Castle Espie

Castle Espie boasts Ireland’s largest collection of wildfowl

Just five minutes drive from Comber in Co Down, Castle Espie boasts Ireland’s largest collection of wildfowl. It was officially opened as a Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust centre by Lady Scott on May 4, 1990. Previously a limestone quarry, the site also had a brickswork, pottery, and lime kilns for producing lime from limestone, but was most recently was part of a farm.

The site is a haven for birds such as brent geese, nenes, whitefaced whistling ducks and whooper swans. More than 700 birds usually live at Castle Espie, but this number increases dramatically in autumn and winter as migrants arrive to enjoy the tranquil wildlife refugee zone. On Saturday, April 5, 2003, Castle Espie was delighted to hatch their first black-necked swan cygnets at the centre. The South American swans had only been part of the bird collection at Castle Espie since December 2001.

Castle Espie also has a coffee shop, art gallery, interpretation room, walks and a gift shop.

© Darren Taylor,