Upland Areas

Slieve Beagh

Slieve Beagh is a small mountain, just 365 meters high, that lies across the borders of Monaghan, Fermanagh and Tyrone. It is likely that the mountain’s name originates from the Irish Sliabh Beatha, meaning ‘Mountain of birch’. According to legend, St. Patrick banished the evil spirits of an ancient pagan worshiping site on Slieve Beagh into the nearby Lough Beg.

Much of Slieve Beagh is a bleak, exposed landscape, and although it may not appear as an area of ecological interest, it has a well developed blanket bog and Special Protection Area (SPA) status. The area of blanket bog is characterised by deergrass, Ling Heather, heath, cottongrass, a variety of mosses such as sphagnum, and pockets of cranberry. Areas of the lower slopes have been afforested, and elsewhere are stretches of species-rich wet grassland. The most common vegetation in the grasslands is Soft Rush.

Red Grouse
Copyright Mike Brown

This mixture of habitats on Slieve Beagh attracts hen harriers, rare birds in Ireland. The afforested area makes an ideal nesting site and the birds can forage for food in the boglands, heath and nearby farmland. As well as hen harriers, Slieve Beagh also supports merlin, Red Grouse, and Peregrine Falcon, all of which are protected under the EU Birds Directive.

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