Outdoor Ireland

National Nature Reserves

You can find a reserve by its number on our overview map. . .

44 - The Raven Nature Reserve, Co. Wexford

At the north side of the entrance to Wexford Harbour, at Ireland's southeastern corner, a long (6 km) sand dune system protects the seaward flank of the North Slob, part of which is now a wildfowl reserve famous for its winter flocks of geese. But the dunes and sandbanks are important and interesting in themselves and are under protection as the Raven Nature Reserve.

The dune vegetation includes a number of rare plants, such as lesser centaury, wild asparagus, round-leaved wintergreen and yellow birdnest. Several species of tern, notably the little tern, breed on the beach at the south end of the dunes. The sandbanks provide safe high-tide roosting for waders and, in winter, secure night roosting for the large flocks of geese (mainly Greenland white-fronts) which feed by day on the Wexford Slobs.

45 - Glen of the Downs, Co. Wicklow

This old native woodland containing sessile oak, 7 km south of Bray on the main Wexford road, is a very good example of the type of oakland characteristic of the acid soils in Co. Wicklow.

46 - Dromore, Co. Clare

This is a semi-natural woodland and has four major wetlands including lake, marsh and callow. It is a haunt of Ireland's rarest and shyest wild mammal, the pine marten. The reserve is 10 km north of Ehnis.

47 - Ballinastaig Woodland, Coole/Garryland, Co. Galway

Created largely from land formerly owned by Lady Gregory at Coole, this reserve contains a fascinating variety of floral habitats. They include high forest on deep soil, dwarf woodland on limestone pavement, a complex of turlough wetlands and Coole Lake, on which Yeats counted"nine and fifty swans". Entrance 2 km north-west of Gort. A new visitor center has been developed in the restored outbuildings and visitor facilities include interpretative displays, an audio visual show and nature trails. Literature is also available on site.

48 - The Gearagh, Macroom, Co. Cork

The Gearagh National Nature Reserve is situated on the River Lee near Macroom, Co. Cork. It is a unique and ancient forest system on a broad, braided channel where the river leaves the hills and widens out into an alluvial plain, formed at the end of the last Ice Age. The groupings of plants growing together here are uncommon and there are some rare species such as Dutch Rush. There are also large concentration of wildfowl.


Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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