Castlemaine Harbour

Castlemaine Harbour
Castlemaine Harbour
Castlemaine Harbour
Castlemaine Harbour
Castlemaine Harbour

Castlemaine Harbour

  • Country: 
  • Site number: 
  • Area: 
    2,973 ha
  • Designation date: 
  • Coordinates: 
    52°07'N 09°51'W
Materials presented on this website, particularly maps and territorial information, are as-is and as-available based on available data and do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.


Castlemaine Harbour is an estuary of two rivers at the head of Dingle Bay, protected from the sea by extensive dunes. The complex of saltmarshes, mudflats and sandbanks provides habitats for various wintering waterbirds, including internationally important numbers of the pale-bellied brent goose Branta bernicla hrota that feed on the Site’s eelgrass beds. The sea lamprey, river lamprey and Atlantic salmon, all protected under the EU Habitats directive, rely on the Site as important spawning habitat; it also hosts European otter. Castlemaine Harbour is used extensively for oyster, mussel and clam aquaculture and holds the largest natural mussel bed in Ireland. It is also a popular recreational area. The biggest threats are erosion, eutrophication and invasive species. Human activities such as digging for bait on the mudflats, horseback riding and dog walking disturb feeding and roosting birds. In 1999 the boundary of the Site was extended to match the Special Protection Area designated in 1994.

Administrative region: 
South West (NUTS 3)

  • National legal designation: 
    • Nature Reserve - Castlemaine Harbour
    • Wildfowl Sanctuary - Inch and Rosbehy
  • Regional (international) legal designations: 
    • EU Natura 2000
  • Last publication date: