Saltee Islands

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The Great Saltee, the larger of the two Islands

The Saltee Islands (Irish: Na Sailtí [1]) are a pair of small islands lying 5 kilometres off the southern coast of County Wexford in Ireland. The two islands are Great Saltee (89 hectares) and Little Saltee (37 hectares). They have been unoccupied since the early 20th century. Both have been privately owned by the Neale family since 1943. Together the islands cover an area of 1.2 square kilometers.

Geology and Geography[edit]

The islands are based on Pre-Cambrian bedrock, between 600 million and 2 billion years old. [2] The highest point in the Saltees is South Summit on Great Saltee at 198 feet (60 metres). The waters around the islands can be treacherous, hence the area is known as the "Graveyard of a Thousand Ships" and the islands their tombstones.[citation needed]

Popular culture[edit]

  • The Saltee Islands are the setting for Eoin Colfer's book Airman as a powerful sovereign state based around diamond industry. However, the book is a work of fiction and no significant natural resources have been found. [2]


Further references[edit]

Deane, C.D. 1974. On the wild island kingdom of Great Saltee. Belfast News Letter. 7 December.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°07′N 6°36′W / 52.117°N 6.600°W / 52.117; -6.600