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11 Of The Best Beaches In Connemara

11 Of The Best Beaches In Connemara

There are some glorious beaches in Connemara.

And, while the beaches in Roundstone tend to steal much of the attention online, there’s many more sandy spots to explore.

From Ballyconneely Beach and Glassilaun to Mannin Bay and more, you’ll find the finest beaches in Connemara below

What we think are the best beaches in Connemara

The first section of our guide is packed with our favourite Connemara beaches (there’s plenty!).

Below, you’ll find everywhere from Dog’s Bay and Coral Strand to some of the more overlooked beaches in Connemara.

1. Dog’s Bay Beach

Dog's Bay

Photos via Shutterstock

If you’re dreaming of soft white sand, crystal clear water, and the tranquillity of a remote beach, it might be closer than you think.

There’s no need to fly to Bali, just jump in the car and head west to the gorgeous Dog’s Bay Beach. The amazingly bright white sand is actually not formed from rock like most beaches.

Instead, it’s the ground-up remains of thousands of seashells, resulting in its unique colour and texture. 

Boasting a mile of coastline that forms a horseshoe, the sheltered little bay enjoys wonderfully calm waters, making it a popular place for swimming, windsurfing, and kitesurfing.

There’s a small car park but not much else in terms of facilities. This is, in our opinion, the best beach in Connemara for good reason!

2. Trá an Dóilín

Trá an Dóilín Coral Beach

Photos courtesy Christian McLeod via Fáilte Ireland

You’ll find the stunning Trá an Dóilín (aka Coral Strand) over on the Carraroe Peninsula, and it’s arguably one of the most overlooked beaches in Galway.

Like several of the beaches above and below,  Trá an Dóilín looks like it belongs in a land far more topical, thanks to it’s white sand and turquoise water.

However, although at first glance it looks like the beach is made up of small corals, they’re actually fragments of hard seaweed called ‘maёrl’ which have been crushed by the waves and bleached by the sun.

As you can probably tell by the crystal clear waters, Trá an Dóilín is a Blue Flag beach and there are lifeguards on duty throughout the summer months.

3. Glassilaun Beach

Glassilaun Beach

Photos via Shutterstock

If you’re a sucker for beautiful scenery, Glassilaun Beach is a must. The mighty Mweelrea Mountain looms up in the background, while the grazing cows edge the hinterland.

In front of you, the wild Atlantic Ocean, dotted with tiny islands, rumbles and crashes. An amazing place for relaxing and taking in some of the best nature in Ireland, it’s a top spot for a little soul searching.

Sunsets are magical, painting the landscape a rich orange as the sun slips into the sea for the night.

The horseshoe-shaped bay boasts beautiful soft sands bordered by craggy cliffs at one end. Here you’ll find plenty of rock pools and the occasional cave to examine.

There’s a pretty big car park, complete with portaloos, which offers ample parking. There are few Connemara beaches as picture-perfect as Glassilaun.

4. Gurteen Bay

Gurteen

Photos via Shutterstock

The second of the ‘main’ Roundstone beaches, the horseshoe-shaped Gurteen Bay is a magnificent white sandu beach. It shares the same crushed seashell sand and sheltered crystal clear seas.

The car park is slightly larger, and there’s also a campsite, making this just marginally busier than its cousin. You might not see the sunset into the sea here, but it’s great for sunrise, and the views out to the island of Inishlacken are amazing.

The scenery is absolutely stunning and it’s not uncommon to see folk setting up easels to capture it!

5. Renvyle Beach

Renvyle

Photos via Shutterstock

It’s always worth driving out to the peace and tranquillity of the sandy Renvyle Beach and the drive around the Connemara Loop is simply stunning.

The secluded bay enjoys incredible scenery, taking in mountains, islands, and the wild ocean. You’ll get some amazing sunsets from the sandy beach, as well as smashing views over Clare and Inishturk islands.

The pristine white sands and cool, blue waters look stunning all year round. The backdrop changes from season to season, with snow-capped mountains in winter and vivid greens in summer.

There’s a small car park at the edge of the beach, but no other facilities. Despite that, it’s a firm favourite in terms of relaxing getaways and gorgeous scenery.

6. Mannin Bay’s beaches

Mannin Bay

Photos via Shutterstock

The Mannin Bay Blueway is home to some of the most impressive beaches in Connemara – Coral Strand (yep, another one!) and Ballyconneely Bay Beach.

If the name ‘Coral Strand’ didn’t give it away, what looks like sand from a distance is actually much more interesting up close. It’s actually calcified seaweed, a form of coral that has been ground down into a coarse sand-like substance.

As such, it’s a fantastic place for fossil hunting. The clear turquoise waters are nice and calm, perfect for swimming and paddling, but also popular for snorkelling and kayaking.

You’ll find parking on the road, but not much else in terms of facilities.

7. Omey Strand

Omey Island

Photos via Shutterstock

Looking for a beach with a difference? Omey Strand is well worth checking out! However, it’s one of the more unique beaches in Connemara and comes with a warning!

A gorgeous sandy beach, it looks out to the nearby Omey Island. But, when the tide is out, a causeway is revealed, making it possible to walk, or even drive, to the island from the beach.

Be careful to check the tide times, but if you time it right, you can have a lot of fun and take in some great sights. Besides the walk to the island, it’s a popular spot for wind and kitesurfing, horse riding, or simply relaxing and enjoying the views.

The surrounding countryside, both on the mainland and on Omey Island, is moody yet peaceful, transporting you to a magical place.

8. Silverstrand Beach Barna

Silver Strand Galway

Photos with thanks to Chaosheng Zhang

Silverstrand Blue Flag Beach is just a short drive from Galway City in the seaside town of Barna. Facing Galway Bay, it offers up fantastic views out to sea and across the Aran Islands, and is a superb place to catch the sunset.

At around 250 metres in length, it’s not the longest beach in the world, and the white sands are bordered by craggy rocks and cliffs.

The beach enjoys shallow waters that are safe for swimming and are lifeguard patrolled daily throughout July and August, and at weekends in June.

It’s also a top spot for exploring rock pools and caves, while wind and kitesurfing are also popular activities.

There’s plenty of parking, with space for up to 60 cars or so, and there are excellent facilities, such as toilets, picnic benches, and changing facilities.

9. Trá Inis Oirr (Inisheer Green Coast Beach)

inis oirr beach

Photos via Shutterstock

Inis Oirr Beach looks as though it was cut out of the Mediterranean and dropped onto the Aran Island of Inisheer!

Stunning bleached white sands and crystal clear azure waters, if it wasn’t so cold you’d think you really were on the Med!

The short stretch of sand is a contrast to the rest of the island’s craggy, rocky shores, but it’s a welcome break and a superb place to relax.

There’s plenty of room for walking and sandcastles, while the rocks that border the beach are ideal for rock pooling.

In fact, the area is teeming with marine life, including a very friendly dolphin, crabs, shrimps, seabirds, and much more.

10. An Trá Mhór

An Trá Mhór Inverin

Photo courtesy Christian McLeod via Ireland’s Content Pool

Arguably the most overlooked of the many Connemara beaches, this is a small rural beach not too far from the villages of Inverin and Cathair.

It boasts a decent stretch of sheltered shoreline, with gorgeous yellow sands and clear blue waters. It’s a fine spot for walking  and has a lifeguard service during the summer months.

You’ll find a decent car park, plus excellent, regularly cleaned facilities like toilets, showers, and changing areas.

It looks out across Galway Bay all the way to County Clare and the Burren on the opposite shoreline, and offers up some beautiful sunsets at the end of the day.

11. Moyrus Beach

With mountains in the distance and islands just off the coast, Moyrus Beach is another great place to capture some amazing scenery.

As you drive down the narrow country lane, the blue waters open up, while two strips of stunning, white sandy beach roll out beside you. Once again, you could be mistaken for thinking you had been teleported to Greece or Italy.

A lovely, calm beach, it’s a great place to enjoy the sun, build sandcastles, and enjoy a paddle. There are also plenty of places to check out rockpools, and next door you’ll discover an old graveyard.

Dry stone walls separate the beach from vivid green fields, and it’s an amazing place to stop and breathe, letting the stresses of everyday life melt away.

12. Dumhach Beach

Inishbofin Island

Photos via Shutterstock

Inishbofin Island is a stunning place to visit, with a lovely ferry ride over. If you find yourself on the island and you’re craving a little beach action, you’ve got a couple to choose from.

For us, the less crowded Dumhach is up there as one of the best beaches in Connemara. Situated on the southeastern shore of the island, it boasts a long stretch of white sandy beach, with crystal clear, azure blue waters lapping at the coast.

The views out to sea take in the nearby Inishlyon Island, and beyond that, the rolling hills and mountains of the mainland.

It’s a great beach for walking, and with the tide out you can almost reach Inishlyon. Along the way, you’ll come across plenty of rock pools to examine.

13. Lettergesh

Lettergesh Beach

Photos via Shutterstock

I’m going to round-off our Connemara beaches guide with the brilliant Lettergesh Beach on the edge of the Renvyle Peninsula.

The crystal clear Atlantic Ocean laps at the gorgeous golden sands, while Mweerlea Mountain looms in the background.

Seldom busy outside of the summer months, the grassy hinterland is home to a flock of sheep, bleating in the background, somewhat in juxtaposition to the gentle splashing of the sea and caws of sea birds.

A fairly sheltered bay, the cool, blue waters are tempting and many people do swim here. It is worth noting, however, that there’s no lifeguard service on the beach.

What Connemara beaches have we missed?

I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant beaches in Connemara from the guide above.

If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!

Connemara beach FAQs

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Which are the cleanest?’ to ‘Which are good for a paddle?’.

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.

What are the best beaches in Connemara?

In our opinion, it’s hard to beat Glassilaun Beach, Trá an Dóilín and Dog’s Bay Beach.

What Connemara beaches have a Blue Flag?

Renvyle Beach, Silverstrand and Trá an Dóilín are three popular Blue Flag beaches in Connemara.

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