Papey - island of birds
Papey - island of birds

The small island of Papey is of great interest for birdwatchers.  Estimate of 30.000 couples of puffins (Fratercula arctica) stay there over the summertime.  The island is also inhibited with a lot of other black-gulls like the Common guillemot (Uria aalge).  Furthermore, Papey is a popular place for Common Eider and the Black-legged Kittiwake to lay their eggs.  124 species of plants have been found on the island.  Guided tours run to the island, everyday at 1:00 PM, over the summertime. During the boat trip, visitors have the chance to see seals and take some really nice photographs on the island.

Papey, the main island, is about 2km2 but it is surrounded by many outlaying islands, teeming with various birds and you can also find seals on the reefs.  There are many big fowling cliffs in Papey and as long as its history, men have jumped from ledge to ledge, collecting eggs.  The fowling cliffs are magnificent, reaching 20 – 45 m in the air.

Papey’s history plays an important role for the history of Iceland, because Irish monks are thought to have lived there before the Viking incursion.  They went away when the Vikings came because they didn’t want to live among heathens.  The island itself is named after the monks, who were Papar and other local names also remind of them like Írsku hólar (Irish hills) and Papatættur.

In Papey there is an old apartment house which Gísli in Papey built in the beginning of last century.  There you can also see the smallest and oldest wooden church in the country, built in 1807.

A little north of the house there is a beautiful hill tower called Einbúi (The Loner).  That’s where the church of the fairies is supposed to be.  Above the main fowling cliffs stands an expressive rock called Kastali (The Castle).  All the fairies of the island are supposed to live there and have always been allowed to live there in peace and friendship with other inhabitants of the island.