The Skerries, Northern Ireland

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The Skerries
A view of the Skerries from Portrush
The Skerries is located in Northern Ireland
The Skerries
 The Skerries shown within Northern Ireland
Population (2001)
Irish grid reference C855409
   – Belfast  50 miles (80 km) 
District Coleraine
County County Antrim
Country Northern Ireland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town PORTRUSH
Postcode district BT56
Dialling code 028, +44 28
Police Northern Ireland
Fire Northern Ireland
Ambulance Northern Ireland
EU Parliament Northern Ireland
UK Parliament East Londonderry
List of places
Northern Ireland

Coordinates: 55°07′57″N 6°22′56″W / 55.1324°N 6.3822°W / 55.1324; -6.3822

The Skerries are a small group of rocky islands (skerries) just off Portrush, County Antrim, on the north coast of Northern Ireland. Winkle Isle is the local name for the large Skerry island, the small Skerry being known as Castle Isle.[1] The islands are part of an Area of Special Scientific Interest.

Local boat trips from Portrush pass the Skerries en route to the Giant's Causeway.[2]

Area of Special Scientific Interest[edit]

In 1996 the islands were designated as part of the Ramore Head and The Skerries Area of Special Scientific Interest. The islands are a habitat for breeding by a range of seabirds including kittiwake, black guillemot and eider duck.[3] The temperature of the Skerries during the summer months is warmer than other parts of Northern Ireland, and so the rocks are home to particularly interesting fauna; it is the only place many southern species such as the cotton spinner sea cucumber Holothuria forskali are found in Northern Ireland. There are several protected habitats located around the Skerries, notably for seagrass (Zostera marina) and horse mussel (Modiolus modiolus). In addition, recent surveys have found numbers of the spiny spider crab (Maja brachydactyla), which is new to Northern Ireland.[4]


On 28 December 1879 the sailing vessel, Thomas Graham, owned by John and Thomas Candlish of Palnackie in Scotland, and captained by John Candlish, was stranded at the Skerries and lost.[5]


  1. ^ "Portrush". Ulster for Your Holidays (1930). Eddies Book Extracts. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  2. ^ "Scheduled and Charter Boat Tours of Northern Ireland's Scenic North Coast". Portrush Sea Tours. Retrieved 17 July 2014. 
  3. ^ "Declaration of Area of Special Scientific Interest at Ramore Head and The Skerries" (PDF). Department of the Environment NI. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Thomas Graham". Irish Shipwrecks. Retrieved 21 April 2015.