County Armagh

Dipper Cinclus cinclus ©Jim Crozier Website

The ceremonial County Armagh is one of six counties that form Northern Ireland. Adjoined to the southern shore of Lough Neagh, the county covers an area of c.1,300 km² and has a population of about 195,000 people. It is known as the ‘Orchard County’ because of its many apple orchards. It is also one of the thirty-two traditional counties of Ireland, as well as part of the historic province of Ulster. It borders Down to the east, Tyrone to the west, Monaghan to the southwest and Louth to the southeast. much of the northern boundary abuts Loch Neagh.

Its highest point is at Slieve Gullion, in the south of the County. From there the land falls away from its rugged south with Carrigatuke, Lislea and Camlough mountains, to rolling drumlin country in the middle and west of the county and finally they give way to flatlands in the north where rolling flats and small hills reach sea level at Lough Neagh. There are also a number of uninhabited islands in the county’s section of Lough Neagh: Coney Island Flat, Croaghan Flat, Padian, Phil Roe’s Flat and the Shallow Flat.Armagh stretches from the south shore of Lough Neagh down to the shores of Carlingford Lough, with high ground at Slieve Gullion.

Birding County Armagh

For birders most of the attraction is centred in the north of the county around Lough Neagh. One of the best places to get good access to the lake and surrounding woodlands, is Oxford Island Nature Reserve in Armagh with bird hides and walking trails.

Despite the fact that Ireland is the least wooded area in Europe and much of what little there is being conifer plantation, Armagh does have some old woodland such as at Clare Glen a wooded river valley. Old coppiced ash, oak, hazel and wych elm is good for woodland birds and riverine species such as dipper. Gosford Forest Park has firs but also diverse woodland and parkland and woodland and parkland species in the quieter areas away from the adventure park and camping ground.

Top Sites
  • Craigavon Lakes Nature Reserve

    WebpageSatellite View
    Craigavon Lakes were created during the early 1970’s when an area of low lying, poorly drained land was excavated to create the two lakes. Although artificial attracts wildfowl, and in winter good finch flocks in the area. During the late 1990’s over ten thousand trees were planted creating the new woodland around the lakes. The rich habitat in the Nature Reserve also attracts a wide range of birds. Stonechats, Robins, Siskins, Willow Warblers, and Chaffinches are just a few of the birds which regularly nest and feed here.
  • Lurgan Park Lake

    InformationSatellite View
  • Oxford Island Nature Reserve

    WebsiteSatellite View
    The most accessible part of Lough Neagh with hides and Information Centre. Wildfowl and extensive woodland and wet meadows.
  • George Gordon

County Recorder
Useful Reading

  • Where to Watch Birds in Ireland

    by Paul Milne & Clive Hutchinson | Christopher Helm | 2009 | Paperback | 336 pages | Out of Print | ISBN: 9781408105214 Buy this book from
Useful Information
  • BTO Local Representative

    Stephen Hewitt
Museums & Universities
  • Armagh County Museum

    Facebook Page
    One of our most popular displays areas on the first floor lets you to take a close look at familiar birds and beasts. It is divided into several convenient sections…

Abbreviations Key

  • LNR Brackagh Moss Nature Reserve

    InformationSatellite View
    Originally a raised bog, over 300 years of turf cutting, have left Brackagh Moss a maze of pools, drainage channels and peat ramparts. Most of the reddish acid bog peat was removed, exposing older, black, base-rich fen peat underneath. This variety in soils has resulted in an extremely varied flora. The flocks of duck that often accompany the floods are ever watchful for wandering birds of prey…
  • LNR Craigavon Lakes

    WebpageSatellite View
    Mute Swans, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Golden Eye, Coots and many other wetland birds can often be seen on both of the Lakes.
  • NNR Lough Neagh Discovery Centre

    WebpageSatellite View
    The Centre enjoys a unique and beautiful setting on the edge of the Lough where visitors can learn all about the history, the culture and wildlife in and around Lough Neagh. Four miles of footpaths, five birdwatching hides, woodland, ponds, wildflower meadows, picnic and play areas.
  • NNR Oxford Island National Reserve

    WebpageSatellite View
    Oxford Island is located on the South-Eastern shores of Lough Neagh, County Armagh. Owned and managed by Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Council much of the area is designated as a National Nature Reserve due to the diversity and local importance of habitats such as reed beds, open water, wildlife ponds, forests and wildflower meadows.
  • RSPB Portmore Lough Nature

    WebpageSatellite View
    The RSPB’s Portmore Lough Reserve is a fantastic place to visit at any time of year. The range of wetland habitats provide a home for a wide variety of wildlife. In spring, lapwing can be seen displaying over the wet grassland, whilst skylarks sing from high overhead...
Places to Stay
  • Dundrum House

    3 spacious ensuit rooms. Early 18th century farmhouse set in 80 acres of privately owned land with Callen River running through it. Located 6 miles from Armagh City and 18 miles from Newry. An ideal location for golf, angling, walking, cycling, equestrian or just relaxing
Other Links
  • Birdwatching in County Armagh

    List of sites e.g. Lough Neagh's south shore is the focus: vast numbers of winter diving ducks, including rare ferruginous and ring-necked ducks, red-crested pochard, smew. Great-crested grebe breed in high density near Oxford Island. Inland: blackcap and grasshopper warblers nest in old estates.
Photographers & Artists
  • Photographer - Jim Crozier Photography

    I'm an amateur wildlife photographer based in County Armagh Northern Ireland. I stress the word wildlife as my main passion is capturing animals in their natural environment as opposed to photographing captive animals. For me the research, planning and hours spent in uncomfortable situations are all part of thrilling process of capturing that one great shot. Far more enjoyable than taking a snap of some poor creature kept in an enclosure behind a chain link fence.…

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