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

Slyne Head Peninsula 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:2002-01
Date site confirmed as SCI: No data
Date site designated as SAC: No data
National legal reference of SAC designation: No data


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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
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
1150  info      22.2953  0.00 
1160  info      1539.71  0.00 
1170  info      570.678  0.00 
1210  info      0.7818  0.00 
1220  info      0.3789  0.00 
1330  info      4.0649  0.00 
1410  info      6.5272  0.00 
2110  info      2.5083  0.00 
2120  info      0.1524  0.00 
21A0  info  X     276.276  0.00 
3110  info      93.5209  0.00 
3130  info      83.0925  0.00 
3140  info      18.17  0.00 
4030  info      402.82  0.00 
5130  info      402.82  0.00 
6210  info  X     80.56  0.00 
6410  info      40.28  0.00 
6510  info      40.28  0.00 
7230  info      40.28  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.
P1833Najas flexilis          DD 
P1395Petalophyllum ralfsii    73920  73920  area   
BA346Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax     
BA193Sterna hirundo     
BA191Sterna sandvicensis    31  31   
M1349Tursiops truncatus    28  28 
  • 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
Ajuga pyramidalis                   
Alcyonium glomeratum                   
Laevicardium crassum                   
Ophiopsila annulosa                   
Orchis morio                   
Peachia cylindrica                   
Phakellia ventilabrum                   
Tapes aureus                   
Viola lactea                   
  • 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 site comprises the entire Slyne Head peninsula west of Ballyconnelly in Connemara and includes much of Mannin Bay. The underlying rock is mainly gneiss, with a narrow band of granite along the western part. There is a strong oceanic influence over the entire site and wind blown sand is a feature. The landscape is generally low-lying, dominated by rocky heath and grassland, some semi-improved, with numerous lakes ranging from deep oligotrophic types to shallow brackish systems. The coastal fringe is varied, with saltmarshes, dunes and expanses of machair. Intertidal sand-flats and hard rock shores also occur. Mannin Bay is a relatively small, shallow bay. Its north-westerly aspect and islets and rocks at the mouth afford a little shelter from Atlantic swells. Conditions become more sheltered towards the head of the bay and are extremely sheltered in Mannin Creek. Tidal streams are weak. The sublittoral sediments are dominated by maerl and sea grass.

4.2 Quality and importance

The site has an excellent diversity of both terrestrial and marine habitats as well as rare plant and animal species. Machair in particular is well developed and extensive. Machair grades into other coastal habitats as well as species rich heath communities, including dry heath and juniper scrub, and calcareous grasslands. A notable feature of the site is the presence of at least one good example of alkaline fen within the machair plain. Molinia meadows are scattered through the site, while there are several good examples of lowland hay meadows. A notable variation in lake types is a feature of the site including hard water lakes with Chara formations. Mannin Bay has very good examples of a range of sediment communities that contain rare species. The littoral sediments, composed of dead maerl, are unusual in Ireland and are geologically and biologically interesting. Rare invertebrate species include Glycera gigantea, Marphysa bellii, Gari depressa, Laevicardium crassum, Tapes aureus. The high species richness of the bivalve communities in Mannin Creek is also of importance. Sublittorally, there are a very high number of sediment communities within the bay. The dense maerl beds with dense seagrass are particularly noteworthy. The association of these two important species is known from only three sites in Ireland. The occurrence of Najas flexilis and Petalophyllum ralfsii adds to the interest of the site. The Petalophyllum population is by far the largest known population in Ireland and also in the world. The presence of Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax, Sterna sandvicensis and S. hirundo add to the importance of the site. The site provides habitat for the Annex II cetacean species Tursiops truncatus and this includes use by groups of dolphins during the breeding season, for foraging and for social behaviour. Bottlenose Dolphins may be potentially vulnerable to intensification of regional fishing activity via the removal of key biological resources and entanglement in fishing gear. Recreational boat use or marine tourism activity by the human population may cause disturbance to natural behaviours and impact negatively on the species in marine waters within the site.

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

Bassett, A. (1993). Report on the Conservation of Irish Coastal Sites - Machair in Ireland. Unpublished report to Department of Fisheries and Forestry, Dublin. Bassett, A. and Curtis, T.G.F. (1985). The nature and occurrence of sand-dune machair in Ireland. Proceedings of Royal Irish Academy 85(B):1-20. Berrow, S.D., Whooley, P. & Ferriss, S. (2002). Irish Whale and Dolphin Group cetacean sighting review (1991-2001). Irish Whale and Dolphin Group. 34pp. Berrow, S.D., Whooley, P., O’Connell, M. & Wall, D. (2010). Irish cetacean review (2000-2009). Irish Whale and Dolphin Group. 60pp. Costelloe, J., & Keegan, B.F. (1984). Littoral and benthic investigations on the west coast of Ireland - XIX. Synonomy, diagnostic morphology, distribution and life-style of Aslia lefevrei (Barrois 1882) (Holothurioidea: Echinodermata). Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 84B: 29-35. Curtis, T.G.F. (1991). An Inventory of Sand Dunes in Ireland. In: Quigley M.B. (Ed.) A Guide to the Sand Dunes of Ireland. European Union for dune conservation and management. Dunne, J. (1976). Littoral and benthic investigations on the west coast of Ireland - V. (Section A: Faunistic and ecological studies.) A contribution to the biology of the leopard-spotted goby, Thorogobius ephippiatus (Lowe) (Pisces: Teleostei: Gobiidae). Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 76B: 121-132. Healy, G. (1994). Lagoons and Other Enclosed Brackish Waters in the Republic of Ireland. Unpublished report to the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Dublin. Healy, B., Oliver, G., Hatch, P. and Good, J. (1997). Coastal Lagoons in the Republic of Ireland. Volume II. Inventory of Lagoons and Saline Lakes. Unpublished report to the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Dublin. Healy, B. (1998). Survey of Irish Coastal Lagoons 1996 and 1998. Volume I, Part 2. Lagoons Surveyed in 1998. Unpublished report to Dúchas the Heritage Service, Dublin. Heuff, H. (1984). The vegetation of Irish lakes. Unpublished report to the Forest and Wildlife Service, Dublin. Ingram, S.N., Englund, A. & Rogan, E. (2003). Habitat use, abundance and site-fidelity of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in Connemara coastal waters, Co. Galway. Heritage Council Wildlife Grant Final Report #12314. 27pp. Ingram, S., Kavanagh, A., Englund, A. & Rogan, E. (2009). Site assessment of the waters of northwest Connemara. A survey of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Report for the National Parks & Wildlife Service of Ireland. University College Cork, Cork. 33pp. I.W.D.G. (1990-2011). Various published and online Irish Whale and Dolphin Group sources. These included all Survey Reports delivered via the PReCast & ShOPS ship survey programmes, in addition to information gathered in the ISCOPE (2003-2005) and ISCOPE II (2006-2009) projects. Keegan, B.F., O'Connor, B.D.S., & Konnecker, G.F. (1985). Littoral and benthic investigations on the west coast of Ireland - XX. Echinoderm aggregations. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 85B: 91-99. Mirimin, L., Miller, R., Dillane, E., Berrow, S., Ingram, S., Cross, T. & Rogan, E. (2011). Fine-scale population genetic structuring of bottlenose dolphins in Irish coastal waters. Anim. Cons. p1-12. Picton, B.E. and Costello, M.J. (Eds) (1997). BioMar Biotope Viewer: a guide to marine habitats, fauna and flora of Britain and Ireland (Ver. 2.0). Environmental Sciences Unit, Trinity College, Dublin. (Compact Disc). Praeger, R.L. (1934). The Botanist in Ireland. Hodges Figgis, Dublin. Roden, C.M. (1999). A Survey of Coastal Lakes in Counties Galway, Mayo, Sligo and Donegal. Report produced for the Heritage Council. Unpublished. Sides, E.M., Picton, B.E., Emblow, C.S., Morrow, C.C., Foster-Smith, R., Davies, J. and M.J. Costello. (1996). Kilkieran Bay and its environs revisited. Field survey report, Environmental Sciences Unit, Trinity College, Dublin. Van Groenendael, J.H., Hochstenbach, S.M.H., Van Mansfeld, M.J.H., Roozen, A.J.M. (1979). The Influence of the Sea and of Parent Material on Wetlands and Blanket Bog in West Connemara, Ireland. Catholic University, Nijmegen. Van Groenendael, J.H., Hochstenback, S.M.H., Van Mansfeld, M.J.H., Roozen, A.J.H. and Westhoff, V. (1982). The influence of the sea on the vegetation of lakes in southwest Connemara. In: White, J. (Ed.) Studies on Irish vegetation. Royal Dublin Society, Dublin.


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6.2 Management Plan(s):

An actual management plan does exist:

No, but in preparation



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Map delivered as PDF in electronic format (optional)