Origins of Oileáin

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Oileáin has continued to grow since its publication as a book in June 2004, and now as of 19th October 2016 includes 582 islands. The most recent inclusion is Illaunbrock in the Gascanane Sound, added last April. My personal tally of landings on these reached a milestone figure 500 on 7th September 2012 and now stands 507, my most recent such landing being last June on Sunk Island, Lambay, north Dublin. Oileáin also deals with parts of 10 of the 15 mainland coastal counties. This version of Oileáin will continue to grow and expand on this webpage but an earlier version dated April 2013 formed the basis for a second edition of Oileáin . Apart from the additional 300- islands in O2 (mostly in bays and close enough to the shore, the big wild stuff was mostly already there in O1), there is a lot of additional local flavour, anecdotes, historical stuff as well as more flora and fauna than you could shake a stick at. There is new wild stuff too, for instance Rockall. Oileáin 2 has grown to 145,000 words from the 90,000 in Oileáin 1 as published in 2004. It seems it may be too big for commercial viability and the hard copy version published in 2014 was pared back to 125,000 words, but not at the expense of quality!

I have compiled a list “First Known Kayak Landings” of many remoter, harder Irish offshore islands and rocks, and on which kayakers are identified who are thought at present to have landed there “first”. This hopes to reflect in an obscure way an interesting insight into a small part of what Irish sea kayakers were at in the late 20th century / early 21st.

Books and Further Reading on Irish islands and Irish sea kayaking. These include source material for Oileáin.

Oileáin” deals with landings on islands, camping spots, availability of drinking water, tidal streams, history or natural history where known or researched, birds and wildlife as available, and general information. It is intended to be similar in purpose to a nautical Pilot or Sailing Directions, but dedicated to sea kayaks and other very small craft, with a lot of extras.

David Walsh is in 2016 a 66 year old Dublin solicitor and Notary Public, living and working in Ranelagh with his wife Sheila. He has four children Justin, Daire, Sarah and Orla, grandson Thomas and grand-daughter Charlotte (we got there before the other guys, before you ask). David has legally represented many outdoor pursuits national organisations – Irish Canoe Union, Mountaineering Council of Ireland, BirdWatch Ireland, Underwater Ireland, AFAS, IASTT. Originally a keen walker, then climber, he has always also had a wide general interest in outdoor pursuits, including cycling, birding, canoeing and some SCUBA. On a sailing / climbing trip to Spitzbergen in 1990 he saw sea kayaks glide between icebergs in remote frozen Magdalena Fjord. He was blown away. The next part of his life began immediately.

Islands became David’s focus. Since first it became apparent that his “islanding” was something remarkable, once he was claiming 300 or so personal island landings, he has been rigorously audited by Irish sea kayaking. David has of date of writing visited 507 of the current 582 islands dealt with. He was a founder member of Irish Sea Kayaking Association and held the position of Chairman from 1995 to 2003, retiring only to see to the publication of the initial Oileáin.

Oileáin 2004 sold out 3,000 copies by 2010. Oileáin 2014 ISBN 9781906095376 has 292 pages, colour photos throughout, thoroughly revised and updated.

This site formerly hosted the Irish Sea Kayaking Association, a voluntary association which independently represents Sea Kayaking / Sea Canoeing in Ireland. ISKA is my home. I was its Chair from 1995 to 2003. On its website you will find additional information to do with current activity inside modern Irish sea kayaking.