The North Bull Island  

The North Bull Island is over 5km long at low tide, and has extensive areas of intertidal mudflats and sandflats, as well as a large saltmarsh and sand dune system. In winter it attracts internationally important numbers of wildfowl and waders. The mudflats are also excellent for watching gulls in winter. The North Bull Island is best watched on a rising tide when birds are forced close to the road and causeway.  The North Bull Island lies north of Fairview and Clontarf, just on the outskirts of Dublin city. There are two access points onto the North Bull. The first is a narrow wooden bridge which runs onto the North Wall. The second is a long causeway from the main road onto the island approximately further north. The mudflats from Clontarf to the ‘Wooden Bridge’ can hold large numbers of Brent Geese, ducks, waders and gulls in winter. To reach the North Wall turn right off the coast road and cross the wooden bridge. The area to the left of the bridge is excellent for waders and gulls on the rising tide while the beach at the southern end of Dollymount is also very good.  The harbour on the right can be viewed from any point from the Wooden Bridge to the end of the road and is good for grebes and Goldeneye in winter. Terns can be seen well from this road in summer. The causeway is approximately 1.5km further north and the mudflats from the Wooden Bridge to the causeway can be easily watched from the road. The causeway is just past the entrance to St Anne’s Park. Either side of the entire length of the causeway gives excellent opportunities for viewing geese, ducks and waders in winter.  The saltmarsh on either side can be accessed from the causeway but on the left side of the causeway, a small track runs NE along a wire fence beside the golf course. This continues out for over 2km to the tip of the North Bull. The small posts visible on the marsh are often used as perching posts by birds of prey. The North Bull Island also has an Interpretive Centre that is situated to the right side of the roundabout. This centre is open to the public. The mudflats to the north of the causeway can be viewed from the path runs alongside the mudflats for over 3km from the causeway to Sutton. 

Birds found on the North Bull Island
From a
utumn through winter and into early spring internationally important numbers of wildfowl are found. These include Brent Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal, Pintail, Shoveler, Goldeneye and Red-breasted Mergansers. Raptors like Kestrel, Merlin and Peregrine are regularly seen in winter. Waders recorded every year include Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Ringed Plover, Turnstone, Lapwing, Knot, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel (in spring & autumn), Greenshank and Redshank. In autumn small numbers of Little Stints, Curlew Sandpipers and Ruffs occur while in winter, Spotted Redshank are sometimes recorded. Large flocks of gulls use the North Bull Island as a roosting site in winter. Little Egrets are now a common winter sight on the North Bull. The dunes also hold breeding Skylarks and Meadow Pipits.

  © Copyright Eric Dempsey