Introduction

About the island

The Observatory is situated on Old Lighthouse Island, or the ‘Bird Isle’, as it is known locally. The Island is 40 metres high and 16 hectares (40 acres) in area, with a cliff on the east side and fairly gentle slopes elsewhere leading to a rocky shoreline. For most of the visiting season, the Island is covered by lush vegetation including elder scrub, bracken, Himalayan balsam, nettles, bluebells, narcissi and campion.

The Island is an excellent place for newcomers to birdwatching. It is the only place in Northern Ireland where rare passerines turn up with any regularity. Visitors can participate in the trapping and ringing of birds and get a chance to see them at close quarters. Apart from the birds, the Island is available as an ecological study centre and, we hope, is a valuable educational resource for all levels of student.

There is accommodation for up to 23 overnight visitors in the converted ruins of the old lighthouse. There are four bedrooms (two dormitory-style and two family rooms) a self-catering kitchen, a comfortable lounge and a flush toilet.