IRELAND'S EYE

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

IRELAND'S EYE, a small island, in the parish of HOWTH, barony of COOLOCK, county of DUBLIN, and province of LEINSTER, 1 mile (N.) from the hill of Howth. This island, of which, according to Mr. Monck Mason, the proper name is "Hir-land-sie," was selected for the site of an abbey founded in 570 by St. Nessan, over which he presided till his death, and in which was preserved the book of the four Gospels, called the "Garland of Howth." The establishment was subsequently transferred to the mainland, but there are still some remains of the prebendal church and the conventual buildings on the south-west side of the island. It is situated opposite to the mouth of the harbour of Howth, and is about one mile in circumference; the surface is very irregular, rising in some parts into perpendicular masses of rugged rock, presenting a singular and picturesque appearance, and in others wrought into the form of arches by the action of the waves. The more level portions afford good pasturage for sheep and cattle; goshawks build among the rocks. On the north, east, and west sides the island down to the water's edge consists of quartz rock, and the eastern angle is a confused mass of clay-slate and quartz rock, the former of which predominates. Near the western extremity is a martello tower.

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