Site details

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5 stars - Fully protected as a national park or Natura 2000 site by national legislation
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Mulroy Bay is sheltered with areas of strong tidal streams and is suitable for salmon farming. Photo: Chris Emblow

Synoptic description of site:

Wave sheltered complex marine inlet

Extensive description of site:

Mulroy Bay is a highly convoluted and sheltered inlet in Co. Donegal in the north-west of Ireland. It is divided into three distinct areas by the presence of three significant narrows, thereby protecting the inner reaches from storm surge. The currents in the area can reach 3-5 knots on spring tides and the tidal regime in Mulroy Bay is affected by the narrows, which delays the times of high and low water and reduces the tidal amplitude.

Habitats present:
Seagrass bedsX

Description of fauna and flora:

The fauna and flora are well documented from surveys carried out during the BIOMAR project and current mapping surveys to develop management plans for the marine SAC. Particular habitats and species in Mulroy Bay have been the subject of past and present studies associated with aquaculture developments and fisheries interests in the bay. The range of habitats provide for a rich and varied fauna and flora

Human impact:

The area is subjected to moderate pressures from salmon aquaculture within the bay and in the past by the scallop Pecten maximus fishery. The area is not heavily populated and pollution from land sources can be considered to be minimal.


Facilities for biodiversity research are not available on site however the area is within easy access to several universities in Ireland (less than 4 hours drive).

Available database and website:

The results of the BIOMAR survey are available on CD;


Commitment and ongoing research:

There is ongoing marine biodiversity research in Mulroy Bay linked with the development of management plans for the SAC and aquaculture development. There is a requirement by the National Parks and Wildlife Service to undertake some biodiversity monitoring as part of the SAC designation.

Additional Information:

Picton, B. E. & Costello, M. J., Eds. 1999. BioMar biotope viewer: a guide to marine habitats, fauna and flora of Britain and Ireland. Trinity College, Dublin, Environmental Sciences Unit. Marine Institute 1999. Ireland's Marine and Coastal Areas and adjacent Seas: An Environmental Assessment. Dublin.