Swords is a large estuary that holds important numbers of waders and wildfowl in winter. It is also an excellent location for watching migrating waders in autumn.
From Dublin, take the M1 north and take the exit signposted Skerries, Donabate and Rush. At the roundabout go left, following signs for Swords. Continue south on the N1 and take a left turn at Estuary Roundabout. To view the south side of the estuary follow this road for 300m and then take a right turn at Estuary Rd., continuing under the M1 bridge. At the small roundabout, continue straight and park close to the ‘ Dog Kennels’ on the right. Parking in this area is very restricted so it is sometimes better to continue further on and park at the first lay-by. The mudflats along this area are superb for waders and most birds are quite approachable. To view the north side of the estuary, do not take the right at Estuary Road but continue over small bridge and follow road right again going under the M1 bridge. The tidal estuary can be checked on the right side near where people feed the swans. The open water can be viewed at the end of this road near the slipway.

Birds found at Swords

From autumn, into winter and early spring, Swords is particularly good for seeing Brent Geese, Pochard, Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser and Great Crested Grebe. Waders here during this period include Golden Plover Lapwing, Knot, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit and Curlew.  In autumn it is also good for seeing Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper and Ruff while in summer it holds a small resident flock of Black-tailed Godwits. Tree Sparrows are often found near the area where swans are fed while Kingfishers breed on the river just inland from here.


Copyright Eric Dempsey