Bull Island

The day began with a fascinating briefing on Bull Island beside the Interpretative Centre with the marram grass all around us.

After the briefing we headed down the causeway to view the mudflats and surrounds.

Here, standing with our back to wind, we were given an interesting briefing on the birdlife of the mudflats and the surrounding area.

Our visit to the island was grounded in its beauty and the sense of wilderness that pervades it despite its location inside Dublin’s busy city boundary. We exited the island at 12.30 and travelled to St Anne’s Park close by.

St Anne’s Park

Here we were taken to the Walled Garden and given an interesting guided tour of the Perennial Border, the Chinese and Physic gardens and the Shell House.

We were then taken to the Rose Garden where we were briefed on one of the most famous rose gardens in Europe and given some advice on planting roses.

Finally, we visited the PEACE TREE dedicated on the 29 September 2017 in a ceremony that included the Brass Quintet of the Royal Norwegian Navy Band, Holy Faith Transition Year students, the two St John the Baptist churches in Clontarf and the staff of St Anne’s Park. Here there was a short poetry reading marking the importance of peace. (1) The day was closed by the Superintendent of St Anne’s Park giving a brief history of the park and thanking all those who had been involved in the day.

As we walked away from the Peace Tree the rain began to fall. None of us then knew that Russia would invade Ukraine a few hours later and brutally shatter the peace of Europe and the world that has been so long in the making.

This peace must now be remade and slowly but surely healed in the coming years. Meanwhile, the peace tree stands strong but fragile on the earth.

(1) Three poems were read: The End & the Beginning by Wisława Szymborska, and Time and The Path by Anto Kerins.

Pat Corrigan, Manager of the Interpretative Centre, Bull Island
Joe O’Reilly, District Parks Manager, Dublin City Council
Brian McMahon, Brendan O’Connell, Brid Conroy and Brendan Keogh of St Anne’s Park and Sean Byrne.


The North Bull Island Nature Reserve is one of the most important city wildlife spaces in the world and the most designated site in Ireland. As a National Nature Reserve, it is an important area for wildlife and is strictly protected for nature conservation and designated under the Wildlife Act. All wildlife and habitats within the Bull Island Reserve, both on the island itself and inter-tidal areas, are protected by Irish and European Legislation.

The Birds of North Bull Island – Dublin Bay site is a very useful resource. The Birdwatch Ireland site provides a wide range of helpful and interesting information on Ireland’s birds.

Saint Anne's Park has a variety of beautiful woodland walks and gardens including its rose, walled and other gardens along with its Millennium Arboretum and various other interesting features.

It also has a fine collection of trees and a small river which travels across it. In addition, it has facilities and space for various activities including GAA, soccer, tennis and golf.

Dublin City Council (DCC) is proposing to build a new Discovery Centre on Bull Island. Anto Kerins undertook a review of the proposal and the potential impact the development may have on the wildlife and ecology of the nature reserve. Read here.