The Magharee Islands, comprising a group of six islands and several additional islets and shallow reefs, are situated 2 km off the northern end of the Castlegregory peninsula in County Kerry. They are uninhabited, except for holiday visitors. The largest islands, Illauntannig and Illaunimmil, were inhabited in the past and are still grazed by sheep and cattle. The site has been extended since the previous European inventory (Grimmett and Jones 1989) to encompass the surrounding waters.
The Magharee Islands are of international importance for their breeding seabird colonies. Other species occurring in numbers of national importance are breeding Phalacrocorax carbo (100 pairs, 1987) and Larus marinus (100 pairs, 1987), and on Illauntannig wintering Branta leucopsis (267 birds, 1993).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Disturbance is a possible threat to the site. However, visitor pressure so far seems to be controlled. Overgrazing by livestock on Illauntannig and Ilaunamil may affect Branta leucopsis. The IBA overlaps with a proposed Special Protection Area (Magheree Islands, 288 ha).
National None International None
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Magharee Islands, Mucklaghmore and Illaunbarnagh. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 23/03/2023.