Sheskinmore Nature Reserve

Sheskinmore refers to a large area of sand dunes, lake and marsh that lies between Kiltooris and Ballinreavy Strand, north west of Ardara, Co. Donegal. It is regarded as one of the most important Nature Reserves in Ireland and has been designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), a Special Protection Area (SPA) and a Wildfowl Sanctuary. Sheskinmore is open to the public all year round, and offers families & nature enthusiasts many of the beautiful wonders of nature unique to Ireland. The area is easily accessed from the gate at Mullyvea opposite Kiltooris Lough.

Habitats

The area is mostly a fixed sand dune system, which includes machair grassland, dune slacks, Sheskinmore lough and the surrounding marsh, fen and reedbed. There is some oak and hazel scrub with heath on the drier northern slopes behind the lough and there is also coastal heath on the Carrickalagh headland. Sescenn Mór literally means “big marsh” and the marshy plain contains much of the areas’ interesting flora and fauna. South and west of the flat marshy plain there are sandy machair grasslands which evolve into high undulating sand dunes along Trawmore Strand and Ballinreavy Strand.

Birds

A visit at any time of year is always interesting for birdlife. During the winter a small flock of Greensland White Fronted Geese feed undisturbed here. Chough and Twite also feed here in Winter. Brent Goose, Whooper Swan, Wigeon, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye and Golden Plover are other winter visitors. Lapwing, Mallard, Teal, Snipe and Mute Swan are found all year round as are Linnet, Skylark, Meadow pipit, Stonechat and Reed Bunting. Summer visitors include the Grasshopper, Sedge and Willow Warblers and Wheatear, Swallow and Cuckoo. Birds of prey species use this vast open undisturbed site to hunt.

Sheskinmore Nature Reserve

Plants and Animals

The fixed dune and machair are managed to enhance their species richness. Orchid species include the Marsh Helleborine, Bee Orchid, Frog Orchid and the rare Irish Orchid. There is a succession of colour throughout the summer months in the dunes and on the marsh, from yellows and whites in spring through to the pinks and purples of the late summer. Rarieties recorded in the area include the aquatic slender naiad and pipewort, the tiny petalwort, also quillwort, hoary whitlow grass and many stonewort species.

Rabbits, badgers and foxes are the most common mammals recorded at Sheskinmore. Otter have been seen in the lough. Frog and newt breed in and around the dune slacks and the common lizard breeds on the drier slopes. The protected tiny marsh snail species Vertigo geyeri is found in the fen habitat west of the lough. The area is also noteworthy for the variety of butterflies and dragonflies that breed here. Marsh fritillary and dingy skipper both breed at Sheskinmore along with 18 other butterfly species. Sheskinmore lough and associated wetlands is the most species rich site in Donegal for dragonflies and damselflies. Fifteen species have been recorded, the most interesting being the Black-tailed Skimmer and the small Blue tip.

Sheskinmore Nature Reserve

Access & Safety

There are three signed access points. The main entrance is at the Mullyvea gate opposite Kiltooris Lough. There is access from the east side at both Murveagh and Sandfield of the R261. Walkers should be cautious of grazing animals between October and May and dogs should be kept on a lead and under control at all times. Some of the land within the site is still privately owned so be careful to close gates and not to damage walls or fences. Appropriate walking clothing and a map and compass are recommended. Any damaging activities should be reported to NPWS at Gleanveagh National Park 074 -9137090 or NPWS at Ballinafad, Co. Sligo, 071 9666700

Visit Donegal

Donegal Cottage Holidays

Donegal Cottage Holidays is part of the Visit Donegal Network

International Appalachian Trail, Donegal

International Appalachian Trail, Donegal In 2011 Ireland was included in the 'International Appalachian Trail', an extension of the world-renowned walking route on the Canada/US border. The original...

Kilclooney Dolmen Donegal

Kilclooney Dolmen Donegal - An exceptionally fine portal-tomb or dolmen, prominent on the skyline 1/4 mile to the east of the main road, 4 miles north-north-west of Ardara. It displays the classic...

Narin Blue Flag Beach

rin Blue Flag Beach is located close to the town of Glenties on the western coast of Donegal. This fine sandy beach is over two kilometres long.

Slí Cholmcille Donegal

Slí Cholmcille Donegal - Slí Cholmcille is one of the main sections of the 280km Slí Dhún na nGall that circles around the remote and rugged landscapes of south west Donegal. The coastline along the...

Nancy’s Bar, Ardara

Nancys Bar, Ardara is renowned for its bar food and for its music sessions. With a bit of luck you could end up in the middle of a traditional music session after your bar meal.

Country Markets in Donegal

Country Markets in Donegal are indoor that generally operate one day a week to market the shareholders’ fresh farm, garden and home produce and handcrafts

Fintown Railway

The Fintown Railway is the only operational railway in Co. Donegal.  Set amidst spectacular highland scenery overlooking Lough Finn, the railway (3 m/5km) is a restored section of the former County...

Glenties Self Catering

  Glenties Self Catering - The village of Glenties is a five times winner of Ireland's Tidy Towns competition. Located in the heart of the Donegal Mountains, at the meeting point of the two...

Drumnatinny Beach

Drumnatinny Beach is located along the shores of Ballyness Bay on the North West coast of Donegal approx 3km north of Falcarragh Town.

The Bluestack Way Donegal

The Bluestack Way Donegal - The Bluestack Way was formed in 1999 and is a 65km long walking route from Donegal Town to Ardara. The route crosses the Bluestack Mountains, with peaks of 600m but the...

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This