Baby seagulls with parent

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Ireland's Eye

County Dublin

A short distance offshore from Howth is Ireland's Eye, a rocky seabird sanctuary with the ruins of a 6th-century monastery. There's a Martello tower at the northwestern end of the island, where boats from Howth land, while a spectacularly sheer rock face plummets into the sea at the eastern end. It's really only worth exploring if you're interested in birds, although the boat trip out here, with Doyle & Sons, affords some lovely views of Dublin Bay.

As well as the seabirds overhead, you can see young birds on the ground during the nesting season. Seals can also be spotted around the island. Further north of Ireland's Eye is Lambay Island, an important seabird sanctuary that cannot be visited.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby County Dublin attractions

1. Claremont Beach

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Howth's 'hidden' beach is Claremont, on the other side of the railway. It's a lovely sandy strand, with perfect views of Ireland's Eye directly in front…

3. National Transport Museum

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The rather ramshackle National Transport Museum has a range of exhibits including double-decker buses, a bakery van, fire engines and trams – most notably…

4. Howth Castle

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Most of Howth backs onto the extensive grounds of Howth Castle, built in 1564 but much changed over the years, most recently in 1910 when Sir Edwin…

5. St Mary's Abbey

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Within the grounds of Howth Castle are the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey, originally founded in 1042 by the Viking King Sitric, who also founded the original…

6. Howth Castle Gardens


The gardens of Howth Castle are worth a visit; they’re noted for their rhododendrons (which bloom in May and June), azaleas and a long, 10m-high beech…

7. Howth Summit

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Howth Summit (171m) has excellent views across Dublin Bay right down to County Wicklow. From the top of Howth hill you can walk to the top of the Ben of…

8. Malahide Castle

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The oldest part of this hotchpotch castle, which was in the hands of the Talbot family from 1185 to 1976, is the three-storey 12th-century tower house…