Ecological studies are being carried out in the Fingal area as part of the Greater Dublin Drainage project. These studies have found evidence of otter settlements in the area. There is only one type of otter in Ireland and these can be found on rivers and lakes along the coast.

There are several ways to recognise an otter’s presence in an area including:

  • Otters maintain numerous aboveground resting place or ‘couches’ as well as underground ‘holts’
  • Otters leave behind footprints which have five forward pointing toes with the webbing between the toes sometimes visible
  • Otters mark their territories with droppings called spraints, which have a distinctive pleasant smell often described as being similar to mown hay or jasmine tea!
  • Otter footprints with five forward pointing toes (courtesy of

The Greater Dublin Drainage project is not only needed to meet current and future economic, industrial and residential needs, it is also vital to the protection of the environment and to meet the EU Water Framework Directive standards. The Greater Dublin Drainage Project Team are currently undertaking technical studies on the three emerging preferred site options for the new regional wastewater treatment works and the associated orbital pipeline and outfall location. Keep checking our website for other interesting findings from these studies regarding the ecology and heritage of Fingal.