Ecosystem

Atlantic Puffin, Saltee Islands, Wexford

A Micronation Once Again: The Saltee Islands

Atlantic Puffin, Saltee Islands, Wexford

Atlantic Puffin, Fratercula arctica, on cliffs at the Saltee Islands, off the coast of Wexford, Ireland.

Off the coast of southeast Ireland lie the two small Saltee Islands. Their simple, low-slung landscapes, four or five kilometres of the Wexford fishing village of Kilmore Quay belie their layers of history, folklore and bizarre stories. On approach, there are few warnings of the extent of the islands’ abundant wildlife, but more than 220 species of birds live, nest, or migrate through the Saltees, including gannets, fulmars, kittiwakes, puffins, shearwaters, razorbills and guillemots, all completely unfussed by human visitors. Curious grey seals eat fish scraps from the hands of fishermen, and stalk daytrippers who walk the cliffs – their big doe eyes staring up plaintively from the azure waters below.

Nothing is ordinary here. So I didn’t write anything ordinary.

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