Database release:

For Special Protection Areas (SPA),
Proposed Sites for Community Importance (pSCI),
Sites of Community Importance (SCI) and
for Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)



Back to top

1.1 Type


1.2 Site code


1.3 Site name

Malahide Estuary SAC

1.4 First Compilation date


1.5 Update date


1.6 Respondent:

Name/Organisation:National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
Date site proposed as SCI:1999-12
Date site confirmed as SCI: No data
Date site designated as SAC: No data
National legal reference of SAC designation: No data


Back to top

2.1 Site-centre location [decimal degrees]:


2.2 Area [ha]


2.3 Marine area [%]


2.4 Sitelength [km]:


2.5 Administrative region code and name

NUTS level 2 code Region Name
IE02Southern and Eastern

2.6 Biogeographical Region(s)

Atlantic (0.00 %)


Back to top

3.1 Habitat types present on the site and assessment for them

Annex I Habitat types Site assessment
Code PF NP Cover [ha] Cave [number] Data quality A|B|C|D A|B|C
      RepresentativityRelative SurfaceConservationGlobal
1140  info      310.762  0.00 
1310  info      1.92475  0.00 
1330  info      25.1428  0.00 
1410  info      0.6356  0.00 
2120  info      1.7966  0.00 
2130  info      21.373  0.00 
  • PF: for the habitat types that can have a non-priority as well as a priority form (6210, 7130, 9430) enter "X" in the column PF to indicate the priority form.
  • NP: in case that a habitat type no longer exists in the site enter: x (optional)
  • Cover: decimal values can be entered
  • Caves: for habitat types 8310, 8330 (caves) enter the number of caves if estimated surface is not available.
  • Data quality: G = 'Good' (e.g. based on surveys); M = 'Moderate' (e.g. based on partial data with some extrapolation); P = 'Poor' (e.g. rough estimation)

3.2 Species referred to in Article 4 of Directive 2009/147/EC and listed in Annex II of Directive 92/43/EEC and site evaluation for them

Species Population in the site Site assessment
G Code Scientific Name S NP T Size Unit Cat. D.qual. A|B|C|D A|B|C
      MinMax  Pop.Con.Iso.Glo.
BA054Anas acuta    53  53     
BA052Anas crecca    78  78     
BA050Anas penelope    50  50     
BA053Anas platyrhynchos    57  57     
BA169Arenaria interpres    95  95     
BA059Aythya ferina    200  200     
BA046Branta bernicla    1217  1217     
BA067Bucephala clangula    333  333     
BA144Calidris alba    36  36     
BA149Calidris alpina    1474  1474     
BA143Calidris canutus    858  858     
BA137Charadrius hiaticula    106  106     
BA153Gallinago gallinago    29  29     
BA130Haematopus ostralegus    1228  1228     
BA157Limosa lapponica    99  99     
BA156Limosa limosa    345  345     
BA070Mergus merganser    116  116     
BA160Numenius arquata    528  528     
BA140Pluvialis apricaria    2123  2123     
BA141Pluvialis squatarola    190  190     
BA005Podiceps cristatus    52  52     
BA048Tadorna tadorna    471  471     
BA164Tringa nebularia    38  38     
BA162Tringa totanus    454  454     
BA142Vanellus vanellus    1842  1842     
  • Group: A = Amphibians, B = Birds, F = Fish, I = Invertebrates, M = Mammals, P = Plants, R = Reptiles
  • S: in case that the data on species are sensitive and therefore have to be blocked for any public access enter: yes
  • NP: in case that a species is no longer present in the site enter: x (optional)
  • Type: p = permanent, r = reproducing, c = concentration, w = wintering (for plant and non-migratory species use permanent)
  • Unit: i = individuals, p = pairs or other units according to the Standard list of population units and codes in accordance with Article 12 and 17 reporting (see reference portal)
  • Abundance categories (Cat.): C = common, R = rare, V = very rare, P = present - to fill if data are deficient (DD) or in addition to population size information
  • Data quality: G = 'Good' (e.g. based on surveys); M = 'Moderate' (e.g. based on partial data with some extrapolation); P = 'Poor' (e.g. rough estimation); VP = 'Very poor' (use this category only, if not even a rough estimation of the population size can be made, in this case the fields for population size can remain empty, but the field "Abundance categories" has to be filled in)

3.3 Other important species of flora and fauna (optional)


Population in the site


Group CODE Scientific Name S NP Size Unit Cat. Species Annex Other categories
     MinMax C|R|V|PIVVABCD
Ardea cinerea    22  22               
Cygnus olor    55  55               
Viola hirta                     
  • Group: A = Amphibians, B = Birds, F = Fish, Fu = Fungi, I = Invertebrates, L = Lichens, M = Mammals, P = Plants, R = Reptiles
  • CODE: for Birds, Annex IV and V species the code as provided in the reference portal should be used in addition to the scientific name
  • S: in case that the data on species are sensitive and therefore have to be blocked for any public access enter: yes
  • NP: in case that a species is no longer present in the site enter: x (optional)
  • Unit: i = individuals, p = pairs or other units according to the standard list of population units and codes in accordance with Article 12 and 17 reporting, (see reference portal)
  • Cat.: Abundance categories: C = common, R = rare, V = very rare, P = present
  • Motivation categories: IV, V: Annex Species (Habitats Directive), A: National Red List data; B: Endemics; C: International Conventions; D: other reasons


Back to top

4.1 General site character

Habitat class % Cover

Total Habitat Cover


Other Site Characteristics

The site is situated in north Co. Dublin, between the towns of Malahide and Swords. It comprises the estuary of the River Broadmeadow. A railway viaduct, built in the 1800s, crosses the site and has led to the inner estuary becoming lagoonal in character and only partly tidal. Much of the outer part of the estuary is well sheltered from the sea by a large sand spit, known as the island. This spit is now mostly converted to golf-course though some sand dunes and salt marshes remain. A section of bedrock shore extending towards Portmarnock is included as it represents the only continuous section through the fossiliferous Lower Carboniferous rocks in the Dublin Basin, and is the type locality for several species of fossil coral.

4.2 Quality and importance

The site has an important example of intertidal sand and mud flats, with Zostera spp. Their quality is variable but generally good. Salt marshes are well represented, particularly Atlantic salt meadows and Salicornia flats. Most of the sand dune system is managed for a golf course but significant areas of fixed dunes and shifting white dunes remain. The site has Viola hirta, a Red Data Book plant species. It is of high importance for wintering waterfowl, with an internationally important population of Branta bernicla horta and nationally important populations of a further 14 species, including Pluvialis apricaria. It also supports a regionally important population of Limosa lapponica. this site has educational value and has been the subject of a number of research projects.

4.3 Threats, pressures and activities with impacts on the site

The most important impacts and activities with high effect on the site

Negative Impacts
RankThreats and pressures [code]Pollution (optional) [code]inside/outside [i|o|b]
Positive Impacts
RankActivities, management [code]Pollution (optional) [code]inside/outside [i|o|b]

Rank: H = high, M = medium, L = low
Pollution: N = Nitrogen input, P = Phosphor/Phosphate input, A = Acid input/acidification,
T = toxic inorganic chemicals, O = toxic organic chemicals, X = Mixed pollutions
i = inside, o = outside, b = both

4.5 Documentation

Bowman, J.J., Clabby, K.J., Lucey, J., McGarrigle, M.L. and Toner, P.H. (1996). Water Quality in Ireland 1991-1994. Environmental Protection Agency, Wexford. Colhoun, K. (1998). I-WeBS Report 1996-97. BirdWatch Ireland, Dublin. Collins, R. & Whelan, J. (1993). Mute Swans in Dublin and Wicklow, 1983-1992. Irish Birds 5: 11-22. Curtis, T.G.F. and Sheehy Skeffington, M.J. (1998). The salt marshes of Ireland: an inventory and account of their geographical variation. Biology and the Environment, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 98B: 87-104. Curtis, T.G.F. (1991a). A site inventory of the sandy coasts of Ireland. In Quigley, M.B. (ed.) A Guide to the Sand Dunes of Ireland. E.U.C.C. Dublin. Doogue, D., Nash, D., Parnell, J., Reynolds, S., & Wyse Jackson, P. (1998). Flora of County Dublin. Dublin Naturalists Field Club, Dublin. Gaynor, K. & Browne, A. (1999). Survey of Irish Link Golf Courses. Unpublished report for Duchas, The Heritage Service. Dublin. Goodwillie, R., Ni Lamhna, E. & Webb, R. (1988). A second report on areas of scientific interest in County Dublin. An Foras Forbartha, Dublin. Healy, B. (1994). Lagoons and other enclosed brackish waters in the Republic of Ireland. Unpublished report, Department of Zoology, University College Dublin. Healy, B., Lyons, J & Galvin, P. (1993). Environmental Impact Study of the Aquat ic Fauna of the Inner Malahide Estuary, Co. Dublin. Unpublished report by the Marine Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University College Dublin to Dublin County Council. Madden, B., Jeffrey, D.W. & Jennings, E. (1993). Distribution and ecology of Zostera in County Dublin. Irish Naturalists' Journal 24: 303-309. Merne, O.J. (1989). Important bird areas in the Republic of Ireland. In: Grimmett, R.F.A. and Jones, T.A. (eds) Important Bird Areas in Europe. ICBP Technical Publication No. 9. Cambridge. Ni Lamhna, E. (1982). The vegetation of salt marshes and sand dunes at Malahide Island, Co. Dublin. Journal of the Royal Dublin Society 3: 111-129. OReilly, H. & Pantin, G. (1957). Some observations on the salt marsh formation in Co. Dublin. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Vol. 58 Sect. B: 89-128. Sheppard, R. (1993). Irelands Wetland Wealth. IWC, Dublin. Smyth, L.B. (1920). The carboniferous coast section at Malahide, Co. Dublin. Scientific Proceedings of the Royal Dublin Society 16: 19-24.


Back to top

5.2 Relation of the described site with other sites:

Designated at national or regional level:

Type code Site name Type Cover [%]
Broadmeadow Estuary*68.00

Designated at international level:

Type Site name Type Cover [%]
Other Broadmeadow Estuary*68.00


Back to top

6.2 Management Plan(s):

An actual management plan does exist:

No, but in preparation



Back to top
Map delivered as PDF in electronic format (optional)