Skerries, County Dublin

Skerries, located on the eastern coast of Ireland, derives its name from Norse word Skere which means small coastal island. This small fishing town is often referred to as the seaside capital of Fingal. It is surrounded by five islands, namely Shenick Island, St Patrick’s, Colt, Rockabill and Red Island. The island has witnessed series of invasions during the second century. Skerries were used as a stopover by invaders going towards Knocknagin, north of Balbriggan.

Built around low lying beaches with two long streets namely Sand Street and Church Street, the town has been famous as a prominent center for hand embroidery and as a fishing port. The town is also home to a watermill and two windmills, along with mill pond, mill races and wetlands. Open to public after completion of the restoration work, the mills of Skerries beautifully describes use of wind energy, complemented with water energy. Besides, a watermill cafe and a craft shop are also available within the mill complex.

The islands off its coast have also to history and life of this seaside town. Located to its north is the Red Island, which forms a shelter and breakwater for the harbor. Known as Key Island in earlier times and later as Heaven Island, this rocky headland got its name due to the reddish color of rock and soil. The coloring was caused by dyeing of sails, an industry which earned recognition for Skerries. A center for activities during summer, the island also has a Martello tower. This massive two-storeyed tower has stone steps and cannon mounted on the pivot on the roof. The origin of the tower revels the story of great defends during the approach to the Gulf of Fiorenza.

Similar to this another defensive Martello tower, another tower stands at one end of the Shenick Island. One of the largest islands off Skerries coast, it got its name from Irish word ”sionnach,” meaning a fox. The land also witnessed a tax war for seaweed between the farmers of Rush and landlord of Skerries. East of Skerries is another island named Lambay Island. Renamed by Danish from its earlier Irish name “Reachra”, it now means Lamb Island. At this island, there is a castle, which was built using Milverton limestone and has no right angles. Close to Skerries lies the Rockabill Island, which has a prominent 18th century light house that alerts ships at night.

In Skerries, one can watch ruins of a large castle and a church at Baldongan, which was built in the 13th century. It was created by Knight Templar, a semi-military religious order, and later on became the property of De Birmingham family, at the beginning of 16th century. The castle witnessed an onslaught by Colonel Trafford and his Parliamentary forces, causing death of 200 people. Another popular landmark is the Ardgillan Castle, located on the hills that overlook the Barnageeragh Bay. Within its complex, one can see walled garden, old ice house and extensive parkland.

A group of rocky islands, Skerries is well connected with airports, ferry ports, rail tracks and bus services. People visiting Skerries have a lot to keep themselves busy in this seaside town of County Dublin.

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