LAMBAY

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

LAMBAY, an island, in the parish of PORTRANE, barony of NETHERCROSS, county of DUBLIN, and province of LEINSTER, 3 miles (E. S. E.) from Rush; containing 100 inhabitants. This island, which is situated off the eastern coast, appears to have belonged at an early period to the cathedral establishment of Christ-Church, Dublin; by license from Edward VI., in the 5th of his reign, it was, with the consent of the chapter, granted by the archbishop to John Chalenor and his heirs, at a fee-farm rent of £6. 13. 4., for the use of a colony which he had brought to inhabit it, on condition that within six years he should build a town for the habitation of fishermen, with a place of defence surrounded by a wall and ditch, and a convenient harbour for their boats. In the reign of Elizabeth the island was granted to Archbishop Ussher, who resided here for a considerable time, during which he is said to have written part of his works; after his decease it was purchased from his representatives by the family of Talbot, who are its present proprietors.

It is about four miles in circumference, and forms an elevated ridge, with rocky knolls and cragged brows, strongly contrasting with the flat sandy shore of the mainland, appearing like the last offset of the Wicklow mountains in this direction, and corresponding with the detached heights of Ireland's Eye, Howth, and Dalkey, at the opposite extremity. It contains more than 650 plantation acres of land well watered with numerous streams and susceptible of cultivation, to which a portion of it has been subjected; it abounds with rabbits, sea parrots, puffins, and Cornish choughs. The rocky grounds surrounding the island form a plentiful lobster and crab fishery, and are much frequented by the Lough Shinny fishermen, who carry on a lucrative trade here. The channel between the island and the main land at Rush point and Portrane is about three miles wide; and about 200 yards from the west end is the Burrin rock, dry at half tide, and on which a perch is placed; between it and the island are four fathoms of water.

About a quarter of a mile from the northwestern extremity of the island, or Scotch point, is a cluster of rocks called "the Tailors," on which a beacon is placed; and between these rocks is a pier harbour, built by a grant of £591. 11.4. from the late Fishery Board, and of £451. 7. 8. from the proprietor, who afterwards obtained a grant from Government for its completion. It has four feet depth at the entrance at low water, and small vessels may find good anchorage and shelter from the north-east and south-east gales. On the northern side of the island is the Cardurris rock; the remainder of the shore is lofty and precipitous, with clear ground at a short distance; and vessels may anchor in safety to leeward; on the south-eastern side is a spacious cavern, called "Seal Hole," from the number of seals that breed there; and on the north side, between the Tailors and Cardurris rock, is a cavern about 150 feet in length, with stalagmites arising from the floor, and stalactites depending from the roof.

Experienced pilots for the Dublin coast, and supplies of excellent spring water may always be obtained here, and on the island is a coast-guard station. The geological features are chiefly trap rock, greenstone in massive beds; greenstone porphyry alternating with small strata of clay-slate, conglomerate sandstone well adapted for mill-stones; grauwacke, and grauwacke slate; the porphyry is found in abundance, and is susceptible of a very high polish, and indications of copper are found. The castle erected by Chalenor is of polygonal form, and is occasionally inhabited by the Rt. Hon. Lord Talbot de Malahide, proprietor of the island.

In the R. C. divisions the island forms part of the union or district of Rush; the first stone of a chapel was laid in 1833 by the proprietor. There is an old burying-ground, also a well dedicated to the Holy Trinity.

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