This 5 year programme is targeted specifically at farmers with land designated for the protection of breeding Hen Harrier in Slieve Beagh, Slieve Bloom Mountains, Slieve Felim to Silvermines Mountains, Slieve Aughty Mountains, Stacks to Mullaghereirk Mountains, West Limerick Hills & Mount Eagle and Mullaghanish to Musheramore Mountains Special Protection Areas (SPAs).In 2007, under Article 4 of the Birds Directive, six Special Protection Areas (SPAs) covering a total land area of c.167,117 hectares were classified for the conservation of the Hen Harrier.
All lands within the Hen Harrier SPAs with the exceptions of active turbary, buildings (and their curtilage), farmyards and commercial forestry are eligible to be considered for payment. Payment for the provision of linear strips of wild bird cover and the establishment of hedgerows are the only case where payments will be made on undesignated lands. Leased or rented land must have been declared on the applicant’s 2017 Basic Payment Scheme application.
The Slieve Beagh SPA comprises much of the eastern and south-eastern sectors of the Slieve Beagh upland area that extends from County Monaghan into Northern Ireland. Mountain blanket bog is well developed at the higher altitudes and especially at Eshbrack (peak of 365 m).
The Slieve Bloom Mountains SPA is situated on the border between Counties Offaly and Laois, and runs along a north-east/south-west aligned ridge for approximately 25 km. Much of the site is over 200 m in altitude, rising to a maximum height of 527 m at Arderin.
The Mullaghanish to Musheramore Mountains SPA comprises a substantial part of the Boggeragh/Derrynasaggart Mountains. It is divided roughly into two sectors by the R582 road between Macroom and Millstreet. Most of the site is over 200 m in altitude, rising to heights of 475 m in the eastern sector (Musherabeg) and 462 m in the western sector (Knockullane).
The Slievefelim to Silvermines Mountains SPA is an extensive upland site located in Counties Tipperary and Limerick. Much of the site is over 200 m in altitude and rises to 694 m at Keeper Hill. Other peaks included in the site are Slieve Felim, Knockstanna, Knockappul, Mother Mountain, Knockteige, Cooneen Hill and Silvermine Mountain.
The Slieve Aughty Mountains SPA is a very large site that extends southwards from just south of Lough Rea, County Galway to Scariff in County Clare. The peaks are not notably high or indeed pronounced; the site rises to a maximum of 378 m near Cappaghabaun Mountain. It site includes many small- and medium-sized lakes, notably Lough Graney and Lough Atorick.
The Stack’s to Mullaghareirk Mountains, West Limerick Hills and Mount Eagle SPA is a very large site centred on the borders between the counties of Cork, Kerry and Limerick. The site is skirted by the towns of Newcastle West, Ballydesmond, Castleisland, Tralee and Abbeyfeale. The mountain peaks included in the site are not notably high or indeed pronounced, the highest being at Knockfeha (451 m). Other mountains included are Mount Eagle, Knockanefune, Garraunbaun, Taur, Rock Hill, Knockacummer, Mullaghamuish, Knight’s Mt, Ballincollig Hill, Beennageeha Mt, Sugar Hill, Knockanimpuba and Knockathea, amongst others.
To view the Map Viewer ensure that Adobe Flash Player version 11.1.0 or greater is installed.
National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) provide a map viewer tool to outline where all the protected sites are within the country. Once the map has loaded, use the + / - cursor to zoom to your region. If your land is within a coloured grid, the site is designated by NPWS. Click the Identify button on the top tool bar of the map viewer and then click on the coloured grid...the 'Query' box on the right hand side will tell you what the designations are. If your land is within any of the six SPAs listed above, you are eligible to apply for the Programme. Use the following link to connect to the map viewer.