Protected area type: Areas of Special Scientific Interest
Feature type: 
  • Habitat
  • Marine
  • Armagh
  • Down
Council: Newry, Mourne and Down
Guidance and literature: Carlingford Lough ASSI

The limestones of Carlingford Lough were deposited in a shallow sea basin during the Carboniferous period 339 million years ago. They contain numerous fossils, such as brachiopods and solitary corals. Moraines and deposited sediments provide evidence of the movement of ice sheets and glaciers.

The site supports a range of unusual and rich littoral communities, including sheltered sands, muddy sands, muds and boulder shores. It exhibits a good natural transition from lower shore communities, through upper shore saltmarsh to fen vegetation.

Mill Bay supports the largest intact block of saltmarsh in Northern Ireland. Internationally important numbers of wildfowl and waders overwinter on the site, including pale-bellied Brent geese, great crested grebes, shelduck, scaup, redshank and oystercatchers. Carlingford Lough is also important for terns and has historically been an important site for breeding Roseate terns.

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