The Skerries, Northern Ireland

The Skerries are a small group of rocky islands (skerries) just off Portrush, County Antrim, on the north coast of Northern Ireland. Winkle Isle is the local name for the large Skerry island, the small Skerry being known as Castle Isle.[1] The islands are part of an Area of Special Scientific Interest.

The Skerries

A large skerrie near Portrush
Location within Northern Ireland
Irish grid referenceC855409
 Belfast50 miles (80 km)
CountryNorthern Ireland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtBT56
Dialling code028, +44 28
PoliceNorthern Ireland
FireNorthern Ireland
AmbulanceNorthern Ireland
EU ParliamentNorthern Ireland
UK Parliament

Local boat trips from Portrush pass the Skerries en route to the Giant's Causeway.[2]

Area of Special Scientific Interest

In 1996 the islands were designated as part of the Ramore Head and The Skerries Area of Special Scientific Interest. The islands are a habitat for breeding by a range of seabirds including kittiwake, black guillemot and eider duck.[3] The temperature of the Skerries during the summer months is warmer than other parts of Northern Ireland, and so the rocks are home to particularly interesting fauna; it is the only place many southern species such as the cotton spinner sea cucumber Holothuria forskali are found in Northern Ireland. There are several protected habitats located around the Skerries, notably for seagrass (Zostera marina) and horse mussel (Modiolus modiolus). In addition, recent surveys have found numbers of the spiny spider crab (Maja brachydactyla), which is new to Northern Ireland.[4]


On 28 December 1879 the sailing vessel, Thomas Graham, owned by John and Thomas Candlish of Palnackie in Scotland, and captained by John Candlish, was stranded at the Skerries and lost.[5]


  1. "Portrush". Ulster for Your Holidays (1930). Eddies Book Extracts. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  2. "Scheduled and Charter Boat Tours of Northern Ireland's Scenic North Coast". Portrush Sea Tours. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  3. "Declaration of Area of Special Scientific Interest at Ramore Head and The Skerries" (PDF). Department of the Environment NI. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  5. "Thomas Graham". Irish Shipwrecks. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.