Bishops Quarter Beach (AKA Ballyvaughan Beach) is just about the last beach in Clare.
It’s a stoney beach with toilets and lifeguards on duty during the summer months.
In the guide below, you’ll find info on parking, swimming and what to see nearby.
Some quick need-to-knows about Bishops Quarter Beach
Although a visit to Ballyvaughan Beach is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
Bishops Quarter Beach is located just outside of the village of Ballyvaughan in Clare. To find the beach, take the N67 from Ballyvaughan towards Kinvara. About 2km outside the village turn left onto a small country road. While remote, the beach is well signposted and relatively easy to find.
Bishops Quarter Beach has a large car park just above the beach (here on Google Maps). The beach and carpark are accessed by a well signposted but narrow road off of the N67. Unfortunately, the beach is not accessible via public transportation.
The beach was awarded the Green Coast Award in 2022 in recognition for the beach’s water quality and clean environment. The beach is generally safe to swim at if you’re a capable swimmer and is a popular bathing destination during the summer. There are lifeguards on duty every day from July through August.
About Bishops Quarter Beach
Bishops Quarter Beach is located at the north tip of County Clare, at the very edge of the Burren.
The beach sits in a semi sheltered cove looking out onto Galway Bay towards the village of Spiddal which is located just across the water.
A rocky beach
Much like the incredible karst landscape of the Burren, Ballyvaughan Beach is a rocky beach with more rocks than sand.
While the beach is beautiful to walk on, we recommend doing so while wearing shoes as the rocks can be a little uncomfortable under bare feet.
Paddlers may also want to wear water shoes when entering the water as the sea floor can be very rocky as well.
Swimming and leave no trace
Despite the rocks, the beach is a very popular swim spot with lifeguards on duty from 11:00 to 19:00 every day from July through August (times may change).
TheIt seems like Clare County Council has been doing a good job of adding amenities to popular swim destinations like Bishops Quarter in recent years and it looks like toilets and bins are set up at the beach during the swim season.
As always though, make sure to clean up after yourself and if for some reason there are no bins, always take your rubbish with you when you leave.
Things to do near Bishops Quarter Beach
One of the beauties of Ballyvaughan Beach is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best places to visit in Clare.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Bishops Quarter (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. Food in Ballyvaughan (5-minute drive)
If you are looking for a great lunch spot, head to The Larder. This little café serves an excellent cup of coffee along with homemade pastries, pizza and other treats perfect for a takeaway picnic. If you are looking to sample the local seafood, head to Monks located on the pier for delicious seafood with a view of the harbour.
2. Ballyvaughan Wood Loop (5-minute drive)
The Ballyvaughan Wood Loop is an 8km loop starting in the village of Ballyvaughan that takes walkers out through the Burren on small country roads and through idyllic woodlands to Aillwee Cave before looping back to the village. The walk is considered to be a moderate walk and generally takes walkers around 2 hours to complete.
3. Aillwee Cave (10-minute drive)
Aillwee Cave is one of the most magnificent cave systems in the Burren. This cave gives visitors an idea of what the incredible karst landscape of the area looks like from underground. Guided tours last around 35 minutes and tickets cost €24 for adults, €14 for children, and €22 for students and seniors.
FAQs about Ballyvaughan Beach
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Is this the closest to Ballyvaughan?’ to ‘What’s parking like?’.
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.
Can you swim at Bishop’s Quarter Beach?
Yes, once you’re a capable swimmer and conditions are good. Please do note, however, that lifeguards are only on duty during summer, so always use caution.
Is Ballyvaughan Beach worth visiting?
If we had a choice, we’d keep driving on towards Fanore Beach. It’s only a 20-minute drive and it’s a much more impressive beach, in our opinion.