The Saltee Islands are one of the most recognizable landmarks off the south Wexford coastline. Just 5 km from Kilmore Quay, this special place is home to an array of seabirds such as puffins, gannets, guillemots, razorbills, fulmars, manx shearwater, gulls as well as many other species of wildlife. The gannet colony on the cliffs at the southwest corner of the island, is one of the three main colonies found in Ireland. A wonderfully wild landscape, the islands are home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Bluebells cover the islands in early summer. The path from the landing point leads you to Prince Michael’s throne and obelisk. Old stone walls dot the landscape, a reminder to times past when the islands were farmed by its inhabitants. A Special Area of Conservation, the islands are a unique place to visit.
Puffins arrive at the Saltee Islands during April to breed. The puffin excavates a nesting burrow in the cliffs on the island in which to lay its egg. Puffins lay only a single egg between April and mid-May which both parents then incubate for between 5 to 6 weeks. The parents then take turns feeding the chick or puffling for another five to 8 weeks, usually from June to Mid-July until the puffling is ready to fledge. Parents will then leave their pufflings. The puffling leaves the nest, usually at night to avoid predators, and makes its way to the sea. All the puffins are gone from the Saltee Islands by mid-August and do not return to the following April.
A trip to the Saltee Islands is a popular day out. It is advisable to book your place on the ferry well in advance, especially during the peak summer months of July and August.
Bookings can be made by sending a text message to 087 252 9736 or by completing our booking enquiry form below.
SALTEE ISLAND WET LANDING NOTICE
Landing on the Island is by transfer to dinghy and on to shore. Seaweed and stones on landing area may be slippery.
You may may have to walk in shallow water and or seaweed.
If you are not physically fit or if you suffer from any impediment, you must report it to the operator before you board the vessel.
The operator accepts no responsibility for any dangers on the landing area. You land on the Island at your own risk.
Daily Departures – April 1st to September 30th
(subject to weather and seasonality)
Depart 10:00am Return 2:00pm
Depart 11:00am Return 3:00pm
Depart 12 noon Return 4:00pm
Depart 1:00pm Return 4:30pm
Please confirm your departure time when booking
Other times by arrangement. The ferry does not run during the winter months. (October 1st to March 31st)
WHERE TO FIND US
Saltee Ferry departure point is at the top of the harbour in Kilmore Quay beside the boat launching slip. It is a yellow gate signposted ” Saltee Ferry”. Proceed down the gangway to the boat if the gate is open. If the gate is closed, please wait here for the boat captain to arrive.
Arriving by bus, the bus stop is beside the boat launching slip. If travelling by car, you will find ample free car parking adjacent to the harbour.
GOOD TO KNOW
The boat trip to the Great Saltee Island takes approximately 20 minutes. It is an open boat exposed to wet weather and spray from the waves which means that there may be a chance you will get wet during the crossing. So don’t forget to pack your wet gear.
Landing on the island: Please wear appropriate footwear or be prepared to remove your shoes and go barefoot as there is a chance your feet will get wet at the landing point.
There are no facilities on the island and there is no shelter from the elements. Make sure to bring suitable clothing and footwear for the weather on the day.
The islands are formed on some of the most ancient rock in Europe dating back to Pre-Cambrian times. They have been inhabited by Early Christians, Vikings, Normans and medieval monks who farmed the islands and fished the bountiful waters around the island. On a busy shipping route, stories of piracy and smuggling abound. In 1798, rebel leaders, John Colclough and Bagnel Harvey, hid out in caves on the island before being captured and later hanged from the bridge in Wexford town. In 1943 Michael Neale purchased the Saltees.
As one of Ireland’s prepmier seabird sanctuaries, you will be awed by the variety and numbers of birds that make their home here. Over 200 species have been recorded here! There are breeding seabirds, resident land birds as well as migrant birds passing through. More information about the island’s wildlife can be found at www.salteeislands.info