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Booley Bay Beach: A Guide To One Of Wexford’s Hidden Gems

Booley Bay Beach: A Guide To One Of Wexford’s Hidden Gems

The breath-taking Booley Bay Beach is one of a handful of beaches in Wexford that could go toe-to-toe with Ireland’s finest.

Sandy sunsets and gorgeous seclusion in one of Ireland’s most spectacular locations – yep, if you’re looking for an almost perfect beach then you could do a lot worse than Booley Bay!

The Hook Peninsula is full of unique sights but for some quiet time, there’s no better place than this alluring spot.

In the guide below, you’ll find info on swimming, things to do and parking (potentially a pain) at Booley Bay Beach.

Some quick need-to-knows about Booley Bay

booley beach

Photo courtesy of @dartzirl

Although a visit to Booley Bay Beach is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.

1. Location

Lying just north of the notorious Dollar Bay Beach (more on that later!) and looking out over the estuary to County Waterford, Booley Bay is part of the famous Hook Peninsula. It’s a 10-minute drive from Fethard-on-Sea, a 30-minute drive from New Ross, a 35-minute drive from Kilmore Quay and a 40-minute drive from Wexford Town.

2. Parking

You’ll find Booley Bay on a small road just off the L4045 (look for the brown signpost). There’s roadside parking (here on Google Maps) that fills up quick on fine summer days. Like many of the small roads around here, make sure you don’t block the road and give ample space for other drivers to move. 

3. Swimming

Although there are many reviews online to state that Booley Bay is a great spot for a swim, we can’t find any official information to confirm it. So, despite the fact that this beach boasts a Green Coast award for the standard of its water quality, you should check locally before entering the water, just to be safe.

4. Water safety (please read)

Understanding water safety is absolutely crucial when visiting beaches in Ireland. Please take a minute to read these water safety tips. Cheers!

About Booley Bay Beach

Booley Bay Wexford

Photo left: @dartzirl. Right: @aisling_ashpash

The Hook Peninsula is one of Wexford’s most popular spots and gets busy during the summer months due to all of its well-known sights, yet Booley Bay is a welcome break from all of that attention. 

Yet Booley Bay is also home to some of the peninsula’s most unique geology. With sandstone and shale rocks around 500 million years old, they date from a time period when Ireland would have been completely underwater! 

Another interesting feature found in Booley Bay is what’s known as Elephant Skin Mottling,  said to be related to microbial mat development – some of the earliest known life forms on the planet!

Things to do at Booley Bay

There’s plenty to see and do in and around Booley Bay Beach that makes it the perfect destination for a morning or afternoon by the sea.

1. Flick off your shoes and head for a paddle

As one of Wexford’s most secluded beaches, you’ll pretty much have the run of the place when you arrive! So kick off your shoes and do as you please on Booley Bay’s golden sandy shores. Go for a little ramble and take in the beautiful estuary views, before heading down to the water for a paddle, or, if you’re feeling brave, getting in for a proper swim. 

When you’re done with the sand and the sea, go and have a closer look at those epic rock formations (and maybe try to picture an entirely submerged Ireland – it’s pretty weird thinking about it!). 

2. Walk to nearby Dollar Bay

There’s a good reason why beautiful Dollar Bay has its intriguing name! Following a violent mutiny on a ship making its way back from Spain in 1765, the mutineers capsized the ship and made off with a load of gold when they landed at Dollar Bay.

Thankfully, they were eventually caught but the myth persists that they took too much treasure to carry so they buried the remains of it here…

One thing to note, however, when moving from Booley Bay to Dollar Bay – you’ll need to head back onto the road and walk around to reach it (not something that’s immediately obvious on maps, despite their proximity). 

3. Then head off on the Ring of Hook drive

Though most people will probably think of the famous Hook Lighthouse when they visit this stunning part of Wexford, there’s actually a ton of sights to see here and the best way of seeing them all is strapping in for the Ring of Hook Drive!

Starting just north of Tintern Abbey, the Ring of Hook drive winds down to Hook Lighthouse before meandering back up north and looping back around to the beginning.

The drive can actually be completed in space of an hour if you’re really pushed for time, but we’d recommend taking it slowly and using half a day or a whole day to appreciate the area’s majesty.

Places to visit near Booley Bay Beach

One of the beauties of Booley Bay Beach is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best places to visit in Wexford.

Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Booley Bay.

1. Duncannon Beach and fort (5-minute drive)

Duncannon Beach

Photos via Shutterstock

Just a 5-minute drive from Booley Bay, Duncannon Fort is a star fort that was constructed strategically to defend Waterford from possible invasion by the Spanish Armada, believe it or not! Dating all the way back to 1587, it’s a fascinating military sight but bear in mind that it’s only open for tours during the summer. 

2. Loftus Hall (10-minute drive)

loftus hall

Photos via Shutterstock

Once attacked and damaged during the Irish Confederate Wars of the 17th century, the famous Loftus Hall on the western side of the Hook Peninsula is easy to spot on the drive down. Only a 10-minute drive from Booley Bay, it’s better known these days as a haunted house (which perhaps isn’t surprising considering it dates back to the 14th century!). 

3. Hook Lighthouse (15-minute drive)

hook lighthouse

Photos via Shutterstock

And, of course, it would be criminal to visit the Hook Peninsula and not see this iconic lighthouse. Situated at the very tip of the peninsula, the Hook Lighthouse is around a 15-minute drive from Booley Bay and, considering it’s the second-oldest operating lighthouse in the world, is worth every moment of that drive down!

FAQs about visiting Booley Bay Beach

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Where do you park?’ to ‘What is there to see nearby?’.

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.

Is parking at Booley Bay Beach really a pain?

During the summer months, it can be, as there’s no dedicated parking area. In the off-season, you shouldn’t have much trouble getting a space.

Can you swim at Booley Bay Beach?

Despite considerable effort, we can’t find any official info stating that it’s safe to swim here, so check locally when you arrive.

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