Tralee Bay and Barrow Harbour

Year of compilation: 2000

Site description
A large, shallow sea bay on the north coast of County Kerry, including intertidal areas at the mouth of the River Lee (where the town of Tralee is located) and at Barrow Harbour. Some protection is given to the River Lee estuary by Derrymore Island, a spit formed of shingle ridges, while Barrow Harbour is protected by land with only a small inlet open to the sea. North of Barrow Harbour the site encompasses a large, sandy intertidal inlet, sand-dunes and beach which extend as far as Akeragh Lough. The site has been extended since the previous pan-European inventory (Grimmett and Jones 1989) to include Akeragh Lough and intervening coastal habitats (former site IE059).

Key biodiversity
This is an important wetland, with internationally important numbers of wintering waterfowl. Several other species occur in numbers of national importance including Anas crecca (860 birds, 1995), Melanitta nigra (620 birds, 1995), Pluvialis apricaria (3,053 birds, 1995) and Vanellus vanellus (5,700 birds, 1995).

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Akeragh Lough has been seriously degraded by siltation, drainage and nutrient pollution, the latter as a result of effluent discharge from the adjacent caravan site. Habitat quality within the intertidal zone is threatened by the spread of non-native cord-grass Spartina with further possible adverse effects due to the proximity of Tralee town. The IBA overlaps with a proposed candidate Special Area for Conservation (Tralee Bay and Magherees peninsula, West to Cloghane; area not known).

Protected areas
National Partial International Partial106 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (Derrymore Island, 106 ha). 755 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (Tralee Bay, 755 ha). 861 ha of IBA covered by Ramsar Site (Tralee Bay, 861 ha). 1,199 ha of IBA covered by Special Protection Area (Akeragh, Lough Banna and Barrow Harbour, 1,199 ha). 754 ha of IBA covered by Special Protection Area (Tralee Bay, 754 ha).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Tralee Bay and Barrow Harbour. Downloaded from on 29/11/2022.