Murvey Machair

Murvey and Dolan (Murvey Machair SAC)

This small Machair/wetland site is located in the south-west of Co. Galway. In addition to the Machair interest, the site contains areas of freshwater marsh, freshwater lake, grassland and heath. The site can be divided into two contrasting halves, an exposed coastal half dominated by wind-blown sand and a more sheltered half, dominated by lakes and wetlands. The sheltered nature of the wetland areas and their close proximity to the coast is partially responsible for the extensive development of freshwater marsh vegetation along the margins of Loughs Namanawaun and Murvey.

The Machair was more extensive in the past but has been severely eroded, retreating landward with sands blowing upslope and only patches of typical Machair surviving. At the time of survey in 2007, it was considered likely that *21A0 Machairs could be entirely lost from site if measures to mitigate erosion were not implemented.

In 2009, Murvey was assessed as intermediate to low importance for breeding waders, as it only supported a total breeding wader population of seven pairs; two pairs of Lapwing and five pairs of Ringed Plover. This population declined to just two pairs of Ringed Plover by 2019, and the site declined to low importance. However, there is potential for the growth and maintenance of wader populations at Murvey.

Records of pollinators from Murvey Machair are not extensive, and this is likely due to the poor condition of the grassland and lack of floral resource. Nevertheless, two species listed as Near Threatened on the Irish red data list for bees, Large Red Tailed Bumble Bee (Bombus lapidarius) and Moss Carder-bee (Bombus muscorum), (the latter is listed as Vulnerable at a European level), have been observed in or directly adjacent to the site. However, the resources that Murvey Machair can offer to pollinators in terms of larval foods and flowers are now very limited and declining.

Murvey Machair Erosion Damage