New bylaws sought for Dalkey Island

The local council responsabile for Dalkey Island in Dublin Bay is seeking to introduce new bylaws to help preserve the island's heritage and ecology.

The uninhabited 9-hectare island is situated only 300m off the village of Dalkey, whose residents include celebrities such as U2 frontman Bono and Belfast singer Van Morrison. 

The Dalkey Island Conservation Plan also relates to the much smaller adjoining islets Lamb Island and Maiden's Rock which, along with Dalkey Island, have been in the ownership of the local council since 1913 when they were purchased from the military for £575.

Central to the recommendations by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, is a ban on the "dumping" of unwanted rabbits and domestic goats from the mainland on the islands. The draft report says that these animals, which are often abanndoned on the beaches, affects the ecological balance and puts the island's archaeological heritage at risk. The report also found that domesticated goats brought from the mainland do not mix with the island's small herd of indigenous feral goats, and are unable to survive for long in the wild. 

Another recommendation is to start a iicensed low-capacity ferry service between Dalkey Island from April to October. There have been no regular licensed boat trips to the island since an informal service was discontinued in 2010.  

The report recommends a ban on people bringing pets onto the cluster of islands, of which Maiden’s Rock is home to breeding sea birds. The bylaws would also include a ban on littering, barbecues and fireworks on all three islands.

The islands have a rich history, and show evidence of human occupation from Mesolithic times (10,000-5,000 BC). Dalkey Island contains the remains of a 10th-century church and an early-19th century Martello Tower which is unusual for being built without a door; access was gained using a ladder.

The council will be accepting comments on its conservation plan until 9 August.