Skip to main content

Sand dunes provide important habitats for a wealth of rare, specialised wildlife and plants. The diversity of shapes in the sand dunes is ideal for unique plants and animals to thrive and create wonderful habitats that are internationally valued as Special Areas of Conservation. Flowering plants, lizards, toads and ground-nesting birds all call the dunes their home.

A range of sand dune habitats are included on Annex I of the Habitats Directive in Ireland

  • Annual vegetation of drift lines (1210)
  • Perennial vegetation of stony banks (1220)
  • Embryonic shifting dunes (2100)
  • Shifting dunes along the shoreline with Ammophila arenaria (white dunes) (2120)
  • *Fixed coastal dunes with herbaceous vegetation (grey dunes) (2130)
  • *Decalcified fixed dunes with Empetrum nigrum (2140)
  • *Atlantic decalcified fixed dunes (Calluno-Ulicetea) (2150)
  • Dunes with Salix repens ssp. argentea (Salicion arenariae) (2170)
  • Humid dune slacks (2190)
  • *Machairs (21A0)

The four habitats with an asterisk are priority habitats, i.e. habitats whose range is mainly within the EU and which are at risk of disappearing.