Connemara Islands

Country/territory: Ireland

IBA Criteria met: B1i, B2, C2, C6 (2000)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 20,000 ha

BirdWatch Ireland

Site description
This very large site encompasses many small islands and islets stretching from Slyne Head (Illaunamid Island) south-eastwards via Ballyconneely, Bertraghboy and Kilkieran Bay as far as Greatman's Bay. Several IBAs which were treated separately in the previous pan-European inventory (Grimmett and Jones 1989) have been combined to form this site, including Eeshal Island (formerly IE041), Horse Island (formerly IE042), Hen Island (formerly IE043), Oilean Geabhrog (formerly IE045), Oilean nan Geabhrog (formerly IE046), Duck Island (formerly IE047) and Geabhrog Island (formerly IE048). The site also includes surrounding waters, covering a sea area up to 5 km off the mainland, along a coast of 40 km in length.

Key biodiversity
This group of islands supports some of the most important colonies of breeding terns Sterna, especially Sterna paradisaea, in Ireland and is also an important winter feeding site for Branta leucopsis, particularly on St Macdara's Island and more recently in Inishmuskerry. A detailed review of tern usage from surveys in 1969-1970, 1984 and 1995 is required to clarify which are the most important islands. In the absence of such a review, a single such IBA is considered a better approach as terns appear to be very mobile within this area.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Connemara Islands. Downloaded from on 07/02/2023.