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Location Ireland, South West
Central coordinates 10o 35.00' West  52o 5.00' North
IBA criteria A4ii, A4iii, B1ii, B2, B3, C2, C3, C4, C6
Area 3,238 ha
Altitude 0 - 183m
Year of IBA assessment 2000

BirdWatch Ireland

Site description This is the largest group of islands on the south-west coast, lying a few kilometres off the Dingle peninsula in County Kerry. The group includes Great Blasket Island, with steep cliffs on its northern side, and the five smaller, exposed rocky islands of Inistooskert, Inisvickillaun, Inisnabro, Tearaght and Beginish. Great Blasket Island was once inhabited and now has a visitor centre at its northern end. A small herd of feral red deer Cervus elaphus are present on Inishvickillaun. The islands are visited by tourists.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus breeding  1988  2,000-5,000 breeding pairs  medium  A4ii, B1ii, B2, C3  Least Concern 
European Storm-petrel Hydrobates pelagicus breeding  1988  40,000-100,000 breeding pairs  medium  A4ii, B1ii, B2, C2, C6  Least Concern 
European Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis breeding  1988  350 breeding pairs  good  B3  Least Concern 
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus breeding  1988  375-425 breeding pairs  good  B3  Least Concern 
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus breeding  1988  425 breeding pairs  good  B3  Least Concern 
Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle breeding  1988  22 breeding pairs  good  B2  Least Concern 
Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica breeding  1988  4,472-5,321 breeding pairs  good  B2  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - seabirds breeding  1988  50,000-99,999 breeding pairs  unknown  A4iii, C4   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Blasket Islands - IE0002172 Habitats Directive 22,712 protected area contains site 3,238  
Blasket Islands SPA - IE0004008 Birds Directive 3,622 protected area overlaps with site 1,022  
Tearaght Island Nature Reserve 46 protected area contained by site 27  
Terraght Island (Marine) Nature Reserve 19 protected area contained by site 19  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland Dry siliceous grassland  50%
Coastline Rock stacks and islets; Sea cliffs and rocky shores  50%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
tourism/recreation 20%
not utilised 80%

Protection status National Low International Partial27 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (Tearaght Island, 27 ha). 19 ha of IBA covered by [Marine] Nature Reserve (Terraght Island, 19 ha). 287 ha of IBA covered by Special Protection Area (Blasket Islands, 287 ha).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Blasket Islands. Downloaded from on 01/10/2014

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife