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Special Protection Area

Ireland is required under the terms of the EU Birds Directive (2009/147/EC) to designate Special Protection Areas (SPAs) for the protection of:

  • Listed rare and vulnerable species
  • Regularly occurring migratory species
  • Wetlands – especially those of international importance

A programme to identify and designate SPA sites has been in place since 1985 and Ireland’s SPA Network now encompasses over 597,000 hectares of marine and terrestrial habitats.

Ireland’s obligations under the   EU Birds Directive (2009/147/EC)


Fulmar egg resize
Fulamr Egg at the Cliffs
Puffins - Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs are a breeding site for over 30,000 seabirds. Our aim is to maintain and restore the favourable conservation conditions of the bird species listed as Special Conservation Interests for this SPA.

These are Fulmar, Kittiwake, Guillemot, Razorbill, Puffin and Chough, all of which are on the vulnerable species list.

The protected area includes the area outside the walls as well as the cliff face. As part of an ecological reconstruction of the SPA closest to the Visitor Centre the damaged cliff-top habitats were reseeded during the construction stage in 2005-2007 with local cliff-top grass seed which had been harvested by hand during the two autumns prior to the construction phase.

This area, within the Visitor Centre grounds, has now completely regenerated and wildlife has returned to the cliff-top areas.

The visitor flow is managed to discourage visitors from entering the protected areas. We are committed to environmental conservation and education.

Razorbill under water
Razorbill under water

More Information

Download these PDF’s for detailed information on the Cliffs of Moher SPA




You can also visit the National Parks and Wildlife Service website Learn more.