Dublin Bay UNESCO Biosphere - Fingal County Council

In 1981, UNESCO recognised the importance of Dublin Bay by designating North Bull Island as a biosphere because of its rare and internationally important habitats and species of wildlife. UNESCO’s concept of a biosphere has evolved to include not just areas of ecological value, but also the areas around them and the communities that live and work within these areas. There have since been additional international and national designations, covering much of Dublin Bay, to ensure the protection of its water quality and biodiversity.

In 2015, the existing North Bull Island UNESCO Biosphere was expanded to cover all of Dublin Bay, an area of 300 km2 with a population of 300,000 people. This includes a core area of high biodiversity value such as North Bull Island, the Baldoyle and Tolka Estuaries, Booterstown Marsh, Howth Head, Dalkey Island and Ireland’s Eye.

The Dublin Bay UNESCO Biosphere contains three different zones, which are managed in different ways:

  • The core zone of the biosphere comprises of 50 km2 of areas of high natural value, including Howth Head, North Bull Island, Dalkey Island and Ireland’s Eye.
  • The buffer zone comprises 82 km2 of public and private green spaces that surround and adjoin the core zones.
  • The transition zone comprises 173 km2 and forms the outer part of the biosphere. It includes residential areas, harbours, ports and industrial and commercial areas.