Carlingford Lough SPA

Status: Designated


Site overview

Carlingford Lough lies on the east coast of Northern Ireland and straddles the international border with the Irish Republic. It is a narrow sea lough surrounded by mountains. The mud-flats and saltmarsh found here provide important feeding areas for the wintering light-bellied brent geese of the Canada/Ireland population. At the mouth of the lough are several small rock and shingle islands which are of importance to breeding terns, which feed in the shallow waters of the lough. 

MPA Type

Special Protection Area

Special Protection Areas (SPAs) are strictly protected sites designated uner European legislation. They are established to protect rare and vulnerable birds and for regularly occurring migratory species.

Designation date

1 March 1998

Surface Area

8.30 km2 (3.21 mi.2)


80.33 km (49.92 mi.)

  • Common tern (Sterna hirundo)

    A silvery-grey and white bird sometimes called a ‘sea swallow’ because of it’s long tail.

  • Sandwich tern (Sterna sandvicensis)

    One of Scotland’s four regularly breeding tern species.

  • Light-bellied brent goose (Branta bernicla hrota)

    A small dark goose with small wintering populations in the UK. it is vulnerable as the entire population depends on less than ten wintering sites.

  • Tidal rivers, Estuaries, Mud flats, Sand flats, Lagoons (including saltwork basins)
  • Salt marshes, Salt pastures, Salt steppes

Did you know?…

Over 500,000 records of undersea species and habitats have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers

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