Fanad Head is a designated Special Area of Conservation, Special Protection Area and Proposed Natural Heritage Area, with a great variety of flora and fauna.

Wildlife of Fanad

Fanad is a great destination for nature lovers. Our pristine coastal environment is home to a wide range of species. You may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of cetaceans, such as fin whale, minke whale, orcas, dolphins or porpoise. There are many seabirds, shorebirds and birds of prey to be seen here, as well as endangered species like the corncrake, with its distinctive call.


Keep an eye out for some of the following birds at the lighthouse and nearby coastline – fulmar, gannet, cormorant, shag, guillemot, razorbill, kittiwake, shearwater, gull, oystercatcher, sanderling, dunlin, ringed plover, curlew, red-throated diver, great northern diver, snow bunting, eider duck, long-tailed duck, greylag geese, kestrel, buzzard, peregrine falcon, merlin.

Grey and common seal may be seen along the north Fanad coastline. Otter, lizard and the Irish hare are also to be found in the area.

Oystercatcher. Photo: Brendan McKinney



Gannet are a large, striking seabird – white with black-tipped wings and a distinctive golden head. Juveniles are mostly brown with white speckling. They are spectacular fishers and are notorious for their high-speed, vertical dive-bombing into the sea from a great height – a sight to behold.

Gannets spend most of their lives at sea and can travel large distances to feed – a 200km return trip to feed their young would not phase them! It takes around 4 years for a gannet to reach maturity, and amazingly, they can live for up to 35 years.

cape gannet

Wildlife Protection

There are numerous threats to wildlife off our coasts, and we try our best to minimise our impact on our local environment, and encourage visitors to do the same.

Plastics is one of the biggest issues our marine life face which is why we tackle plastics as a priority in our sustainability policy. At Fanad Lighthouse we have no single-use plastics in our business. No straws, no plastic bags, no plastic bottles!

sustainability guide cover


Sustainability Policy 2021-2022

“Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and
environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the
environment and host communities”. – UNWTO


Book a Tour

For a truly special visit to Fanad Lighthouse, our guided tour experience is a must. All our guides are local and can give you an authentic insight into the Fanad peninsula and life at Fanad Lighthouse.


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