BACK IN JANUARY 2009 I VISITED THE OLD GRAVEYARD IN HOWTH [I HAD TO LEAVE BECAUSE I WAS ATTACKED BY GULLS]
The church is Saint Mary's Abbey. About two years later parts of the graveyard had to be closed to the public for a few months because of reconstruction work on the perimeter wall after a heavy rain storm in October 2011 uncovered a number of graves.
Because of the time of year I was not paying attention and did not notice the warning signs but after about ten minutes or so the gulls became very aggressive. When they began to undertake action I was in a corner and could not move in any direction without increasing the apparent threat level but fortunately I managed to escape without and injuries but my equipment was covered in droppings and bird vomit.
In case you are wondering here is the sequence that you can expect:
First comes a low, repeated warning call that essentially means: Go away. Next is the low pass, within a metre or two of the intruder's head. The next phase is bombardment when the birds target you with droppings and vomit. The final phase is an all-out attack – usually a low, raking strike to the back of the head with talons extended.