Ballagan Point is the outermost tip of the Cooley Peninsula — where Carlingford Lough meets the Irish Sea — and its shingle coastline makes it an ideal spot for seabird-watching.
Cormorants, guillemots, razorbills, gannets, grebes, Manx shearwaters and many gulls may be observed here, as well as the occasional shag. The long-tailed skua has also been seen. At the Whitestown cobble beach nearby, white wagtails and Mediterranean gulls are regular visitors and sand martins nest in the sand banks.
Sparrows grace the hedgerows around the shores, and watchers should look out and listen for stonechat, linnet, greenfinch and goldfinch, and the occasional white wagtail, especially in spring. Further inland, meadow whippets soar from the fields and the song of the skylark fills the air.
In ‘mad’ March, hares may be seen ‘boxing’, while you may spot a buzzard sitting on a fence, ready to swoop on a rabbit or a rodent. Sparrowhawks, and peregrine falcons which have taken to nesting in the Cooley mountains, hunt the shorelines.
Ballagan Point is a 20-minute drive south-east of Carlingford along the R173 and R176. The nearby hamlet of Whitestown is one of Ireland’s last remaining and inhabited ‘clachans’ – a cluster of houses, with no church, shop or school, dating back to medieval times.