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)



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1.1 Type


1.2 Site code


1.3 Site name

Horn Head and Rinclevan 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

1.7 Site indication and designation / classification dates

Date site proposed as SCI:1999-07
Date site confirmed as SCI: No information provided
Date site designated as SAC: No information provided
National legal reference of SAC designation: No information provided


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2.1 Site-centre location [decimal degrees]:


2.2 Area [ha]


2.3 Marine area [%]

No information provided

2.4 Sitelength [km] (optional):

No information provided

2.5 Administrative region code and name

NUTS level 2 code Region Name
IE01Border, Midland and Western

2.6 Biogeographical Region(s)

Atlantic (0.00 %)


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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
2110  info      0.3878  0.00 
2120  info      5.1759  0.00 
2130  info      292.334  0.00 
2170  info      9.0423  0.00 
2190  info      42.569  0.00 
21A0  info  X     41.3206  0.00 
3130  info      23.9353  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.
BA200Alca torda    6000   
BA052Anas crecca    158  158   
BA050Anas penelope    200  200   
BA053Anas platyrhynchos    100  100   
BA395Anser albifrons flavirostris    160  160   
BA059Aythya ferina    366  366   
BA061Aythya fuligula    112  112   
BA046Branta bernicla    145  145   
BA045Branta leucopsis    250  300   
BA149Calidris alpina     
BA137Charadrius hiaticula    61  61   
BA038Cygnus cygnus    38  38   
BA103Falco peregrinus     
BA204Fratercula arctica    100   
BA125Fulica atra    24  24   
BA009Fulmarus glacialis    1000  1000   
BA130Haematopus ostralegus    76  76   
M1364Halichoerus grypus    20  30   
P1833Najas flexilis          DD 
BA160Numenius arquata    200  200   
P1395Petalophyllum ralfsii    area 
BA017Phalacrocorax carbo    20  20   
BA346Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax     
BA188Rissa tridactyla    4500  4500   
BA162Tringa totanus     
BA199Uria aalge    5000   
BA142Vanellus vanellus    11  11   
I1013Vertigo geyeri          DD 
  • 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
Bryum marratii                     
Cepphus grylle    12  25             
Cygnus olor    70  70             
Lagopus lagopus                     
Lepus timidus hibernicus                     
Lepus timidus hibernicus                     
Lepus timidus hibernicus                     
Ligusticum scoticum                     
Phalacrocorax aristotelis      200             
Rana temporaria                     
Rana temporaria                     
  • 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


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4.1 General site character

Habitat class % Cover

Total Habitat Cover


Other Site Characteristics

This coastal site is located to the west of Dunfanaghy village, in north Co. Donegal. The bedrock geology is dominated by quartzite (which forms the Horn Head cliffs) interspersed with smaller amounts of schist and metadolerite bedrock elsewhere. Extensive areas of sand dominate the south-western and eastern portions of the site, while peaty podsols, with occasional rock outcrops, dominate in the north. New Lake is a slightly brackish waterbody which was formed in the 1920s when blown sand (from the dunes to the west) blocked the outlet which connected Rinclevan Strand to the sea. The site comprises a complex of coastal habitats of which open marine areas, sea-cliff, sand dunes (various types), blanket bog and heath occupy the largest areas. Other habitats which occur include intertidal sand and mud flats, wet grassland and improved grassland. The main land uses within the site are agriculture (mostly grazing) and recreational activities.

4.2 Quality and importance

The fixed dune habitat is extensive in area and of good quality, and is considered one of the best examples in County Donegal. Humid dune slacks and dunes with Salix repens are well represented and of good quality. There are also moderate to good examples of shifting marram dunes and embryonic dunes. The area of machair is small in extent and only of moderate quality. Lurgabrack dunes support a well-developed bryophyte flora which includes rare species such as Bryum marratii and Thuidium abietinum. The site supports an important population of Najas flexilis and recently discovered populations of Petalophyllum ralfsii and Vertigo geyeri. Two further Red Data Book plant species, Ligusticum scoticum and Agrostemma githago, have been recorded from the site, though it is unlikely that the latter now occurs as it is considered extinct in Ireland. The cliffs at Horn Head are of high importance for seabirds, supporting an internationally important population of Alca torda, and nationally important populations of Fulmarus glacilis, Rissa tridactyla and Uria aalge. The Annex I Bird Directive species Falco peregrinus and Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax breed within the site. Regular wintering populations of Cygnus cygnus, Anser albifrons flavirostris and Branta leucopsis occur (latter two of national importance), along with a variety of other waterfowl species. Breeding waders are also found, notably Calidris alpina, a Red Data Book species. A small to medium sized population of Halichoerus grypus occurs.

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

4.4 Ownership (optional)

No information provided

4.5 Documentation (optional)

Anonymous (1988). Refuge for Fauna (Horn Head) Designation Order. Statutory Instrument No. 99 of 1988. Stationery Office, Dublin. Bassett, J.A. and Curtis T.G.F. (1985). The nature and occurrence of sand-dune machair in Ireland. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 85B: 1-20.Berrow, S.D., Mackie, K.L., O. Sullivan, O., Shepperd, K.B., Mellon, C. and Coveney, J.A. (1993). The second International Chough Survey in Ireland, 1992. Irish Birds 5: 1-10. Bleasdale, A. and Conaghan, J. (1996). A Botanical Assessment of Lurgabrack Dunes, Dunfanaghy, Co. Donegal. Unpublished report to the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Dublin. Colhoun, K. (1998). I-WeBS Report 1996-97. BirdWatch Ireland, Dublin. 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. Hart, H.C. (1898). Flora of County Donegal. Dublin. Holyoak, D.T. (1999). Report on surveys of Petalophyllum ralfsii in Co. Sligo and Co. Donegal, Western Ireland, 31 July-7 August 1999. Unpublished report to National Parks & Wildlife Service, Dublin.Holyoak, D.T. (2002). Rare plant report: Petalophyllum ralfsii in Horn Head and Rinclevan cSAC. Unpublished report to National Parks & Wildlife Service, Dublin.Holyoak, G. (2002). Records of land and freshwater Mollusca in East Donegal (H34) and West Donegal (H35). Unpublished report.Holyoak, G. (2005). Widespread occurrence of Vertigo geyeri (Gastropoda: Vertiginidae) in north and west Ireland. Irish Naturalists' Journal 28: 141-150.Hunt, J., Derwin, J., Coveney, J. and Newtown, S. (2000). Republic of Ireland. Pp. 365-416 in Heath, M.F. and Evans, M.I. (eds). Important Bird Areas in Europe: Priority Sites for Conservation 1: Northern Europe. BirdLife International (BirdLife Conservation Series No. 8), Cambridge. Lloyd, C. (1982). Inventory of Seabird Breeding Colonies in Republic of Ireland. Unpublished report to Forest and Wildlife Service, Dublin.Lockley, R.M. (1966). The distribution of grey and common seals on the coasts of Ireland. The Irish Naturalists' Journal 15: 136-143.Madden, B., Cooney, T., ODonoghue, A., Norriss, D.W. and Merne, O.J. (1998). Breeding waders of machair systems in Ireland in 1996. Irish Birds 6: 177-190.McConnell, B.J. and Long, C.B. (1997). Geology of North Donegal. A Geological Description to Accompany the Bedrock Geology 1: 10,000 Scale Map Series, Sheet 1 and Part of Sheet 2, North Donegal. Geological Survey of Ireland, Dublin. 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. Merne, O.J. and Walsh, A. (1994). Barnacle Geese in Ireland, spring 1993 and 1994. Irish Birds 5: 151-156. Praeger, R.L (1934). The Botanist in Ireland. Hodges & Figgis, Dublin. Roden, C. (2002). The Distribution of Najas flexilis in County Donegal in 2002. Report prepared for National Parks and Wildlife, Dublin. Sheppard, R. (1993). Irelands Wetland Wealth. IWC, Dublin. Stewart, N. (1993). Rare Bryophytes in Ireland: Unpublished report to the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Dublin. Summers, C.F. (1983). The Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus, in Ireland. Unpublished report to the Minister of Fisheries, Forestry and Wildlife, Dublin.Whelan, K.F., Zintl, A. and Poole, W.R. (1996). A Survey of Brown Trout and Eel Populations of the New Lake, Port Lough and Sessiagh Lough, Dunfanaghy, Co. Donegal. Unpublished report, Salmon Research Agency.Young, R. (1973). Report on Areas of Ecological and Geological Interest in County Donegal. An Foras Forbartha, Dublin.


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No information provided

5.2 Relation of the described site with other sites (optional):

Designated at national or regional level:

Type code Site name Type Cover [%]
IE04Horn Head Refuge for Fauna+8.00

5.3 Site designation (optional)

No information provided


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6.1 Body(ies) responsible for the site management:

No information provided

6.2 Management Plan(s):

An actual management plan does exist:

No, but in preparation

6.3 Conservation measures (optional)

No information provided



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