IRISH GOVERNMENT HERTIAGE

DUCHAS

CLOGHER HEAD

SITE SYNOPSIS

SITE NAME: CLOGHER HEAD

SITE CODE: 001459

Clogher Head is a promontory of Silurian quartzite, located approximately 10 km northeast of Drogheda. The rocks are covered with a thin layer of soil that, in places, supports a coastal heath community. Areas of sea cliff, bedrock shore and dry grassland also occur within the site. Two habitats listed on Annex I of the E.U. Habitats Directive are represented, namely dry heath and vegetated sea cliffs.

The heath is dominated by Gorse (Ulex europaeus), Bell Heather (Erica cinerea), Heather (Calluna vulgaris), Crested Dogs-tail (Cynosurus cristatus), Sweet Vernal-grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum), English Stonecrop (Sedum anglicum) and Common Bird’s-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus). Other species at the site include Lousewort (Pedicularis sylvatica), Cocks-foot (Dactylis glomerata) and Ribwort Plantain (Plantago lanceolata).

Cliff-top vegetation at the site includes such species as Thrift (Armeria maritima), Sea Campion (Silene vulgaris subsp. maritima), Wild Carrot (Daucus carota), Bucks-horn Plantain (Plantago coronopus), Burnet Rose (Rosa pimpinellifolia), amongst others. Spring Squill (Scilla verna), Golden-samphire (Inula crithmoides), Knotted Clover (Trifolium striatum) and Birds-foot Clover (Trifolium ornithopodioides), all scarce plants in Ireland, have also been recorded from the site.

A salt-tolerant community, comprised of Thrift, Common Scurvygrass (Cochlearia officinalis), Sea Rush (Juncus maritimus) and Distant Sedge (Carex distans), occurs along the shore.

The main landuse at Clogher Head is sheep grazing. The site is very susceptible to damage from a variety of sources including fire, over-grazing and amenity pressures such as littering and building.

This headland supports one of the best-known examples of coastal heath in County Louth. It contains two habitats listed on Annex I of the E.U. Habitats Directive and supports a good diversity of coastal heath plants.

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

CLOGHER, or KILCLOGHER, a parish, in the barony of FERRARD, county of LOUTH, and province of LEINSTER, 6 ¼ miles (N. E.) from Drogheda; containing 1392 inhabitants. This place, which was anciently called Kilfinnabhoir, was distinguished, in the earliest ages of Christianity in Ireland, by the foundation of a religious establishment, of which St. Nectan, nephew of St. Patrick, was abbot or bishop. It is situated on the eastern coast; and the village, which is about half a mile to the west of Clogher Head, contains about 80 houses and 592 inhabitants, who are chiefly engaged in the fishery, which employs seven smacks from 25 to 40 tons burden each, and 20 row boats.

On the north side of Clogher Head is a small cove or dock, partly natural and partly excavated, to which a passage for boats has been cut through the beach. It is much frequented by fishing vessels, on account of its affording shelter from all winds but the north-east; it was much improved by the late Wallop Brabazon, Esq., and might be made one of the best safety harbours in the kingdom. On the south side of the promontory a broad strand extends four miles to the mouth of the Boyne; and to the north of the village, stretching to Dunany Point, is a sandy bay with low reefs, of which one, nearly in the centre, called Cargee, is covered at high water. At Clogher Head is a coast-guard station, one of the six that constitute the Dundalk district.

The parish contains, according to the Ordnance survey, 1861 ¼ statute acres, and is principally under tillage; and there is no waste land. The principal seat is Glaspistole House, the residence of J. Markey, Esq. It is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Armagh, and is part of the union of Termonfeckan: the tithes amount to £98. In the R. C. divisions it forms part of the union or district of Rathdrummin, and has a neat chapel at Hackett’s Cross, with a national school adjoining. There are also a school aided by Capt. Hanfield, and a small hedge school. Near Mr. Markey’s seat are the ruins of an ancient castle, consisting principally of a square tower, and at the village of Clogher are the ruins of the old church.