BirdWatch Ireland Reserves

Kilcoole - County Wicklow

Kilcoole, boundary areasKilccole, StonechatKilcoole, open view


The Kilcoole Reserve is an area of wet grassland behind a shingle beach. It has a number of marshy pools that flood during the winter months which are attractive to Teal, whilst deep in the marshy vegetation Water Rails hide, Reed Buntings perch out on the taller stems and Stonechats are ever present along the fence line. To the south of the reserve Light-bellied Brent Geese feed on the short grasslands during the winter months, whilst during the summer months the largest Little Tern colony in the country gathers to breed on the shingle beach.

Key species


Frequently seen flicking their wings while perched along the fenceline uttering a sharp loud call that sounds like two stones being tapped together, hence their name.   

Reed Bunting

Sparrow-sized birds the males are resplendent with their black heads, white collar and drooping moustache; however in winter they are much drabber like the females 


Small dabbling ducks, the males are often heard giving a clear ringing whistle and with their bright chestnut heads with broad green eye-patches attempt to attract the mottled brown females as winter turns to spring 

Accessibility & Facilities

Given the sensitive nature of the reserve please refrain from entering and view from the adjoining sea bank only.

Opening times: The Kilcoole Reserve is open all year-round although to reduce disturbance to the wildlife please only view from the adjoining sea bank.

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

Facilities: There are no facilities. Parking is available at the coastal car park at Kilcoole Railway Station.

Where is it?

Location: 2 km east of Kilcoole, south of Greystones on the east coast of Co. Wicklow

Grid Ref: O 313 080

Google maps

Further info

Birdwatching sites in North Wicklow

BirdWatch Ireland Wicklow Branch 

Kilcoole Little Tern Conservation Project 

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