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

Clare Island 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:2006-11
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

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

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.
BA200Alca torda    354  354   
BA103Falco peregrinus     
BA204Fratercula arctica    48  48   
BA184Larus argentatus    23  23   
BA182Larus canus    39  39   
BA183Larus fuscus    4029  4029   
BA183Larus fuscus    14  14   
BA018Phalacrocorax aristotelis    89  89   
BA017Phalacrocorax carbo    32  32   
BA346Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax    16  16   
BA188Rissa tridactyla    1785  1785   
BA016Sula bassana     
BA199Uria aalge    1528  1528   
  • 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    62  62             
Larus marinus    24  24             
  • 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

Clare Island is a large island situated approximately 5 km from the mainland. The geology of the island is diverse, consisting of Dalradian sandstones and shales, Carboniferous sandstones, shales and conglomerates, and a variety of Silurian rocks. The site comprises all of the cliffs on the island, a length of approximately 10 km, as well as the land adjacent to the cliff edge (inland to 300-350 m) and the adjacent marine waters (to distances of 200 m or 500 m, depending on auk distribution). The cliffs on the northern coast consist of vertical precipices alternating with steep grassy slopes and huge blocks of rock. The vertical cliffs are up to 100m in places. The less sheer cliffs are well vegetated with a maritime sward. A maritime heath above the high cliffs is included within the site in places. The cliffs in the south-west and eastern sectors of the site are low-lying.

4.2 Quality and importance

Clare Island is one of the most important seabird colonies in the country, being notable for both the size of the populations and for the diversity of species (13 regular breeders). It is of particular importance for Fulmarus glacialis (10% of the all-Ireland total and the largest population in the country) and Rissa tridactyla. It also has nationally important populations of Phalacrocorax aristotelis, Larus canus, Larus marinus, Uria aalge and Alca torda. Nationally important numbers of Cepphus grylle (a non-migratory species) also occur at the site. Whilst the Morus bassanus (Sula bassana) colony has not grown to any extent since its establishment in the 1970s, this is still of significance as it is one of the only 5 in Ireland and the only colony on the west coast. Other breeding species include Fratercula artica, Phalacrocorax carbo (recently established) and Larus fuscus. Larus argentatus formerly bred in large numbers but the population has declined markedly, in line with a national decrease. Hydrobates pelagicus has been suspected of breeding in the past but there have been no recent surveys. Clare Island is an important stronghold for Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax, with a nationally important population. Falco peregrinus also breeds. There is a long history of recording, dating back to the 1909-11 Clare Island Survey.

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)

Barlee, J. and Ruttledge, R.F. (1945). Notes on the present status of birds on Clare Island. Irish Naturalists' Journal 8: 311-313. 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. Cussen, R.E., Kelly, T., Hartnett, M. and Walsh, P.M. (1999). Counts of Breeding Seabirds, Clare Island, Co. Mayo, 1999. Report to the Royal Irish Academy for the New Survey of Clare Ireland. Cramp, S., Bourne, W.R.P. and Saunders, D. (1974). The Seabirds of Britain and Ireland. Collins, London. Doyle, G.J. and Foss, P.F. (1986). A resurvey of the Clare Island flora. Irish Naturalists' Journal 22: 85-89. Environment and Heritage Service (2000). Biodiversity in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland Species Action Plan: Chough. Environment and Heritage Service, Belfast. Fisher, J. (1966). The Fulmar population of Britain and Ireland 1959. Bird Study 13: 5-76. Gray, N., Thomas, G., Trewby, M. and Newton, S.F. (2003). The status and distribution of Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax in the Republic of Ireland 2002/03. Irish Birds 7: 147-156. 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. Lloyd, C.S. (1984). The birds of Clare Island, Co. Mayo in June 1982. Irish Naturalists' Journal 21: 212-216. Lloyd, C., Tasker, M.L. and Partridge, K. (1991). The Status of Seabirds in Britain and Ireland. Poyser, London. 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. Mitchell, P.I., Newton, S.F., Ratcliffe, N. and Dunn, T.E. (2004). Seabird Populations of Britain and Ireland. Poyser, London. Nelson, B. (1978). The Gannet. Poyser, Berkhamsted. Trewby, M., Gray, N., Cummins, S., Thomas, G. and Newton S. (2006). The status and ecology of the Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax in the Republic of Ireland 2002-2005. Final Report of Birdwatch Ireland Chough Survey Team - Unpublished. Ussher, R.J. (1912). A biological survey of Clare Island in the county of Mayo, Ireland and the adjoining district. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 31: Section 11, Part 20.


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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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