Nature Reserves

Conserving vital habitats

Sheskinmore Lough, Co. Donegal

The Sheskinmore Lough reserve is part of a large, shallow freshwater coastal lagoon set in wonderful machair (flat sandy) grasslands. It is rich in wild flowers, insects and birds. Our reserve is within a larger area owned and managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, and the whole area forms an extensive Special Protection Area and Special Area of Conservation. It is an important ecosystem which is renowned for its wintering Greenland White-fronted Geese, along with Choughs during the autumn and breeding Lapwings during the summer months. The site is also important for an array of declining species of plants and insects.

Accessibility & Facilities

Parking is available at the National Parks and Wildlife Service McGlinchey’s Field Centre or Mullyvea, opposite Kiltooris Lough. There are marked walking trails between each entrance that offer good views over the whole area; please keep to these trails for your own safety and to avoid disturbance to the wildlife. Some of the land that the trails cross is privately-owned, so please be careful to close all gates and not to climb over fences or walls. Please keep dogs on a lead and under control at all times.

Opening times: The Sheskinmore Lough reserve is open all year-round.

Entrance charges: Free, but donations to help us continue our work here are welcome.

Facilities: Information boards are provided at the entrance gates. An observation hide overlooking the lough and machair is a short walk from the National Parks and Wildlife Service McGlinchey’s Field Centre.


Key Species


Greenland White-fronted Goose

White-fronted geese arrive in October to spend the winter feeding on the grasslands and specially planted tillage areas and are generally present through until early April. Look carefully at their bills; these are orange which indicates they are of the Greenland race.



The Chough is the rarest member of the crow family. They are often found during the autumn and winter months feeding amongst the short cropped machair grasslands or within the large dune systems, probing for invertebrates with their characteristic curved red bill. Listen out for their distinctive calls.



The evocative Lapwings can be seen ‘sky dancing’ over the machair during the summer months, often chasing potential predators that may come too close to their nests or show too much of an interest in their chicks. This continues until the danger has passed.



The Twite is a small, brown non-descript bird, similar to a Linnet but with a yellow bill and pink rump. Often seen here in winter when it spends most of the time feeding amongst the specially planted crops at the Mullyvea entrance.

Check out the latest Reserve News

CorncrakeNewsReservesSpecies Conservation and Land Management
August 18, 2023

Positive news for Ireland’s Corncrake population but numbers remain critically low

BirdWatch Ireland welcomes the news that Ireland’s Corncrake population is on the rise but says that cautious optimism is required as numbers still remain critically low. Data released by the…
Great Yellow Bumblebee at BirdWatch Ireland's Termoncarragh Meadows Nature Reserve ReservesSpecies Conservation and Land Management
May 21, 2021

Conserving the Great Yellow Bumblebee in Co. Mayo

BirdWatch Ireland is not just for the birds. A recent paper published in the Journal of Insect Conservation highlights that our reserves on the Mullet Peninsula hold the highest numbers…

Further Information

Sheskinmore Nature Reserve Leaflet

Site Guide – Sheskinmore Lough

Become a member

Please login to 'My Account' as this content is restricted to Members or Key Members only. Not a Member? Join us to access our extensive publications archive in addition to a host of other benefits and help us to protect birds and biodiversity.
Become a member

We sell amazing stuff!

Visit our shop and find the essential items for every birdwatcher and wildlife enthusiast. Whether you are a serious twitcher or someone who is looking for a nice gift, we’ve got it sorted.

Visit Our Shop