Magheragallan & Lunniagh

Magheragallon (Machair an Gathlain) and Lunniagh (Gweedore Bay and Islands SAC and overlaps with West Donegal Islands SPA)

Gweedore Bay and Islands is a large and ecologically diverse site situated on the north-west coast of Co. Donegal. The extensive coastline is very indented, with several large, intertidal inlets.

The area covered by the project is focused on Derrybeg / Magheragallan and Lunniagh. This area is highly ecologically diverse comprising an excellent diversity of dunes, with the fixed dunes of particular note for their extent/area. The main land uses within the site are agriculture (mostly grazing) and recreational activities (local amenity and sport).

The combined total breeding wader population for these two areas was 24 pairs in 1985; this population declined to 14 pairs in 2009, and subsequently recovered to a peak of 32 pairs in 2019.  In 2019, Derrybeg and Lunniagh supported a combined total of 19 Lapwing pairs. These 19 Lapwing pairs represent 4% of the national breeding population, highlighting the national importance of these areas. The majority of breeding Lapwing is centralised in an area that was fenced by BirdWatch Ireland in 2019 within the Derrybeg (Magheragallan) part of the site of the site.  

Improving sustainable farming practices at Gweedore will help to secure resources for the pollinators that already occur there and will also improve the network of sites available to pollinators dependent on semi-natural grasslands in Co. Donegal. Pollinator species recorded from this site and their status on Ireland’s Red List of species include:

Near Threatened: Grayling (Hipparchia semele), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus), Large Red Tailed Bumble Bee (Bombus lapidarius), Moss Carder-bee (Bombus muscorum)**

Vulnerable: Field Cuckoo Bee (Bombus campestris), Red-tailed Carder Bee (Bombus ruderarius), Marsh Fritillary (Euphydryas aurinia), Dark Green Fritillary (Argynnis aglaja)

Endangered: Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera)

** listed as vulnerable at a European level.