MUM-of-four Laura Grehan admits she will be giving Howth a wide berth for a while after her lip was ripped open by a seagull during a family picnic on the pier.
Laura (37) and her sister, Susan Farrelly – both from Castleknock – told of their shock after they were left “dripping with blood” when a beaked scavenger swooped to steal their chips.
Laura revealed how a day out with her children Jacob (13), Summer (10), Elijah (7) and two-year-old Aurora turned into a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.
She told the Dublin Gazette: “It felt like I was being punched in the face because the seagull’s head hit my nose at speed as it was pecking my lip.
“It got my mouth clamped in its beak and it actually ripped my lip open. When I put my hand to my face and took it away, it was covered in blood.
“My seven-year-old was hysterical; it was really scary. I had to have a tetanus shot and antibiotics.”
Laura’s sister Susan was also attacked by the same bird. She revealed: “The seagull actually went into my mouth after the chip. I couldn’t believe it!
“We had two two-year-olds with us and they had their food in their hands, so I guess we’re lucky they weren’t targeted.”
Music teacher Susan said the incident was frightening for her children Romey (15), Nova (5) and two-year-old Vega.
She added: “When we phoned the out-of-hours doctor service, I thought they would think it was a wind-up, but they said it was actually very common.”
The sisters are now calling for signage to alert visitors to the potential dangers.
Earlier this year, Howth followed Balbriggan’s lead in applying for a special directive permitting the removal of seagulls’ nests and eggs.
Birdwatch Ireland is opposed to the move and says the scavengers are not aggressive by nature, but are merely adapting to changes in habitats.
Laura said: “My lip is still swollen and a bit sore, but the pain in my arm is even worse where I had to have the tetanus shot.
“I used to go out to Howth every Sunday, but this has put me off.”