Sketching on the Island of Adventure

water colour painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Ireland's Eye, Howth, Co.Dublin

Well, that was the best idea I had for a long time! Last weekend Fionnuala and I went out to Ireland’s Eye, a wild and wonderful island, just north of Howth Head in Co. Dublin.

I hadn’t been there since I was a boy and, to tell you the truth, I was a bit afraid that I’d be disappointed, that the cliffs wouldn’t be high, that the strand wouldn’t be long, that the seabirds would all be gone, but no – it was just as I remembered – it was just like our ‘island of adventure’.

My Dad had a recitation all about it. We all knew most of the lines by heart. It was about a young couple who rowed out to the island for the day… Happy memories.

Photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Gannets on Ireland's Eye

Cormorants on Ireland's Eye. Photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

Herring Gull on Ireland's Eye. Photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

We had our sandwiches watching the Gannets wheeling around the sea stack. What a place to build your home! It’s nesting season at the moment so the seagulls are fiercely protecting their nests. (Yes, we were very careful.) We saw Cormorants feeding their young in the strange way that they do (see above). The chick actually sticks its head down the parent’s throat!

It was wonderful to sit there on the island and watch the ever-moving, turquoise sea. I did some sketching, something I haven’t done in a while.

Photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Fionnuala Rockett on Ireland's Eye

Photo of Eoin Mac Lochlainn in ruined Church on Ireland's Eye

Photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Martello Tower on Ireland's Eye

Evening came. I stood up. “I suppose we’d better be heading back to Howth”, says I. “Howth be jiggers”, said Fionnuala, “let’s go on to Lambay!”

PS:  Speaking of sketching, there’s a great exhibition entitled: There’s a touch of the artist about old Bloom on at the Olivier Cornet Gallery this week. It’s a visual response to James Joyce’s Ulysses – sketching on location in the Parnell Square Cultural Quarter. Curated by Olivier Cornet, Jessica Peel-Yates and Marie-Hélène Brohan Delhaye, it’s the result of a four-day sketching event exploring the fabric of Joyce’s Dublin.





  1. Go hálainn

    Bóithrín na smaointe arís inniu… Is deas é…

    Idir Oileán Í agus Glen of Imaal…

    Dála an scéil, an t-ainm ceart i nGaeilge ná Oileán Mhic Neasáin.

    Is dóigh gurb shin Teampall Mhic Neasáin sa bpictiúr agat.

    Is uaidh sin a fuair Scoil Neasáin an t-ainm.

    Sé Ey an focal Lochlannach le haghaidh oileán.

    Lamb Ey. Dalk Ey etc.

    Sin anois é

    Here’s me bus as the brother says


  2. And would you believe it she died that very year? Out I went to the Eye sure enough , I sat on the self same rock , “Maggie ” says I ” here I am , here i am sure enough, true to me promise I kept me word”
    Happy memories for me too!! At that very arch ruin my Mother explained to me how an arch is built starting at the linch stone.
    Your Father rowed us out that day.nearly eighty years ago.
    beautiful pictures , Charlotte


    • Thanks Charlotte, wow, I didn’t know that he rowed out to the Island. By the time we came along, there was a ferry service and we would go out there in a small motor boat. Nice to hear that you knew of the recitation too!


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