Rathlin Island

Site overview: As the name suggests, Rathlin Island is an island off the coast of County Antrim, and is the northernmost point of Northern Ireland. It is home to around 145 people. This area has several types of protection, a Special Protection Area and a Special Area of Conservation. There is also a proposed Marine Conservation Zone. All are types of Marine Protected Areas and are designed to protect different parts of this special place. This site aims to protect an area of sea around the island which is used by many of the seabirds which breed around the island’s coast. The area is home to internationally important numbers of the peregrine falcon, as well as a pair of red-billed chough. This site also supports over 20,000 breeding seabirds of national and international importance such as the migratory razorbill, the common guillemot and black-legged kittiwake. Those birds which are more common, and also live here, are the Atlantic puffin, northern fulmar, herring gull, lesser black-backed gull, and common gull.

Designation Status
Last Updated
6 June 2017
MPA Type
Special Protection Area
MPA Purpose
areas of the most important habitat for rare (listed on Annex I to the Directive) and migratory birds within the European Union


55° 17' 44" North,
6° 13' 10" West

Surface Area

33.42 km2
(12.91 mi.2 )

Iconic features protected by this site


  • Marine areas, Sea inlets


  • Razorbill (Alca torda) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Common guillemot (Uria aalge) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) (Annex I (species))