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

Inishmore 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:2019-04
National legal reference of SPA designation178/2019


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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    231  231   
BA103Falco peregrinus     
BA009Fulmarus glacialis    320  320   
BA184Larus argentatus    27  27   
BA018Phalacrocorax aristotelis    14  14   
BA346Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax     
BA188Rissa tridactyla    587  587   
BA195Sterna albifrons    13   
BA194Sterna paradisaea    338  338   
BA199Uria aalge    2312  2312   
  • 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    171  171             
Larus marinus    43  43             
  • 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

Situated approximately 8 km off the south coast of County Galway, Inishmore (rainn) is the largest of the three Aran Islands. Geologically an extension of the Burren, County Clare, the island is formed of Upper Carboniferous limestone strata, interleaved with layers of shale and clay. The site comprises all of the cliffs and rocky shore along the entire southern side of the island, part of the low cliffs/rocky shore at the west end, and the low cliffs/rocky shore at the east end - a distance of over 17 km of coastline. Also included are the two islands west of Inishmore (Brannock Island and Rock Island), Straw Island at the east end of Inishmore, the dune system at Barr na Coise, and the adjacent seas. The cliffs vary in height, being often less than 20 m but rising to over 80 m near Dn Aonghasa where they are notably sheer. Littoral and sublittoral reef communities are well-developed within the site

4.2 Quality and importance

Inishmore Island is an important site for cliff nesting seabirds, with nationally important populations of Rissa tridactyla and Uria aalge. It is also of importance for breeding terns, with nationally important populations of Sterna paradisaea and Sterna albifrons. The terns, however, do not breed on the island every year but alternate with sites on nearby Inishmann. Other breeding seabirds include Fulmarus glacialis, Phalacrocorax aristotelis, Larus marinus and Larus argentatus. Hydrobates pelagicus has been suspected of breeding in the past but there have been no recent surveys. Inishmore is an important stronghold for Falco peregrinus, Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax also breeds.

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)

Armstrong, E.A. (1957). Birds of the Aran Islands. Irish Naturalists Journal XII: 207-208. Barrett, J.H. (1958). Birds seen on Inishmore, Aran Islands, 6th-9th November 1957. Irish Naturalists' Journal XII: 314-316. Berrow, S.D., Mackie, K.I., O'Sullivan, O., Shephard, K.B., Mellon, C. and Coveney, J.A. (1992). The Second International Chough Survey Ireland. Irish Birds 5: 1-10. Cramp, S., Bourne, W.R. P. and Saunders, D. (1974). The Seabirds of Britain and Ireland. Collins, London. 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. Hannon, C. (1997). The 1995 All-Ireland Tern Survey. BirdWatch Ireland Conservation Report No. 97/1. Hannon, C., Berrow, S.D. and Newton S.F. (1997). The status and distribution of breeding Sandwich Sterna sandvicensis, Roseate S. dougallii, Common S. hirundo, Arctic S. paradisaea and Little Terns S. albifrons in Ireland in 1995. Irish Birds 6: 1-22. Hardey, J., Crick, H., Wernham, C., Riley, H., Etheridge, B. and Thompson, D. (2009). Raptors, A Field Guide for Surveys and Monitoring. Scottish National Heritage. Hunt, J., Derwin, J., Coveney, J. and Newton, S.F. (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., Tasker, M.L. and Partridge, K. (1991). The Status of Seabirds in Britain and Ireland. Poyser, London. Lysaght, L. (2002). An atlas of Breeding Birds of the Burren and the Aran Islands. BirdWatch Ireland, Dublin. Madden, B. (in prep.). Breeding Survey of Peregrine Falcons in the Republic of Ireland, 2002. Unpublished report to NPWS, Dublin. Mitchell, P.I., Newton, S., Ratcliffe, N. and Dunn, T. E. (2004). Seabird Populations of Britain and Ireland. Poyser, London. Ruttledge, R.F. (1994). Birds in Counties Galway and Mayo. Irish Wildbird Conservancy, Dublin. Ussher, R.J. and Warren, R. (1900). The Birds of Ireland. Guerney & Jackson, London. Whilde, A. (1985). The All Ireland Tern Survey 1984. Unpublished report for the Irish Wildbird Conservancy, Dublin. Whilde, A. (1990). Birds of Galway. A Review of Recent Records and Field Studies. Irish Wildbird Conservancy, Galway.


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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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