What The Feck Are Wallabies Doing In Ireland?

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Yes, Wallabies in Ireland! Not just in a Zoo but living wild. I somehow had no idea that wallabies were living in Ireland. 

At first, I thought it was a satire post but there is, in fact, a whole bunch of Wallabies living on Lambay Island just 4 km’s from Dublin. 

Ariel view of Lambay Island
Lambay Island from above. Photo Joseph Mischyshyn

Lambay island has notable populations of seabirds, a range of local fauna, some not found elsewhere in Ireland, and a colony of wallabies. 

Dublin zoo placed 7 wallabies on the 600-acre island in the 1980s. Now it is believed there is over 300 of them thriving on the island. However, the first wallabies were added as far back as the 1950s.

The island is privately owned by a trust for members of certain branches of the Baring family and managed by the current Baron Revelstoke.

It has a very small permanent population and few buildings but hosts some day visitors and short-stay guests, and there is a working farm.

Wallabies on Lambay island of the coast of Dublin in the Irish sea
Photo from Mark Broderic

According to Smithsonian.com, Fota Wildlife Park in Cork took some of these wallabies but Dublin Zoo struggled to re-home the rest.

The Barings accepted an offer from the then-director of the zoo, Peter Wilson, and the wallabies were put into boxes and shipped off to the island on a fishing trawler.

We wanted to put them on an island because we knew we were introducing a species that could run wild and take over, 

 ”If we put them on an island like Lambay, there’s no way they could escape from it.” Wilson told the publication

The now Irish wallabies have adjusted to the climate and are reported to be doing great. Additionally, the island supports one of the largest seabird colonies in Ireland – Source Wikipedia

But can we visit Lambay island? 

An ariel view of Lambay island
A lot more developed than I expected!

Yes! That was the second thing I googled after learning about the island. I was actually blown away by the scale of the buildings there.

There are yoga retreats, writing retreats, exclusive whiskey tours(they make their own whiskey!) and even accommodation available.

You can find all the information and booking info on their website here.

I think if they make a whiskey and writing retreat I will have to sign up haha. 

So what does the island look like?

Finding images for the island was a bit challenging but I did one better and found an incredible video shot by Mark Broderick.

He takes a walk around the island and gets some impressive drone shots as well. The wallabies appear at the 2:30 min mark. But the video as a whole is worth a watch.

The island certainly looks appealing and I hope to visit it sometime. 


Have you ever been to Lambay island?

Comment below and let us know what your experience was like. Have seen the wallabies in Ireland?  If you enjoyed this blog post be sure to subscribe to my weekly dose of Irish email newsletter here. You won’t regret it 🙂 

Thanks for reading and have a great day.

Stephen Palmer

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7 thoughts on “What The Feck Are Wallabies Doing In Ireland? ”

  1. Yes I was there twice(only), although I織m from Rush. The first time it was when I was almost 15, Easter Sunday morning. I織ll never forget it. I first had to get permission from Lord Revelstoke, so I wrote. Unfortunately the visit was resticted due to the tide, but the master of the Shamrock, Mr. Basil Leonard, allowed my brother and I time enough to climb to the peak and back again. It was then the only possible approach to the island – unless one had the helicopter access, like Lord Revelstoke. At the time I had no information about wallabies on Lambay.
    Once on an Aer Lingus flight home from Birmingham in the 1980s the pilot permitted me to enter the cockpit,(my grandfather was one of the first pilots with Aer Lingus) and what a view to see the sunlight on the island just as we came down through the clouds to aproach Dublin. A short visit then enabled me to make a brief contact with the Dutch man, who was then the farm manager on the island.

  2. Never been there, but would love to go there for a short holiday when I find out how to get there from the Irish mainland.

  3. Wallabies are good swimmers so be careful they dont invade if ever the grass runs out. Keen to visit the island one day. Richard Pierse/Melbourne – of the Listowel/Rattoo line

  4. I’ve seen many parts of Ireland in my frequent trips home, but this is one place I haven’t seen and would very much like to some day. Slainte!


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