Dublin Bay

Site description (2000 baseline):

Site location and context
A large bay and estuary adjacent to Dublin city in County Dublin. This site encompasses North Bull Island, Sandymount Strand, Tolka estuary, Dalkey Island area (a number of islands and surrounding waters), and part of Dublin docks. Dublin docks was treated as a separate IBA (former site IE089) in the previous pan-European inventory (Grimmett and Jones 1989). There are extensive sand- and mudflats, saltmarsh, and sand-dunes and beaches. North Bull Island is Dublin's main recreational beach, and its two main land-uses are conservation and recreation. There is high amenity use of Dublin Bay as a whole.

Key biodiversity
This is a wetland of international importance for waterfowl, regularly supporting over 20,000 wintering birds. Species wintering in numbers of national importance include Tadorna tadorna (1,119 birds, 1995), Anas penelope (1,270 birds, 1995), Anas crecca (1,490 birds, 1995), Anas acuta (414 birds, 1995), Anas clypeata (370 birds, 1995), Pluvialis squatarola (914 birds, 1995), Calidris alba (450 birds, 1995) and Limosa limosa (466 birds, 1995). During August, large numbers of terns Sterna (typically about 5,000 and occasionally up to 30,000 birds) use Sandymount Strand as an evening roost.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Ongoing and proposed infrastructural developments (roads, port expansion, pipelines), to meet urban and industrial demands, continue to threaten this site, together with pressure from amenity users. The tern colony at Dublin port has been studied since 1950. In view of the pressures on this site, given its proximity to Dublin city, the need to complete its protection as a Special Protection Area is critical. The site overlaps with a proposed candidate Special Area for Conservation (North Bull Island; area not known).

Protected areas
National Partial International Partial1,436 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (North Bull Island, 1,436 ha). IBA overlaps with Wildfowl Sanctuary (North Bull Island; area not known). 1,436 ha of IBA covered by Ramsar Site (North Bull Island, 1,436 ha). 500 ha of IBA covered by Biosphere Reserve (North Bull Island, 500 ha). 1,396 ha of IBA covered by Special Protection Area (Bull Island, 1,396 ha). 654 ha of IBA covered by Special Protection Area (Sandymount Strand and the Tolka estuary, 654 ha).

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