Lambay lies 4km off the north County Dublin coast and is the easternmost point of Ireland. It covers 2.5km sq and has steeps cliffs on it’s north, south and eastern sides and is low lying on the western side where a private port is located. In the Neolithic period it was used as a production site for axes from the quarrying stage right through to the polishing which is unique in Ireland. It was mentioned by the ancient Greek writers Pliny and Ptolemy as Limnus or Limni however it’s present name comes from the old Norse for “Lamb Island”. This name derives with the ancient practice of sending over ewes in springtime to the island so they could lamb in a predator-free environment. St.Columba is said to have established a monastic settlement here in c.530 AD, it was raided by Vikings in 795. Sitric, the Danish King of Dublin, granted Lambay to Christ Church Cathedral, and in 1181 Prince John granted it to the Archbishops of Dublin. In 1467 it was used as a fortress for England’s protection against the Spaniards, French and Scots and in 1691 it was used as an harsh internment camp after the Battle of Aughrim. A number of Iron Age burials and Romano-British items (possibly from refugees from Roman Britain c.79a.d) were discovered in 1927 whilst building a new harbour. The island has claimed many shipwrecks, one of the most notable was the RMS Tayleur -one of the largest merchant ships of her day. which struck rocks near the island on 21 January 1854 with the loss of 380 lives. It was the landing site of the winners of the 1921 Gordon Bennett Gas Balloon Race. The island supports one of the largest and most important seabird colonies in Ireland, with over 50,000 Common Guillemots, 5,000 Kittiwakes, 3,500 Razorbills, 2,500 pairs of Herring Gulls, as well as smaller numbers of Puffins, Manx Shearwaters, Fulmars, and other species. It also has Ireland’s only east coast colony of grey seals and 200 fallow deer. As well as a herd of farmed cattle, the island has troupe of wild wallabies…don’t ask- find out for yourself! The island is now privately owned by the Baring family trust.
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