Ballinesker Beach is one of the better-known beaches in Wexford.
The fact that it featured in the blockbuster movie ‘Saving Private Ryan’ staring Tom Hanks maaaay have helped!
Hollywood aside, Ballinesker Beach is a glorious spot for a stroll and there’s plenty to see and do around it.
In the guide below, you’ll find info on parking, swimming, toilets and what to look out for while you’re there.
Some quick need-to-knows before visiting Ballinesker Beach
Although a visit to Ballinesker Beach in County Wexford is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
Sitting above the famous Curracloe Beach, a 17-minute drive north of Wexford, Ballinesker Beach faces the Irish Sea on the east coast of Ireland. It’s a 15-minute drive from Wexford Town and a 30-minute drive from Enniscorthy
There is a small car park, about 200-meters off the R742, that provides convenient parking and access to Ballinesker Beach (here on Google Maps). There are parking spaces for up to 50 cars, plus 2 disabled parking spots. There is a short sandy path, approximately 35-meters long, which leads from the car park to the beach itself.
A large toilet block is located at the entrance to the car park, with both male and female toilets available, and they’re open full time over summer and long weekends. However, there are no defined accessible toilets, and access is via flights of stairs.
Ballinesker Beach is an ideal beach to enjoy a dip, once you use caution. The beach is a ‘Blue Flag’ beach, meaning it has been identified as meeting stringent criteria for recreational usage. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer months.
5. Saving Private Ryan
If you think Ballinesker Beach looks familiar, you’d be right. This beach was the summer filming location for the 1998 Hollywood blockbuster, ‘Saving Private Ryan’. The beach was used as the setting to recreate the Allied landing on ‘Omaha’, on June 6th, 1944, in Normandy, France. Filming took 11 weeks and 1,500 people were involved.
6. Water safety (please read)
About Ballinesker Beach
Running from north to south, Ballinesker Beach is 3 miles long and made up of soft golden sand. With native grasses and sand dunes between the car park and the main beach, the beach forms part of an area identified as being a ‘Special Area of Conservation’.
With its easterly aspect, wind-blown soft sand, and protected dunes, the beach is often described as being perfect for bird watching, as it’s close to the Wexford Wildfowl Reserve.
If taking long beach strolls and collecting shells is more your thing, then you’re in luck. Ballinesker Beach is perfect to stride off into the distance, and many varieties of seashells can be collected from its sandy shoreline.
Things to do at Ballinesker Beach
There are plenty of things to do in and around Ballinesker Beach if you fancy making a morning or afternoon out of your visit.
1. Head for a ramble (or a paddle)
With 3-miles/4.8kms of beach to explore, there’s plenty of room for everyone to stretch their legs. Head in either direction, north or south, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by rolling green fields of the countryside, and the emerald waters of the Irish Sea.
This walk is a great opportunity for nature lovers, bird watchers, and beachcombers alike to make the most of the pristine sands and spectacular views.
2. Try your hand at surfing on nearby Curracloe Beach
Ever fancied hanging ten, or trimming the line? Then you should consider surfing at one of Ireland’s prime breaks. Just south of Ballinesker Beach, and you’ll find Curracloe Beach with its reputation for the best Irish surf.
If you’ve never surfed before, worry not; the nearby Surf Shack can sort you out with beginner’s lessons, private lessons, board or gear rental, or surfing accessories to replace your own equipment.
3. Or head for a stroll in Curracloe Forest
Feel like spending some more time in nature? Then head south to Raven Point Wood, near Curracloe, and wander through the forest, along the many trails, and take in the stunning views of Wexford Harbour.
Keep your eyes open though, as you could see red squirrels, grey seals, and lots of other wildlife in the woodland! During twilight in winter, geese often fly overhead as they head south, but do take a torch, as there’s no lighting back to the car park!
Things to do near Ballinesker Beach
One of the beauties of Ballinesker Beach is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best things to do in Wexford.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Ballinesker.
1. Talbot Lake and Nature Walk (15-minute drive)
If you enjoyed your stroll through Curracloe Forest, you might also enjoy taking in the nature walk at Talbot Lake. The waterway is home to many aquatic and amphibian residents, with surrounding fields and marshland offering sanctuary to smaller animals. There are picnic spots and a children’s playground.
2. Irish National Heritage Park (20-minute drive)
Head south from Ballinesker Beach, crossing over the River Slaney on the N11, and you’re on the doorstep of the Irish National Heritage Park. Bringing together interactive displays and a wealth of knowledge, there’s 9,000 years of Irish history for you to discover, including how the early Irish lived, fought, and created renowned art.
3. Forth Mountain (30-minute drive)
If you’re looking for brilliant walks in Wexford, point your nose in the direction of the towering form of Forth Mountain. Named for the ancient Celtic tribe who inhabited the area, this natural landmark is a great escape for those wanting to hike trails with spectacular views.
FAQs about visiting Ballinesker Beach
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Is it worth a visit?’ (it is!) to ‘Was Saving Private Ryan filmed here?’ (it was).
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
Where was the beach scene filmed in Saving Private Ryan?
The beach scene in Saving Private Ryan was filmed aling Ballinesker Beach and Curracloe in Wexford.
Can you go swimming at Ballinesker Beach
Yes, but do keep in mind that lifeguards are only on duty in summer, so only enter the water if you’re a capable swimmer.
Katherine is an food and travel writer with family-roots in Ireland. She enjoys hitting the road at every given opportunity, and can often be found with an atlas and notebook to hand planning the next big trip.