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County Offaly

Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata ©Sue Tranter

Birding County Offaly

County Offaly is a county in Leinster, Ireland, bordered by seven other counties: Galway, Roscommon, Westmeath, Meath, Kildare, Laois, and Tipperary. Originally the name referred to the Kingdom of Uí Failghe. The present county was shired in 1556 by Mary I of England during one of the Plantations of Ireland, and was then named King's County after King Philip II of Spain, and the county town was Philipstown (now called Daingean) until the nineteenth century. The county town is now Tullamore. Its former name of "King's County" is still used when the title deeds to a property are transferred from a buyer to a seller today.

The southern part of the county is occupied by the Slieve Bloom Mountains, the northwestern part is the floodplain of the River Shannon and the remainder consists of large bogs including the Bog of Allen and Boora Bog.



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Useful Reading

Fieldguides & Other Birding Books
For a full list of fieldguides and other books see the Republic of Ireland page


Birdwatch Ireland Offaly Branch




Abbreviations Key

NR Clara Bog


Satellite View

Clara Bog is the finest remaining example of a raised bog in Ireland today, covering 464 hectares of raised bog with evident lag and soak systems. The nature reserve is home to many protected wildlife species. The drier areas of the bog are dominated by heather and this provides good cover for Red Grouse, Snipe and Curlew. The wetter areas and pools offer perfect breeding and feeding sites for various insects, most notably dragonflies (such as hawkers, chasers and skimmers) and damselflies. It is also rich in moths and butterflies (the Large Heath, for example, depends upon raised bog), newts, lizards and frogs. Clara Bog is the only known site for two rare midges, and a click beetle. The small bird of prey, the Merlin, breeds here. More common bogland birds include the Meadow Pipit and Skylark. Otters and hares also seen.

NR SPA Slieve Bloom Mountains


Satellite View

The gentle rolling hills of the The Slieve Bloom Mountains rise from the central plains of Ireland, forming a natural link between the counties of Laois and of Offaly. The area is picturesque, peaceful, gloriously multi-coloured and one of the least explored in Ireland. The Slieve Bloom Mountains are also designated a Special Protection Area (SPA), of special conservation interest for the hen harrier, a rare bird of prey.

NR Mongan Bog


Satellite View

There are a good number of wintering Snipe to be found, however, Greenland Whitefronted geese no longer use this bog to the extent that the did in the past. Hen Harriers occasionally hunt over the site in Winter.

NR SPA Raheenmore Bog


Satellite View

Raheenmore Bog is a raised bog north-west of Daingean, County Offaly, in Ireland. Since the 1980s the greater part of the bog has been maintained as a 162 hectare Nature Reserve, which is currently managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. A Special Area of Conservation covers 182 ha, including some land in private ownership.

Offaly Wildlife Reserves


Annotated List - click on the individual links…

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The Offaly Bad Birder


Last updated 2011! Adventures birding the paradise of Co. Offaly, Ireland…