Cork Lough is located in the south-west of Cork City. The Lough is a shallow, spring-fed lake and has been a designated wildlife sanctuary due to the presence of important waterfowl. The lough itself is relatively shallow with a maximum water depth of 1.6 metres and further muddy sediment of less than 1 metre.

There is a large island located in the centre of the lake. Dominated by a dense, low growing willow woodland, the island acts as a refuge, roosting and breeding area for residential and migratory birds. Commonly recorded birds in the area include many different species of gulls, coot, mute swan, mallard, moorhen and greylag goose. During the winter, you may sport Little Egrets and Shoveler, the latter which can reach numbers of national importance. Below the water line, carp populations thrive and leave little to no aquatic plants uneaten. Ash, Birch, Hawthorn, Sycamore and Black Poplar line the walkway, providing an ideal habitat for bats and songbirds. Although the lough may seem small, it is overflowing with biodiversity.

Trail entrance

The lough can be accessed from Lough Road and Hartland’s Avenue.

Trail length

There is an “inner” trail close to the edge of the lough and an “outer” path that follows the main footpaths. The loop is roughly 1 km in length.

Notable Wildlife


Scientific name: Fulica atra

Irish name: Cearc cheannann

Common resident freshwater bird that is very similar in appearance to a Moorhen but with a distinct white forehead and bill. Nests in large, shallow water bodies such as lakes, ponds, coastal estuaries, and river systems.


Scientific name: Anas clypeata

Irish name: Spadalach

Medium sized duck named for its long, broad bill. Resident and winter migrant most seen between October and March. Prefers shallow freshwater systems that are rich in zooplankton, including coastal estuaries, lakes and turloughs.

Black poplar

Scientific name: Populus nigra

Irish name: Poibleóg dhubh

Native Irish tree but sparsely distributed across the country. Found mostly in moist sites such as woodlands near a river floodplain. Grows up to 35 metres tall and can live over 200 years old.

Leisler’s bat

Scientific name: Nyctalus leisleri

Irish name: Ialtóg Leisler

Ireland’s biggest bat. Often found roosting in buildings. Emerges early in the evening and can be seen flying over open spaces such as fields as it hunts for beetles. Rare in Britain and Europe but relatively common in Ireland, making the Irish population of great international importance.

Brown long-eared bat

Scientific name: Plecotus auritus

Irish name: ialtóg fhad-chluasach

Very distinctive large ears. Probably quite common but rarely seen as they prefer to forage amongst the foliage in woodlands. Regularly found roosting in buildings.

Daubenton’s bat

Scientific name: Myotis daubentonii

Irish name: Ialtóg uisce (‘water bat’)

Strongly associated with water as it can often be seen flying very low over the surface of lakes and rivers, as seen at The Lough. This bat is even capable of swimming if it accidentally lands in the water. Usually roosts under bridges, canal tunnels and damp caves.