Situated on the west County Clare/Galway coast, this is the shallow, more sheltered part of a large sea bay, which is partly protected from the open sea by the Aran Islands. On the eastern and southern sides of the site there are numerous shallow tidal inlets including the smaller bays of Kinvara, Aughinish, Corranroo and Ballyvaughan. The southern side is fringed with limestone pavement while a number of small, low islands composed of glacial deposits are located along the eastern side. Intertidal shellfish cultivation takes place mainly on the southern and eastern shores of the site, while the northern shore, where Galway city is located, is subject to greater human pressure, due to amenity and recreation use.
This is an important site for wintering waterfowl and breeding seabirds. Several other species occur at this site in numbers of national importance, including wintering Anas penelope (1,413 birds, 1995), Clangula hyemalis (71 birds, 1996), Charadrius hiaticula (449 birds, 1996), Pluvialis squatarola (86 birds, 1996), Pluvialis apricaria (2,275 birds, 1996) and Calidris alpina (1,835 birds, 1996), as well as breeding Phalacrocorax carbo (min. 220 pairs, 1987) and Sterna hirundo (98 pairs, 1995).
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Inner Galway Bay. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/12/2020.