Country Infos

Country Profile Manager:
James Moran
Atlantic Technological University
Phone: +353 86 6063949





The project aims to improve the economic viability of farming in the MacGillycuddy Reeks through the development of practical, achievable actions and innovative solutions to address the issues facing farmers on the Reeks. The following objectives will be perused: develop, in collaboration with landowners, innovative management interventions for the preservation, restoration and enhancement of upland habitats in a farmed HNV landscape; provide a mechanism to create a positive outreach programme and to prevent further habitat damage due to increasing recreational pressures on the Reeks through the formation of a landowner ranger system, and trail maintenance and definition works.

Project overview leaflet 1
Project overview leaflet 2

Location of the scheme

one region

South-West Region (Ireland)

Duration of the scheme

Since: April 2018
Until: April 2022

Objective(s) of the scheme / project

  • Biodiversity
  • Landscape amenities, including recreation, tourism
  • Erosion control
  • Water quality

Which habitats or species are in the focus of the scheme / project?

  • Habitats (incl. habitats of Fauna-Flora-Habitat-Directive (FFH-D.))
  • Others

MacGillycuddy's Reeks is a mountain range in South-east Ireland (County Kerry), which stretches for 19 Km covering a large area (0ver 100 km2). It is geologically characterized by sandstone and siltstone strongly glaciated, generating several valleys, ridges and peaks. MacGillycuddy's Reeks comprises over eight thousand hectares of Natura 2000 designated, including several privately owned HNV farmlands. Landowners on the MacGillycuddy Reeks face increasingly difficult challenges in farming. Farming in this area is subject to economically unviable labour-intensive practices, in addition to the rising pressures due to the largely uncontrolled and unmonitored recreational use by over 125,000 people visiting the Reeks annually.

Which indicators are used?

  • Habitats (incl FFH and BD)
  • Physical structures (e.g. dead wood, presence of brushwood, hollow trees, tall grass)
  • Other

The project is using a peatland scorecard, similar to the scorecard used by the Fresh Water Pearl Mussel project to assess the condition of the habitats in the area. Monitoring of the treatment and management of bracken, molinia and scrub also takes place, by recording detailed relevés from a number of sites, prior to interventions. Detailed mapping is undertaken of sites that contain rhododendron to demonstrate the effectiveness of treatment. Silt traps are being installed to monitor the volume of silt being prevented from entering the watercourses.     

Design of scheme / project

  • Hybrid result based payment with complementary management based payments

The main scheme/project activities include: set up farmer-led collective management groups to manage the uplands in a sustainable manner; develop an incentive system for improving agricultural management of upland heaths and peatlands; establish a landowner ranger system to manage recreational pressures impacting on agricultural practices and habitats; remove rhododendron and bracken scrub to enable the restoration of peatland and grassland habitats; trail definition works to manage the impact of recreational use; installation of sediment traps and to provide aggregate for trail maintenance; run training events for scheme participants; schools education programme development and public outreach.

By which fund(s) is the scheme / project implemented?

  • Other measures of Rural Development

EIP operational group

How are the incentives (payment levels) calculated?

  • Other

The incentives are calculated primarily on the costs of management actions, but also on the stepped approach of the habitat payment, whereby the higher the score the greater the payment.

Is there a top up in case of reaching the goals?

  • No

How many hectares are in the scheme?

  • 501 – 1.000

How many farmers take part in the scheme?

  • Less than 50

How are participating farmers supervised/advised?

  • Advisors visits (obligatory)
  • Advice by telephone
  • Information documents (pamphlets, reports, etc.)
  • Information meetings/workshops (obligatory)

Are there any evaluation results?

  • In preparation
  1. The habitat improvement is being assessed through the habitat score card, and we will have early results in September 2020 to compare to habitat assessments in 2019.
  2. Completion/ effectiveness of actions are being assessed through site inspection. This includes spraying/ trampling of bracken, treating rhododendron, path maintenance etc. These are in preparation at present.  

Our second annual report is due in August 2020 and we will have more comprehensive evaluation results of actions then.


Contact person

Patricia Deane,

MacGillycuddy Reeks EIP Project,

South Kerry Development Partnership,

The Old Barracks,



Co. Kerry