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Foreshore - Frequently asked questions

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What is the foreshore?

The foreshore of Ireland is classed as the land and seabed between the high water of ordinary or medium tides (shown HWM on Ordnance Survey maps) and the twelve-mile limit (12 nautical miles equals approximately 22.24 kilometers). Foreshore also covers tidal areas of rivers particularly estuaries.

Who owns the foreshore?

All the foreshore of Ireland is presumed to be owned by the State unless valid alternative title is provided.

What is the difference between a Foreshore Lease and Licence?

A lease is generally issued for a development that requires exclusive occupation of the foreshore. Developments requiring a lease would include for example: jetties, bridges, piers, marinas, offshore windfarms and reclamation of any foreshore.

A licence is generally issued for a development that does not require exclusive occupation of the foreshore. Examples would include repair work, some coastal protection work, undersea pipelines, cables, site investigation works, dredging works and harvesting of wild seaweed.

How do I comment on a specific foreshore application?

All applications are publicly advertised by means of a newspaper notice and the application documents are made available locally and on the Department’s website.  Any person can submit comments on an application which will be considered in the Department’s assessment of the application.

Are there any special requirements to develop an offshore energy project such as an offshore windfarm or tidal or wave project?

In order to develop an offshore energy project (wind, wave, tidal, oil, gas) it is first necessary to obtain a foreshore site investigation licence to asses the suitability of the site for the intended renewable energy project.  Depending on the results of the site investigation, the applicant may then apply for a foreshore lease to develop and operate the project though it should be borne in mind that other consents also need to be acquired such as planning permission, consent from the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) etc. Pending a review of leasing policy with regard to offshore energy developments, applications for commercial ORE developments are not currently being accepted by the Department. Applications for site investigations and demonstration projects will be considered.

Do I have to pay for a foreshore lease/licence?

Yes, there is a charge for a lease or licence for all state-owned foreshore.

What conditions will be included in my lease/licence?

A standard lease or licence will be drawn up.  While the majority of the conditions will be standard the individual lease or licence will reflect the project that is the subject of the lease / licence.   A schedule to the lease / licence will include site-specific conditions.

What rights do owners of privately owned Foreshore have?

Section 10(2) of the Foreshore Act requires that Ministerial consent under the Act must be obtained prior to undertaking works on private foreshore.

Do I require planning permission even if I am only developing on the Foreshore?

Yes, developments on state or private foreshore adjoining the functional area of a Planning Authority require planning permission in addition to a foreshore consent.  Please note that depending upon the nature of the development/activity additional consents may be required from other statutory bodies e.g. a Waste Water Discharge Authorisation from the EPA.

Are other statutory consents required for development on the foreshore?

Yes, certain development types also require other statutory consents.

Do I need a foreshore licence/lease/permission to extract material (such as beach sand or seaweed) from the foreshore?


The proposed development is very minor or involves temporary occupation of the foreshore. Do I still need a consent under the Foreshore Act?

Yes. It must be remembered that the State as the owner of the foreshore in general and, in common with any other landowner, needs to consent to any activity on its land to ensure the foreshore is protected. The Department licences, for instance, such activities as horseracing and filming on the foreshore under Section 3.3 of the Foreshore Acts. The Laytown races are an example of the former and "Saving Private Ryan" of the latter.

Do moorings require foreshore consent?

Yes, moorings require a foreshore licence, where possible moorings will be licenced under section 3(3) of the Foreshore Act.  Applications for large conglomerations of moorings or those sited in sensitive areas may require more detailed review.

Is a foreshore consent required for seaweed harvesting?

Yes.  It should be noted that the granting of such a licence does not confer an exclusive right to harvest seaweed in the area the subject of the licence.

Can a lease be reassigned to a new owner?

Ministerial consent is required for any proposed reassignment.  Please contact Marine Planning and Foreshore Section  directly for more information.

Can a licence be reassigned to a new owner?

No.  Where this situation arises, the usual course of action is for the original licence to be extinguished and for the new owner to make an application for a new licence.

Do I need a foreshore licence to shoot on the foreshore?

No.  The National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs regulate shooting on the foreshore.  Please contact

How do I apply for a Foreshore Lease or Licence?

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The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage requires customers to provide certain personal data in order to carry out our legislative and administrative functions. The Department will treat all information and personal data that you provide as confidential, in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation and Data Protection legislation. Personal data may be exchanged with other Government Departments, local authorities, agencies under the aegis of the Department, or other public bodies, in certain circumstances where this is provided for by law. 

The Department's Data Protection Policy and Privacy Statements, which set out how we will use your personal data, as well as providing information regarding your rights as a data subject, are available on the Department’s website.  They are also available in hard copy upon request from the Data Protection Officer, Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Newtown Road, Wexford, email