Slieve Bloom Mountains Reserve
2,300 hectares of Special Protected Area
The Slieve Bloom Mountains Nature Reserve is, at over 2,300 hectares, Ireland’s largest state-owned Nature Reserve managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. It was established in 1985, so that it could be managed in such a way as to ensure the conservation of the mountain blanket bog ecosystem. The Slieve Bloom Mountains are a designated Special Protection Area (SPA) for the rare bird life found there; two emblematic bird species; the hen harrier and the red grouse. Both species nest on the ground on the blanket bog and heath. The hen harrier is one of Ireland’s rarest birds of prey which feeds mainly on small prey items such as meadow pipits. The red grouse is a secretive game bird, and is usually only seen when flushed from undergrowth. Meadow pipits and skylarks are common in the Nature Reserve. Snow buntings are found on the Nature Reserve in winter. Other bird species found include the merlin, peregrine falcon, raven, snipe, golden plover, lapwing, curlew, wheatear and ring Ouzel.