and, as the International Year of the Salmon draws to a close, I am proud to have led Ireland’s participation to this global initiative.

“Environmental change and human impacts continue to place salmon and other species at risk. I am determined that the innovations of International Year of the Salmon which brought people together to share knowledge and raise awareness will endure. This is key to ensuring the resilience of salmon in Ireland and in the entire Northern Hemisphere.”

Published in Angling

Licences for salmon and sea trout angling for the 2020 season can now be purchased online along with log books and gill tags, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has announced.

Licence fees remain the same across all classes including those for juvenile anglers. An annual licence covering all districts costs €100 (€10 for juveniles under 18 years), while licences for single districts are €56 for the year, €40 for 21 days and €20 for a single day. Licences for the Foyle Area Extension are €80.

Anglers are legally required to be in possession of a licence when fishing for salmon or sea trout.

Licences should be purchased online by next Wednesday 18 of December to allow time for delivery before Christmas and the New Year. IFI cannot guarantee dispatch in advance of the holidays due to postage deadlines.

Online licences can also be acquired directly from your local IFI office or approved online licence sales distributors.

Angling licences other than online sales will be available to purchase in approved licence sales distributors from the end of December or early January.

IFI also reminds all salmon and sea trout anglers to return their 2019 angling logbook and unused gill tags as soon as possible, even if there is no catch recorded.

These returns will provide vital information regarding the status and management of our wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout stocks for the future.

Anglers are asked to use the business return envelope which was supplied at the time of license purchase. In the absence of the prepaid return envelope, anglers can return their completed logbook and unused tags to the IFI office address on their licence/logbook.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland has noted with concern the latest findings from the Water Quality in Ireland Report for the period 2013-2018, published today by the EPA. The report shows a decline in river quality and a further loss of pristine river water bodies. It also highlights that the number of fish kills increased to 40 in 2018 after a historic low of 14 in 2017. 

Commenting on the report, Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “The decline in water quality and in particular in river quality since 2015 shows an increase in pressures coming from human activities. These activities such as agriculture, wastewater issues, forestry and hydromorphology (man-made changes to the physical form of the river) are all putting pressure on the aquatic environment, which in turn can have long term impacts on our fisheries resource. 

It is extremely disappointing that the percentage of high-quality biological river sites with undisturbed natural conditions has decreased from 31.6% in 1987-1990 to 17.2% of sites in 2016-2018. These high-quality sites are important for supporting sensitive fish species such as juvenile salmon and trout so any decline in this regard is worrying. Fortunately, the picture for lakes is more stable with a small number showing improvement since the last assessment.” 

The EPA report also gives details of fish kills which occurred during 2018, as supplied by Inland Fisheries Ireland. While there was a significant increase in fish mortalities last year, it is likely that the hot weather and low flow conditions experienced in the summer of 2018 may have caused fish to be more vulnerable to pollution events. Of the 40 fish kills in 2018, 15 were caused by disease or natural causes, seven by agricultural practice, eight by municipal works, two by industrial operations and a further eight fish kills had unknown causes. 

Dr Byrne continued: “During periods of low water levels and warm water temperatures, there are additional pressures on Ireland’s watercourses as a result of reduced oxygen in the water. Any poor quality discharges to rivers and lakes, such as silage effluent or sewage discharges can put extra demands on the oxygen levels, resulting in pollution incidents and fish kills. 

In the context of climate change, we anticipate that the number of fish kills will continue to increase. This issue is even more critical when we consider that rivers with poor water quality do not have the resilience to deal with pollution events during periods of stress. Radical change is needed if we are to ensure the sustainability of our valuable fisheries resource into the future.” 

Published in Inland Waterways

Keen to encourage more people of all ages to discover and enjoy angling as a sport and pastime, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is looking to gather the views of the public around fishing via an online survey.

IFI says its findings will help inform a Novice Angler Strategy which will aim to increase participation across all types of angling.

The survey looks to discover the barriers novice anglers could experience when it comes to fishing, and to find out their perceptions and experiences of fishing to date.

It also will survey existing anglers around the type of fishing they practice and examine how angling clubs recruit and interact with novice anglers.

“We know that there are fewer people fishing than there were in previous decades and we want to find out why and how we can interest them in this lifelong hobby,” says Suszanne Campion, IFI’s head of business development.

“Fishing is a sport which is suitable for all ages and abilities. In today’s society, outdoor recreational activities are more important than ever from a health and well-being perspective, and in Ireland we are uniquely placed with the breadth and quality of our fisheries resource which is available to all to enjoy.

“The information and views of the public are very important to us and will help to make angling better for everyone.”

The online questionnaire takes only around 15 minutes to complete, and all who take part will be in with a chance of winning one of three €50 vouchers for fishing equipment.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has recently commenced a comprehensive sea trout assessment and monitoring programme in the Lough Currane catchment in Kerry.

The project, called Currane STAMP, aims to identify potential factors contributing to the apparent decline of sea trout populations in the area in recent years.

It follows reports from anglers of reduced catches and is funded by IFI through its Salmon and Sea Trout Rehabilitation, Conservation and Protection Fund.

Sean Canney, Minister of State with responsibility for inland fisheries, said: “The Currane system is an internationally renowned angling hotspot for salmon and sea trout and hosts some of the longest lived and largest sea trout found in Ireland.

“However, recent indications from angler rod catch reports suggest declines in sea trout populations in the system and I support Inland Fisheries Ireland’s attempts to get to the bottom of these developments.”

The Currane project is one of 25 across 16 counties which have been awarded funding by IFI through its National Strategy for Angling Development.

The organisation today (Thursday 5 December) announced funding of €1 million for fisheries conservation, protection and education initiatives and for projects which will give the public greater access to fishing sites around the country.

In total, €242,900 has been awarded to the research project on the Currane — €55,800 in 2018 and a further €187,000 in this latest funding call.

A separate initiative at Scartleigh Weir near Listowel will also receive €6,000 to support the provision of CCTV equipment to monitor illegal poaching activity in the area.

As part of the programme on the Currane, researchers will use a combination of traditional and novel research techniques to examine important aspects of sea trout ecology throughout their life stages.

‘This project will help to answer key questions related to the apparent decline of trout in the area’

Habitat surveys will map important spawning and nursery areas while electrofishing (a benign technique used to catch fish by stunning them for a short period of time) will be conducted to assess juvenile fish population trends against previous studies in the area.

IFI researchers have already begun tracking the movement of juvenile sea trout tagged with tiny acoustic tags. Acoustic receivers, which record the movement of any tagged sea trout passing within range, have been strategically placed in freshwater in the Currane system and in the sea in Ballinskelligs Bay with a view to uncovering the freshwater movement and inshore migratory routes of sea trout and determining their survival in the marine environment.

The research will be co-ordinated and conducted from Met Éireann’s Valentia Observatory in Cahersiveen where IFI research officer Ryan Murray will be based and supported by experienced local fisheries staff.

In addition to the sea trout assessment, the team will also work on a salmon monitoring programme which will aim to determine if population trends between the two species are related or independent.

IFI’s head of R&D Dr Cathal Gallagher said: “This research will collect vital information on sea trout which will ultimately inform management strategies which may be required to combat the possible deterioration of sea trout in the Currane system. I would like to acknowledge the support of Met Éireann for this project and we look forward to working with local anglers on the ground to help establish the status of sea trout populations.”

As part of a citizen science initiative within the programme, IFI will be enlisting the invaluable knowledge and assistance of local anglers to establish current and historical rod catch trends.

Neil O’Shea, a fourth generation Currane ghillie who is supporting the programme, said: “I am looking forward to contributing to the sea trout citizen science component developed by Inland Fisheries Ireland. This project will be important for the sea trout fishery in Currane and will help to answer key questions related to the apparent decline of trout in the area.”

Published in Angling

Shepperton Lakes in West Cork will now be eco-friendly following the introduction of measures to reduce the carbon footprint of anglers fishing the popular Shepperton (Shreelane) fishery.

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is introducing regulations which will only permit battery-powered engines on the lake from 1 January 2020.

As part of the eco-friendly measures, Inland Fisheries Ireland is removing its four petrol engines from use at Shepperton, between Leap and Skibbereen.

Anglers can now hire one of the recently refurbished boats and bring their own battery-powered engines.

This follows similar measures introduced at Ballinlough, north of Leap, which has operated successfully for a number of years.

The boat hire at Shepperton Lakes, including a one-day fishing permit for up to two anglers, will cost €30.

‘…a popular winter pike angling destination attracting local and visiting anglers to the area’

Sean Long, director of the South Western River Basin District, said: “This initiative was proposed by the local Inland Fisheries Ireland ‘Green Team’ as a quick and simple measure to reduce carbon emissions.

“We are pleased to offer this green solution to anglers at the lake while also maintaining the permit price once again this year.”

IFI’s Green Team comprises staff in various locations across the country and is part of the organisation’s efforts to refocus its philosophy in line with the critical nature of climate change and the impact it is having on the fisheries resource.

The Green Team works to create solutions which will help achieve an energy reduction target of 33% by 2020 and devise solutions which will support society in reducing its environmental footprint.

Shepperton/Shreelane Lakes in West Cork represent a popular winter pike angling destination attracting local and visiting anglers to the area.

As shore angling is not permitted, anglers are advised to book a boat locally from Mrs E Connolly via telephone 028 33328 in advance to avoid disappointment.

Published in Angling

Doora National School from Ennis, Co Clare has been named winner of Inland Fisheries Ireland’s (IFI) national Something Fishy contest for 2019.

The students from sixth class were presented with the Something Fishy perpetual trophy by Pat Breen TD, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, at Treacys West County Hotel in Ennis yesterday (Monday 25 November).

Doora National School received the national accolade after being commended for their Something Fishy blog project, which saw them complete artwork on the life cycle of a salmon, report on a field trip they took with local fisheries officers and produce an exercise book.

The blog was accessible to their peers and members of the public on Somethingfishy.ie with a view to sharing their learning experiences and to increasing awareness of their fisheries resource in the local community.

It followed months of engagement by the students in the education programme which saw them work with IFI’s Fisheries Officers from the Shannon River Basin District to learn about their local fisheries resource.

The winners were chosen to go forward to represent their region by Clare Education Centre in June.

During the 2018-2019 academic year, 104 national schools and 12 education centres took part in the fisheries education programme which reached over 2,000 students across the country.

As part of Something Fishy, students learn about fish and the environment, enjoying classroom based activities as well as a practical field trip with fisheries officers. The Something Fishy programme is an initiative of IFI in partnership with Blackrock Education Centre.

Speaking about the Something Fishy award, Minister Pat Breen said it “is particularly special as we celebrate the International Year of the Salmon in 2019, an initiative which hopes to raise awareness around the different challenges that face the Salmon species today”.

‘The level of creativity, passion for learning and enthusiasm shown in their project stood out’

IFI chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne said: “The students and teachers of Doora National School submitted an impressive project for assessment. The level of creativity, passion for learning and enthusiasm shown in their project stood out and deserves recognition at this national level.

“We would like to thank Clare Education Centre and our partners in Blackrock Education Centre for their support in bringing the programme to the high standard that it is today.”

Ross Darmody, teacher of the winning class in Doora National School, said: “We are proud of the students here at Doora National School for their inspiring enthusiasm to engage with and learn about the fisheries environment and its species.

“The programme is cross-curricular and draws together geography, science and ICT as well as ensuring that the learning is fun for everyone through the interactive online ‘Something Fishy’ resources.

“As a school we look forward to working with Inland Fisheries Ireland again in the future to bring this programme to even more students.”

Published in Angling

Over 30 young people participated in the annual Sean McMorrow Memorial fishing competition held by Inland Fisheries Ireland’s (IFI) Dublin Angling Initiative earlier this week.

This year’s venue on Tuesday 29 October was the Angling for All facility in Aughrim, Co Wicklow with the boys’ team from the Killinarden Angling Initiative in Tallaght winning on the day.

Young people from a range of youth groups and services took part in the competition, including the WAY project in Wicklow; Sphere 17 in Darndale and Priorswood; Whitechurch youth project; Jobstown Action for Youth (JAY) in Dublin 24; and James St CBS in Dublin’s South Inner Cit.

All competitors have participated in the Dublin Angling Initiative’s courses, which cover different types of fishing and enable participants to learn angling skills, many of them for the first time.

IFI runs the annual Sean McMorrow Memorial as a way for young people to come together and showcase their new skills and compete for fun. The young people were mentored by a team of IFI staff and Dublin Angling Initiative volunteers, who were able to ensure all fish were released back into the water.

Speaking about the competition, Brian Beckett, director of the Eastern River Basin District, said: “We run this competition as a highlight for the young people who have taken part in the fishing programme throughout the summer. It’s something we all look forward to as its great fun on the day and everyone enjoys themselves.

“The Dublin Angling Initiative gives participants the chance to take up a fishing rod and experience what fishing is all about and this event really showcases the experience which we want to create.”

The Dublin Angling Initiative is an outreach and educational fishing programme which aims to promote and develop angling among young people in the greater Dublin area. It caters for anyone interested in angling, from the complete novice to the more advanced angler, and trains them in different types of fishing.

Young people who take part in the initiative are educated in the various species of fish, their habitats, the importance of catch and release of our fish species and broader conservation.

IFI’s Dublin Angling Initiative has seen thousands of young people participate in the programme since it was founded over 20 years ago. The initiative has resulted in many of these young people setting up their own fishing clubs.

This year, the youth programme is operating throughout the autumn months and interested youth groups, schools and angling clubs are invited to apply.

To find out more, contact Dublin Angling Initiative co-ordinator Rory Keatinge at [email protected] or call 087 614 2906. All requests will be subject to availability as places are limited.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has prosecuted three businesses and landowners in the Lough Sheelin and River Camlin catchments between May and September 2019, for the discharge of harmful substances to nearby watercourses.

In June, Kiernan Milling of Granard, Co Longford was convicted in Longford District Court for the discharge of effluent to the River Camlin catchment.

Judge Hughes ordered the payment of €2,441.65 in fines and costs, for breaches under the 1959 Fisheries Consolidation Act.

On 23 July, in Virginia District Court, Mr Patrick Kiernan was convicted and ordered to pay €2,900 in fines and costs, for the discharge of effluent to the Kildorragh River in the Lough Sheelin catchment.

A third conviction was secured by IFI in Virginia District Court in September 2019.

Mr John Lynch, Mountnugent, Co Cavan was ordered to pay €2,500 in fines and costs for allowing the discharge of deleterious matter into the Schoolhouse River, also part of the Lough Sheelin catchment.

In a fourth case in May 2019 at Longford District Court, Judge Hughes disposed of a prosecution by IFI against Mr Derek Moorehead in relation to discharges to a tributary of the Camlin River and ordered Mr Moorehead to pay €500 to a wildlife charity.

Lough Sheelin is a well-known wild brown trout fishery in the Great Western Lakes and one of the most important brown trout angling locations in Ireland, while the River Camlin is an important spawning and nursery location for Lough Ree brown trout.

Amanda Mooney, director of the Shannon River Basin District, said: “Pollution events in the spawning and nursery tributaries along these catchments can threaten indigenous fish populations. The maintenance of the aquatic habitat is vital if we are to sustain and enable wild fish populations to thrive.

“Inland Fisheries Ireland is working to protect and conserve this natural resource to ensure its sustainability into the long term.

“Angling for brown trout in lakes in the Inny catchment and Lough Ree generates important economic activity for rural communities and any impact on fish populations in the area may also have negative impact in this regard.”

Published in Angling

North Cork Creameries Co-operative Ltd pleaded guilty on two charges in relation to a pollution incident on the Allow River in Co Cork last year at a sitting of Mallow District Court on Tuesday 17 September.

The charges followed an investigation by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) in relation to a milk spillage into the river at Kanturk during August 2018.

The court heard that the incident occurred during a tanker loading process at the company’s production facility in Kanturk, which then discharged to the river.

Judge Brian Sheridan granted probation after hearing evidence that the defendant company had made a significant investment to upgrade their facilities in recent years and that a conviction would have a detrimental effect on the company’s wellbeing.

The court awarded €2,654 for costs and expenses to IFI and ordered the co-op to make a payment of €7,500 to the local angling club.

North Cork Creameries Co-operative was previously prosecuted by IFI in the Circuit Court in 2012 for similar offences, and it also received the benefit of the Probation Act in the District Court in 2018 following a prosecution by Cork County Council under the Local Government (Water Pollution) Act.

Commenting on the case, IFI senior fisheries environmental officer Andrew Gillespie said: “Protection of fish stocks is vital to maintaining an extremely valuable natural resource for the benefit of local and tourist anglers alike.

“The River Allow and its tributaries are a prized recreational angling resource with much of the catchment soon to benefit from the locally managed and Government-funded Duhallow Farming for Blue Dot Catchments project.

“The project aims to improve the river water quality and biodiversity via the implementation of beneficial measures by farmers and landowners.”

Published in Inland Waterways
Page 3 of 25

Ireland's offshore islands

Around 30 of Ireland's offshore islands are inhabited and hold a wealth of cultural heritage.

A central Government objective is to ensure that sustainable vibrant communities continue to live on the islands.

Irish offshore islands FAQs

Technically, it is Ireland itself, as the third largest island in Europe.

Ireland is surrounded by approximately 80 islands of significant size, of which only about 20 are inhabited.

Achill island is the largest of the Irish isles with a coastline of almost 80 miles and has a population of 2,569.

The smallest inhabited offshore island is Inishfree, off Donegal.

The total voting population in the Republic's inhabited islands is just over 2,600 people, according to the Department of Housing.

Starting with west Cork, and giving voting register numbers as of 2020, here you go - Bere island (177), Cape Clear island (131),Dursey island (6), Hare island (29), Whiddy island (26), Long island, Schull (16), Sherkin island (95). The Galway islands are Inis Mór (675), Inis Meáin (148), Inis Oírr (210), Inishbofin (183). The Donegal islands are Arranmore (513), Gola (30), Inishboffin (63), Inishfree (4), Tory (140). The Mayo islands, apart from Achill which is connected by a bridge, are Clare island (116), Inishbiggle (25) and Inishturk (52).

No, the Gaeltacht islands are the Donegal islands, three of the four Galway islands (Inishbofin, like Clifden, is English-speaking primarily), and Cape Clear or Oileán Chléire in west Cork.

Lack of a pier was one of the main factors in the evacuation of a number of islands, the best known being the Blasket islands off Kerry, which were evacuated in November 1953. There are now three cottages available to rent on the Great Blasket island.

In the early 20th century, scholars visited the Great Blasket to learn Irish and to collect folklore and they encouraged the islanders to record their life stories in their native tongue. The three best known island books are An tOileánach (The Islandman) by Tomás Ó Criomhthain, Peig by Peig Sayers, and Fiche Blian ag Fás (Twenty Years A-Growing) by Muiris Ó Súilleabháin. Former taoiseach Charles J Haughey also kept a residence on his island, Inishvickillaune, which is one of the smaller and less accessible Blasket islands.

Charles J Haughey, as above, or late Beatle musician, John Lennon. Lennon bought Dorinish island in Clew Bay, south Mayo, in 1967 for a reported £1,700 sterling. Vendor was Westport Harbour Board which had used it for marine pilots. Lennon reportedly planned to spend his retirement there, and The Guardian newspaper quoted local estate agent Andrew Crowley as saying he was "besotted with the place by all accounts". He did lodge a planning application for a house, but never built on the 19 acres. He offered it to Sid Rawle, founder of the Digger Action Movement and known as the "King of the Hippies". Rawle and 30 others lived there until 1972 when their tents were burned by an oil lamp. Lennon and Yoko Ono visited it once more before his death in 1980. Ono sold the island for £30,000 in 1984, and it is widely reported that she donated the proceeds of the sale to an Irish orphanage

 

Yes, Rathlin island, off Co Antrim's Causeway Coast, is Ireland's most northerly inhabited island. As a special area of conservation, it is home to tens of thousands of sea birds, including puffins, kittiwakes, razorbills and guillemots. It is known for its Rathlin golden hare. It is almost famous for the fact that Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, retreated after being defeated by the English at Perth and hid in a sea cave where he was so inspired by a spider's tenacity that he returned to defeat his enemy.

No. The Aran islands have a regular ferry and plane service, with ferries from Ros-a-Mhíl, south Connemara all year round and from Doolin, Co Clare in the tourist season. The plane service flies from Indreabhán to all three islands. Inishbofin is connected by ferry from Cleggan, Co Galway, while Clare island and Inishturk are connected from Roonagh pier, outside Louisburgh. The Donegal islands of Arranmore and Tory island also have ferry services, as has Bere island, Cape Clear and Sherkin off Cork. How are the island transport services financed? The Government subsidises transport services to and from the islands. The Irish Coast Guard carries out medical evacuations, as to the RNLI lifeboats. Former Fianna Fáíl minister Éamon Ó Cuív is widely credited with improving transport services to and from offshore islands, earning his department the nickname "Craggy island".

Craggy Island is an bleak, isolated community located of the west coast, inhabited by Irish, a Chinese community and one Maori. Three priests and housekeeper Mrs Doyle live in a parochial house There is a pub, a very small golf course, a McDonald's fast food restaurant and a Chinatown... Actually, that is all fiction. Craggy island is a figment of the imagination of the Father Ted series writers Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews, for the highly successful Channel 4 television series, and the Georgian style parochial house on the "island" is actually Glenquin House in Co Clare.

Yes, that is of the Plassey, a freighter which was washed up on Inis Oírr in bad weather in 1960.

There are some small privately owned islands,and islands like Inishlyre in Co Mayo with only a small number of residents providing their own transport. Several Connemara islands such as Turbot and Inishturk South have a growing summer population, with some residents extending their stay during Covid-19. Turbot island off Eyrephort is one such example – the island, which was first spotted by Alcock and Brown as they approached Ireland during their epic transatlantic flight in 1919, was evacuated in 1978, four years after three of its fishermen drowned on the way home from watching an All Ireland final in Clifden. However, it is slowly being repopulated

Responsibility for the islands was taking over by the Department of Rural and Community Development . It was previously with the Gaeltacht section in the Department of Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht.

It is a periodic bone of contention, as Ireland does not have the same approach to its islands as Norway, which believes in right of access. However, many improvements were made during Fianna Fáíl Galway West TD Éamon Ó Cuív's time as minister. The Irish Island Federation, Comdháil Oileáin na hÉireann, represents island issues at national and international level.

The 12 offshore islands with registered voters have long argued that having to cast their vote early puts them at a disadvantage – especially as improved transport links mean that ballot boxes can be transported to the mainland in most weather conditions, bar the winter months. Legislation allowing them to vote on the same day as the rest of the State wasn't passed in time for the February 2020 general election.

Yes, but check tide tables ! Omey island off north Connemara is accessible at low tide and also runs a summer race meeting on the strand. In Sligo, 14 pillars mark the way to Coney island – one of several islands bearing this name off the Irish coast.

Cape Clear or Oileán Chléire is the country's most southerly inhabited island, eight miles off the west Cork coast, and within sight of the Fastnet Rock lighthouse, also known as the "teardrop of Ireland".
Skellig Michael off the Kerry coast, which has a monastic site dating from the 6th century. It is accessible by boat – prebooking essential – from Portmagee, Co Kerry. However, due to Covid-19 restrictions, it was not open to visitors in 2020.
All islands have bird life, but puffins and gannets and kittiwakes are synonymous with Skellig Michael and Little Skellig. Rathlin island off Antrim and Cape Clear off west Cork have bird observatories. The Saltee islands off the Wexford coast are privately owned by the O'Neill family, but day visitors are permitted access to the Great Saltee during certain hours. The Saltees have gannets, gulls, puffins and Manx shearwaters.
Vikings used Dublin as a European slaving capital, and one of their bases was on Dalkey island, which can be viewed from Killiney's Vico road. Boat trips available from Coliemore harbour in Dalkey. Birdwatch Ireland has set up nestboxes here for roseate terns. Keep an eye out also for feral goats.
Plenty! There are regular boat trips in summer to Inchagoill island on Lough Corrib, while the best known Irish inshore island might be the lake isle of Innisfree on Sligo's Lough Gill, immortalised by WB Yeats in his poem of the same name. Roscommon's Lough Key has several islands, the most prominent being the privately-owned Castle Island. Trinity island is more accessible to the public - it was once occupied by Cistercian monks from Boyle Abbey.

©Afloat 2020

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