Sheskinmore Lough

Site description (2000 baseline):

Site location and context
Sheskinmore Lough is situated approximately 6 km north-west of Ardara in County Donegal. The site comprises intertidal mud- and sandflats, together with sand-dunes, machair and extensive marshes. Of particular ecological interest is Sheskinmore Lough itself, which is a partially sand-filled lagoon. The site is grazed, although a large part of it is managed for nature conservation. A caravan site lies within a relatively small section of the dunes.

Key biodiversity
This site supports a diversity of wintering and breeding bird species. The number of wintering Branta leucopsis has fallen just below the B1i criterion threshold in recent years, but in view of high numbers during the 1980s (1,123 birds in 1981, and an average of 556 birds in the mid-1980s) the site has been retained as an IBA.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Past attempts at drainage of the lake and marsh have caused damage. NPW now own 365 ha of the site and there are plans to reverse the drainage. Parts of the site are threatened by overgrazing (mainly by rabbits), agricultural improvement and recreational use. 15.8 ha of the site is owned by BirdWatch Ireland as a reserve. The IBA lies within a proposed candidate Special Area for Conservation (Sheskinmore Lough; area not known).

Protected areas
National High International HighIBA overlaps with Wildfowl Sanctuary (Sheskinmore Lough; area not known). 944 ha of IBA covered by Special Protection Area (Sheskinmore Lough, 944 ha).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Sheskinmore Lough. Downloaded from on 30/09/2023.