South Dublin Branch - Site Description

Bearded Tit - Tacumshin Lake, Wexford (photo: Mark Carmody)

Birdwatching Sites - South Dublin

Booterstown Marsh


Booterstown Marsh (lying between Flags A-B-C-D) is 10 acres wedged between the busy Rock Road, DART railway tracks and Trimlestown Stream culvert (Flags A-B). It is the sole remaining saltmarsh on the south side of Dublin Bay and a relic of a once greater area of marshland, which was filled in during the building of the Dublin to Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) railway and other projects during the 19th century.
It is connected to the sea at Williamstown Lagoon by a sluice (Flag E) which floods the marsh with each high tide. The freshwater Nutley Stream runs along the boundary wall of the railway in a ditch (Flags B-C), before continuing under the car park (Flag G) and flowing in to the lagoon and finally Dublin Bay. The combination of fresh and salt water ensures differing degrees of salinity throughout the marsh with the highest around the south-east corner (Flag C), while the parts of the marsh furthest away have the least with an almost freshwater habitat.
During branch outings we normally meet up in the DART car park at Flag G.
In recent years two manmade islands (Flag F) have been constructed to provide somewhere for birds to roost.
The marsh is on lease to An Taisce from the Pembroke Estates since the 1970s for the purpose of conservation and education.

Getting There and Access

The marsh is adjacent to Booterstown DART station (Flag C). It is on several Dublin Bus routes including numbers 7 & 4. Parking is available outside of the DART station.
A good view of most areas of the marsh can be had from the perimeter and there is a grassy seating area at the Trimleston Avenue end, which provides a good view of most of the marsh (Flag A). There is a public footbridge between the car park at Booterstown DART station and Sandymount Strand.


Teal, Mallard and Moorhen are regular in the marsh.
The marsh is used as a high tide roost with some of the waders from Sandymount Strand, e.g. Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit and Knot, making the short trip across the railway lines to the Marsh to avoid the incoming tide. They may be found anywhere within the marsh, however it is always worth checking the two manmade islands. Although very rare Spotted Redshank, Ruff and Little Stint have all occurred there.
More regular highlights include Snipe and Little Egret and they can usually be viewed at close range. Kingfisher may be present, especially along Nutley Stream and although difficult to see, Water Rail are regular as well as Greenshank by the DART station.
Among the birds that breed in the marsh or nearby are Reed Bunting, Dunnock, Wren and Blackbird, which attract the occasional Sparrowhawk.

Some Notable Bird Records at Booterstown Marsh

  • Avocet
    1. January 1969 (found dead).
  • White-rumped Sandpiper
    1. 24th to 28th October 2018, also seen at Sandymount Strand.
  • Short-billed Dowitcher
    1. 25th March 2004 to 9th April 2005 (4th Irish record), also seen in Wexford in 2004 and at North Bull Island in 2004 & 2005.
  • Lesser Yellowlegs
    1. 29th October 2018, also seen at Sandymount Strand and presumed to be the same bird that was at Rogerstown Estuary on 27th October.
  • Red-necked Phalarope
    1. 8th to 10th September 1957.

Some Notable Bird Records at Booterstown

  • Frigatebird
    1. 22nd June 1995 (4th Irish record). Observed in flight heading northeast towards Dublin Bay, probably a Magnificent Frigatebird.
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker
    1. 16th October 1949.