Protected area type: Special Areas of Conservation
Feature type: 
  • Habitat
  • Species
  • Earth Science
  • Marine
  • Antrim
Council: Antrim and Newtownabbey
Guidance and literature: Rathlin Island SAC

Rathlin Island is a large inhabited marine island situated some 4km from the north Antrim coast of Northern Ireland. There are basalt and chalk cliffs, some as high as 100 metres, as well as several sea stacks on the north and west shores of the island. The south and east shores are more gently sloping with areas of maritime grassland and rocky shore. The length of the coastline is approximately 30 km.

The coastal strip, which is included in the SAC, is of scientific interest because of the wide variety of habitats and associated flora and fauna it contains.  These habitats include very high sea cliffs, sea stacks, maritime grassland, saltmarsh and an equally wide range of inter-tidal conditions eg vertical cliff, boulder and shingle shores and wave cut platforms on both chalk and basalt.

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