Wild, beautiful Inishtrahull, 10 kilometres off Malin Head, has been uninhabited by humans since the late 1920s. This important wildlife reserve is now home to large numbers of breeding birds and attracts hundreds of passing seabirds and rare migrants.
Inishtrahull, a Special Area of Conservation and Special Protection Area, is of greatest interest for the rarer birds frequenting it. The little shearwater, Cory’s shearwater and the four species of skua have all been recorded.
Regular migrants include turtle and collared doves; whooper and Bewick’s swans; Lapland and snow buntings; the whinchat and cuckoo; and barnacle, Greenland white-fronted, greylag and pink-footed geese.
Breeding species include the tern, common gull, shag and black guillemot. Inishtrahull hosts Ireland’s largest eider breeding colony, and a storm petrel colony has also been recorded. Its passerine species include the dunnock, wheatear, rock dove and pied wagtail. Rarer passerines, including the barred warbler, red-backed shrike, short-toed lark, common rose finch, Mealy redpoll and red-necked phalarope, have also been listed.
Inishtrahull’s deep tidal sound attracts many basking sharks and cetaceans, and minke whales may be spotted off the coast. Bottle-nose dolphins may appear and grey seals are regular visitors.
Strong currents and exposed seas make access difficult although boat-trips can be arranged from Bunagee Harbour. Visitors are requested to take particular care during the bird breeding period.