One of the most striking elements of Lambay Island is the sheer abundance of wildlife.
A herd of Fallow Deer (up to c. 80) roams the higher parts of the island and can be seen grazing around the Castle grounds in the early light of day.
Most unexpected is a herd of red neck Wallabies originally introduced to the island by Rupert Baring, to Lambay in the 1950s, and he hand-reared the very first joeys. They were later joined by wallabies donated by Dublin Zoo and all thrived very well together, right up to this day. It is thought that the climate on Lambay is not dissimilar to that of Tasmania [also a cool temperate oceanic], which supports the thriving population of wallabies. Baring said the wallabies move around the summit of the island depending on the season – “They shelter in the gorse bushes from the sun and relaxing on the north-side cliffs when it’s cooler. They are very shy but also curious so will often stop for a good look at you before scampering away if you get within three metres from them”. Today we are very proud to have our very own Lambay celebrity wallaby called Willow , she was abandoned at birth earlier this year and carefully taken in by her earth mother “Jen”. So popular is our little Willow that she has her own following on Instagram!
Lambay Island supports the only colony of Grey Seals on the east coast of Ireland. Although it is a long established breeding site for this species, it remains relatively small (45-60 individuals) probably because of the restricted area suitable for breeding.
Lambay Island is internationally important for its breeding seabirds. The most numerous species is the Guillemot, with almost 52,000 individuals on the cliffs. Razorbills (3,646 individuals), Kittiwakes (5,102 individuals), Herring Gulls (2,500 pairs), Cormorants (605 pairs),Shags (1,164 pairs), Puffins (235 pairs), and small numbers of Great and Lesser Black-backed Gulls also breed (all figures from 1995. There is a small colony (<100 pairs) of the nocturnal Manx Shearwater on the island and up to 20 pairs of Common Terns have bred in recent years. A few Black Guillemots have been recorded on Lambay, but it is not clear if they breed. A pair of Peregrines have also been seen and are known to breed on the island.
For a small island, of 2½ sq km, Lambay has an amazing archaeological, historical and wildlife heritage, and in the company of Skerries Tours , visitors can now explore it all for themselves.