Wexford Harbour and Slobs

Year of compilation: 2000

Site description
An extensive shallow estuary at the mouth of the Slaney river, next to Wexford town, County Wexford. The site includes intertidal mud- and sandflats which are protected by Raven and Rosslare Points and behind which lie the north and south 'slobs'. These are two flat areas of farmland, mainly arable and pasture, empoldered behind 19th century sea-walls. There are partially afforested dunes at Raven and Rosslare Points. The main remaining intertidal areas are at Hopeland on the south shore and between Ferrybank and Ferrycarrig on the inner north shore. There is bottom culture of mussels Mytilus within the estuary. Parts of the site are heavily used for recreation. Compared to its listing in the previous pan-European inventory (Grimmett and Jones 1989), the site has now been extended to include Wexford Bay, a relatively long sandy strip bordered by shallow waters that stretches from the Raven Point north to Blackwater Harbour.

Key biodiversity
This is a wetland of international importance for several species of waterfowl, regularly holding over 20,000 wintering birds. It is one of the two most important sites in the world for wintering Anser albifrons flavirostris. The sea off Raven Point holds nationally important numbers of Melanitta nigra (one of the top wintering sites in Ireland) and divers Gavia. Many other species also occur in numbers of national importance, including wintering Anas penelope Anas crecca, Anas platyrhynchos, Haematopus ostralegus and Vanellus vanellus.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The site has been damaged due to the filling-in of 8 ha of intertidal mudflat at Ferrybank on the north shore, which was the subject of an official complaint to the European Commission from BirdWatch Ireland. Drainage and land-claim at Hopeland, a key part of this wetland and still not included within the Special Protection Area, is another threat.

Protected areas
National Partial International Partial589 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (The Raven, 589 ha). 110 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (Wexford Wildfowl Reserve, 110 ha). IBA overlaps with Wildfowl Sanctuary (Rosslare Point; area not known). 589 ha of IBA covered by Ramsar Site (The Raven, 589 ha). 194 ha of IBA covered by Ramsar Site (Wexford Wildfowl Reserve, 194 ha). 589 ha of IBA covered by Special Protection Area (The Raven, 589 ha). 110 ha of IBA covered by Special Protection Area (Wexford Wildfowl Reserve, 110 ha). 2,734 ha of IBA covered by Special Protection Area (Wexford Harbour, 2,734 ha).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Wexford Harbour and Slobs. Downloaded from on 17/01/2021.