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

Kingstown Bay 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:2001-08
Date site confirmed as SCI: No information provided
Date site designated as SAC:2016-10
National legal reference of SAC designation:525/2016


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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
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
1160  info      74.9551  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.
  • 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
Aglaothamnion gallicum                     
Antithamnion cruciatum                     
Antithamnionella ternifolia                     
Boergeseniella fruticulosa                     
Chondria capillaris                     
Derbesia marina                     
Gelidiella calcicola                     
Lithophyllum dentatum                     
Lithophyllum fasciculatum                     
Lithothamnion corallioides                     
Spermothamnion strictum                     
  • 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

Kingstown Bay is a small, narrow, bay situated about 7 km north-west of Clifden on the west coast of Ireland. It is an unusually shallow (approximately 1 m) bay that is about 3 km long, and 500m wide at the mouth. Its north-westerly aspect and the offshore islands of Omey, Inishturk and Turbot at the mouth afford shelter from Atlantic swells. Conditions become even more sheltered towards the head of the bay where the sediment is muddy. Currents can be moderately strong as the bay fills and empties with the rising and falling tide. The sublittoral sediments are dominated by mixed maerl-forming species and dense sea grass. Bedrock is metamorphic schist and gneiss. Hog Island, a small grassy island, is included in the site.

4.2 Quality and importance

The sublittoral sediment communities of Kingstown Bay are of extremely high conservation importance. They are composed of three maerl-forming coralline algal species: Lithothamnion corallioides, Lithophyllum dentatum and Lithophyllum fasciculatum. Lithothamnion corallioides is listed under Annex V of the EU Habitats Directive. Lithophyllum fasciculatum and Lithophyllum dentatum are not listed, perhaps because they are less common than Lithothamnion corallioides and therefore make a smaller contribution to maerl habitats. Whereas Lithophyllum fasciculatum is present in Ireland, the UK and Brittany, the status and distributional limits of Lithophyllum dentatum are uncertain. Lithophyllum dentatum at Kingstown Bay is fertile and currently under study. There are only three known sites in Ireland where these three species occur together (the other two being at Kilkieran slip and Kinvarra Bay, both also in Co. Galway. Of these three sites, Kingstown Bay is by far the best example, in terms of plant density and plant size. There are extensive seagrass beds in the bay that sometimes coincide with the maerl. The association of these two habitats appears to be unusual. Several epiphytic algae occur in the area that were not recorded by the BioMar survey. Of particular interest is Gelidiella calcicola, thought to be endemic to maerl, and the common coralline alga, Corallina officinalis, which grows in unattached balls at Kingstown Bay. The beaches, or 'Coral Strands', at Kingstown Bay are composed of dead maerl debris and are biologically and geologically very interesting. They have not been surveyed. The oyster, Ostrea edulis, is known to occur in Kingstown Bay. Sheltered rocky shores dominated by Ascophyllum nodosum add habitat diversity to the area. The structure and quality of the habitats is excellent.

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)

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).


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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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