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

Helvick Head 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:2003-02
Date site confirmed as SCI: No information provided
Date site designated as SAC:2017-11
National legal reference of SAC designation:507/2017


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2.1 Site-centre location [decimal degrees]:


2.2 Area [ha]


2.3 Marine area [%]


2.4 Sitelength [km] (optional):

No information provided

2.5 Administrative region code and name

NUTS level 2 code Region Name
IE02Southern and Eastern

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
1230  info      10.26  0.00 
4030  info      18.46  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    41  41   
BA103Falco peregrinus     
BA009Fulmarus glacialis    42  42   
BA346Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax     
BA188Rissa tridactyla    934  934   
BA199Uria aalge    990  990   
  • 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
Cepphus grylle    10  10             
Corvus corax               
Larus argentatus    44  44             
Larus marinus               
Phalacrocorax aristotelis               
  • 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

Helvick Head is at the tip of an east-north-east facing promontory on the southern side of Dungarvan Harbour. It forms the eastern extremity of a broad sandstone ridge which extends west as far as Cork City and is the most northern of the (Hercynian) parallel folds in the rocks of the south-west of Ireland. The beds of rock dip quite steeply at this point so that the cliffs, which rise to over 60 m, are formed of a series of semi-vertical ribs with small gullies between them, especially at the eastern end. The site extends over 3.5 km of coastline from Helvick Head to Muggort's Bay. In addition to dry heath and sea cliffs, the site comprises dry grassland, rocky shore and some shingle. A marine area to a distance of 500 m from the cliff base occurs in the eastern part of the site and is for the benefit of nesting seabirds.

4.2 Quality and importance

The site supports typical examples of vegetated sea cliffs and coastal Erica-Ulex dry heath, with a south to south-east facing aspect. Both habitats have good structures and are functioning well. Helvick Head is an important seabird colony and has a nationally important breeding population of Rissa tridactyla and regionally important numbers of Fulmarus glacialis, Larus argentatus, Uria aalge, Alca torda and Cepphus grylle. The site supports Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax, though suitable nesting and foraging habitat is limited, and is a traditional nesting site for Falco peregrinus.

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)

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. Hunt, J., Derwin, J., Coveney, J. and Newton, 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. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International (BirdLife Conservation Series No. 8). Lloyd, C. (1982). Inventory of Seabird Breeding Colonies in Republic of Ireland. Unpublished report, Forest and Wildlife Service, Dublin. Madden, B., Hunt, J. and Norriss, D. (2003). National Peregrine Survey 2002. Unpublished report to National Parks and Wildlife, Dchas The Heritage Service McGrath, D. and Walsh, P. (1990). Where to Watch Birds in Waterford. Irish Wildbird Conservancy, Waterford. McGrath, D. and Walsh, P. (1996). The breeding population of Kittiwakes on the south coast of Ireland, 1985-95. Irish Birds 5: 375-380. Mitchell, P.I., Newton, S., Ratcliffe, N. and Dunn, T. (in prep.). The Status of Breeding Seabirds in Britain and Ireland. Walsh, P. and McGrath, D. (1988). Waterford Bird Report 1976-1986. Irish Wildbird Conservancy, Waterford. Young R. (1972). A Preliminary Report on Areas of Scientific Interest in County Waterford. An Foras Forbartha, Dublin.


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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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