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

Castlemaine Harbour SPA

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 classified as SPA:1994-11
National legal reference of SPA designation No information provided


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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

No information provided

2.6 Biogeographical Region(s)

Atlantic (0.00 %)


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3.1 Habitat types present on the site and assessment for them

No habitat types are reported for the site

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    94  94   
BA052Anas crecca    165  165   
BA050Anas penelope    4998  4998   
BA053Anas platyrhynchos    315  315   
BA169Arenaria interpres    127  127   
BA062Aythya marila    29  29   
BA046Branta bernicla    462  462   
BA149Calidris alpina    547  547   
BA143Calidris canutus    138  138   
BA137Charadrius hiaticula    95  95   
BA003Gavia immer    25  25   
BA001Gavia stellata    63  63   
BA130Haematopus ostralegus    652  652   
BA182Larus canus    40  40   
BA183Larus fuscus    32  32   
BA179Larus ridibundus    416  416   
BA157Limosa lapponica    230  230   
BA156Limosa limosa    39  39   
BA065Melanitta nigra    67  67   
BA069Mergus serrator    14  14   
BA160Numenius arquata    256  256   
BA017Phalacrocorax carbo    66  66   
BA140Pluvialis apricaria    580  580   
BA141Pluvialis squatarola    47  47   
BA346Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax    20  20   
BA048Tadorna tadorna    53  53   
BA164Tringa nebularia    37  37   
BA162Tringa totanus    163  163   
BA142Vanellus vanellus    670  670   
  • 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    12  12             
Bufo calamita                     
Bufo calamita                     
Crambe maritima                     
Cygnus olor    28  28             
Lathyrus japonicus                     
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 is a large coastal site occupying the innermost part of Dingle Bay. It extends from the lower tidal reaches of the Rivers Maine and Laune to west of the Inch and Rossbehy peninsulas (c. 16 km from east to west). The average width of the estuary is 4-5 km though it is c. 11 km at the outer limit. The site comprises the estuaries of the Rivers Maine and Laune, both substantial rivers, and has extensive areas of intertidal sand and mud flats. Conditions are very sheltered due to the presence of three protruding sand spits (Rossbehy, Inch and Cromane), which overlie gravel bars, in the outer part of the Harbour. The intertidal flats are mostly muds or muddy sands and have high densities of polychaete worms, along with bivalves such as Macoma balthica and molluscs such as Hydrobia ulvae. Zostera is common in places. Salt marshes fringe much of the shoreline. A very large dune system occurs on the Inch peninsula. A substantial area of shallow marine water is included in the site.

4.2 Quality and importance

Castlemaine Harbour SPA is one of the most important sites for wintering waterfowl in the south-west. The complex is of international importance as it regularly supports in excess of 20,000 waterfowl, as well as an internationally important population of Branta bernicla hrota. It supports nationally important populations of at least a further seven species: Gavia stellata, Anas acuta, Anas penelope, Charadrius hiaticula, Calidris alba, Limosa lapponica and Tringa nebularia. The population of Anas penelope is over 5% of the national total. The shallow marine waters support divers, and sea duck, including Melanitta nigra. The site provides both feeding and a range of roosting areas for the birds. Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax utilise the dunes at Inch for feeding. It supports a population of Petalophyllum ralfsii, a species listed on Annex II of the Habitats Directive. Lutra lutra is also found within the site. The site has several Red Data Book plant species, as well as Bufo calamita and Rana temporaria.

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)

Colhoun, K. (2001). I-WeBS Report 1998-99. BirdWatch Ireland, Dublin. 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 Environment, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 98B: 87-104. Falvey, J.P., Costello, M.J. and Dempsey, S. (1997). Survey of Intertidal Biotopes in Estuaries in Ireland. Unpublished report to the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Dublin.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). Irish Wetland Birds Survey (I-WeBS) Database, 1994/95-2000/01. BirdWatch Ireland, Dublin. McGarrigle, M.L., Bowman, J.J., Clabby, K.J., Lucey, J., Cunningham, P., MacCarthaigh, M., Keegan, M., Cantrell, B., Lehane, M., Clenaghan, C. and Toner P.F. (2002). Water Quality in Ireland 1998-2000. Environmental Protection Agency, Wexford. 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. Sheppard, R. (1993). Ireland's Wetland Wealth. IWC, Dublin.


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5.1 Designation types at national and regional level (optional):

Code Cover [%]

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

Designated at national or regional level:

Type code Site name Type Cover [%]
Castelmaine Harbour+31.00
IE05Inch/Castlemaine Harbour Wildfowl Sanctuary+12.00
IE05Rossbehy/Caragh Creek Wildfowl Sanctuary+10.00
IE01Castlemaine Harbour Nature Reserve+31.00

Designated at international level:

Type Site name Type Cover [%]
Other Castelmaine Harbour+31.00

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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