The Erris region has a number of Special Areas of Conservation and Special Areas of Protection, with countless important habitats, species, flora and fauna. You will find a variety of rare and interesting plants here, including the ivy-leaved bellflower, the marsh saxifrage, spaghnum mosses, black bog rush, purple-moor grass, bog cotton, deer-grass, cross-leaved heath, bell heather, white-beaked sedge, bog asphodel, bog myrtle, orchids, lousewort, milkwort, lichens, sundew, butterwort, water lobelia, pipewort, common spike-rush, and bulbous rush. Greenland White-fronted Geese, Golden Plover, Red Grouse and Otters are just some of the important fauna found in the region of Ballycroy National Park.
The elusive corncrake can be heard every summer in many parts of the Mullet Peninsula, even close to the town of Belmullet. The Inis Gé islands are home to many endangered species, seabirds and grey seals. These are just some of the examples of the amazing flora and fauna that can be seen in Erris. Erris is indeed the best place in Ireland to go wild!
The rocks here at Annagh Head are millions of years old – the oldest rocks on mainland Ireland. The ancient rock called gneiss is similar to that found in Greenland and eastern parts of North America. When immense pressures under the Earth opened up the North Atlantic, Ireland became part of Europe, 80 million years ago. Ireland is still drifting away from North America at the rate of a millimetre a year. Around Ceann an Eanaigh, you might spot an endangered corncrake or hear its elusive ‘crex-crex’ call.
Barr na Binne Buí
01/01/1970 - 01/01/1970
The views from Benwee Head are staggeringly beautiful – you can see cliffs, arches, stags and islands from here. Barr na Binne Buí is the most northerly summit in North Mayo and is the crowning glory of the Dún Chaocháin cliffs. There are many walking loops in this region and these routes are the best way to enjoy the views of Benwee Head and the cliffs.
Carrowmore Lake is located between the villages of Bangor and Barnatra. It is a freshwater lake that is over four miles long and almost three miles wide, at its widest point. The lake is designated as a SPA (Special Protected Area) and also as a SAC (Special Area of Conservation), due to the natural habitats, flora and fauna. Carrowmore Lake is famous for fishing and attracts anglers from all over Europe.
Dún na mBó means ‘the cattle fort’ and refers to a circular fort that once existed at the edge of the promontory. In 2002, a sculpture was built around the blowhole at Dún na mBó, but the blowhole has been here for much, much longer. A blowhole is formed as sea caves grow landwards and upwards into vertical shafts and expose themselves towards the surface. When the Atlantic waves crash against the cliffs, the seawater is pushed upwards and outwards – a spectacular sight, especially in stormy weather. As you walk westwards, the incredible view of Eagle Island comes into sight. Nearby, at Termoncarragh, you can see endangered birds gathering at the freshwater lake.
Erris Head is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and is home to some of the country’s wildlife icons. Known as Irish crows, choughs nest on the cliffs and Irish hares chase each other and box on the grassland. Atlantic seals, porpoises and bottlenose dolphin patrol the headland from below. The WWII marine and coastguard service Look Out Post is still intact and you will be able to see the large stone markings of EIRE 62 – one of many coastal navigational aids placed in 1942 & 1943 to help pilots identify the land as Ireland.
The coastal freshwater lake at Termoncarragh is a Special Protection Area (SPA) and is managed by BirdWatch Ireland. It is nationally important for breeding waders and wintering waterfowl, including Whooper Swans, and Barnacle Geese. The Barnacle Geese commute between Termoncarragh and the Inis Gé islands in winter. The best viewing point is from the graveyard, which is just west of the lake. At this graveyard in TErmoncarragh, you can visit the graves of World War II soldiers at, whose bodies were washed up on the shores of Erris.