BirdWatch Ireland Reserves

Illaunmaistir - County Mayo

Illaunmaistir, Storm PetrelIllaunmaistirIllaunmaistir, Puffins


The Illaunmaistir Reserve is a small grass domed island, rising to about 100m, that lies just off the north Mayo coast. During the summer months, looking across to the island from the near mainland, Puffins can be seen as they swirl around above their breeding burrows. Under the cover of darkness, Storm Petrels return to their nests. Along the cliff tops breeding Twite may also be seen. Pods of dolphins or even a Minke Whale can sometimes be spotted offshore.

Key species


Often referred to the clown of the sea; watch the adults returning from fishing forays at sea with sandeels hanging from their colourful beaks.

Storm Petrel

A true ocean seabird that spends all day fishing and only returning to their nesting burrows under the dark night sky. 

Accessibility & Facilities

Access to the island is by written permission from BirdWatch Ireland only; it is inaccessible but can be viewed from the mainland opposite or from a boat although there are no regular boats

Opening times: The Illaunmaistir reserve is open all year-round although the island is inaccessible to the general public.

Entrance charges: Free, but donations to help us continue our work here are welcome.

Facilities: There are no facilities. 

Where is it?

Location: An offshore island 19 km west of Ballycastle, west of Ballina on the north Mayo coast

Grid Ref: F 933 435

Google maps

Further info

BirdWatch Mayo  

BirdWatch Ireland Seabird blog  

What’s the weather like?


Where to Watch Birds in North-West Mayo