Castle Archdale Islands Nature Reserve

Nature reserves are chosen from among the very best examples of our wildlife, habitats and geology. They contain a wide range of species, communities and geology and their designation is a public recognition by Government of their importance.


Grid References: H158587 (Inishmakill), H150605 (Cleenishmeen/Cleenishgarve, Strongbow) and H144593 (Gay)


These small, hilly islands are the tops of drumlins, the lower parts of which were drowned when Lough Erne was formed. The relatively unspoiled woodland on these islands is a mixture of many species including oak, yew and ash. These trees grow tall and form the canopy of the woodland whilst underneath, willow and hazel spread their branches to gather light.
The spindle tree, with its green stems, grows here too but is hard to find. Only in autumn when its leaves turn dark red and the fruits are bright pink and red does it stand out. Aspens also add a splash of colour with their golden circular leaves.

Open glades in the wood with dense leafy areas of bracken, bramble, hawthorn and ivy provide the ideal home for the garden warbler. This uncommon, small brown bird nests close to the ground amongst the foliage. The central part of Inishmakill was once improved for agriculture but the only evidence of this past use are old field ditches and the walls of a house, abandoned in the 1930's and now swallowed up in the trees.


There is a jetty, suitable only for small boats (not cruisers), at Inishmakill. A circular earth path goes around the island.

Expect mud, uneven ground and tall vegetation at all times of year.

For further information contact the Site Manager at Castle Archdale Country Park. Tel: 028 6862 1588.

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