Few beaches in Wexford attract the crowds like the brilliant Curracloe Beach.
Located a handy 15-minute spin from Wexford Town, Curracloe attracts crowds from far and wide during the summer months, however, it tends to be pretty quiet during the rest of the year.
Arguably best known from its appearance in both ‘Saving Private Ryan’ and ‘Brooklyn’, this is one of the better-known beaches in County Wexford, and it’s a fine spot for walking, swimming and surfing.
Below, you’ll find info on parking, toilets and what to look out for while you’re there. Dive on in!
Some quick need-to-knows before visiting Curracloe Beach
Although a visit to Curracloe Beach is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
You’ll find this sandy beach a couple of minutes away from Curracloe Village and a 15-minute drive from Wexford Town. The beach itself is in fact three smaller beaches, including two Blue Flag beaches; Ballinesker Beach (Blue Flag), Curracloe Beach (Blue Flag), and Colloton’s Gap Beach.
2. Three entrances
You can access the section of sand known as Curracloe via three different points: Ballinesker Beach, then head south, Curracloe Beach and its large car park, or via Colloton’s Gap Beach, which is more rustic with a long walk back to the main Raven Car Park.
There are several places to park at Curracloe. There’s the main car park (here on Google Maps), the car park at Ballinesker (here on Google Maps) or there’s two car parks at Colloton’s Gap (here and here).
There are two options for toilets; the closest to Curracloe Beach is at the car park, across from the Surf Shack. There’s also one in the car park at Ballinesker.
5. Hollywood links
Visitors to Curracloe Beach could be forgiven for having a sense of déjà vu, as the beach has played host to some of Hollywood’s biggest names. The beach is famous for scenes in the film ‘Saving Private Ryan’. The soft sands of Curracloe were used to recreate those of Omaha Beach in Normandy, during the D-Day landings. The same beach was also used for scenes from the movie ‘Brooklyn’, with Saoirse Ronan.
6. Water safety (please read)
About Curracloe Beach
Curracloe Beach, or Curracloe Strand as it’s also known, is one of Ireland’s most scenic beaches. Sitting northeast of Wexford, and just above The Raven and Curracloe Forest, the beach is a Mecca for bird watching, sea bathing, and seashell collecting.
The beach is made up of soft sand, often windswept as it faces the eastern side of the island, and is directly buffeted by winds from the Irish Sea. It is, however, noted for its pristine waters, and is ideal for those learning to surf, or who enjoy a dip in nature’s bathwater.
Curracloe, Ballinesker, and Colloton’s Gap Beach form one of the longest beaches in Ireland, stretching an impressive 7-miles/11-kilometres. The first two beaches are also marked Blue Flag beaches, with lifeguards during the summer months at White Gap.
Things to do at Curracloe Beach
Theres heaps of things to do in and around Curracloe Beach which make it a great destination for an active afternoon by the sea.
1. Head for a ramble (or a paddle)
Take advantage of the stunning scenery, and pristine waters, and stretch your legs with either a swim or a walk. Curracloe Beach is lovely and long, and you can extend your walk along the sand to Ballinesker.
These beaches are known as havens for wildlife and bird watching, so be sure to keep your eyes open to both the horizon and to the grass-covered sand dunes. For beachcombers, there are also a variety of seashells that can be collected from these beaches.
2. Try your hand at surfing
Ever fancied learning to surf? Then there’s no better break to learn on! Curracloe Beach is an ideal beginner’s beach, with gently breaking waves that provide just the right environment for all ages to hang-ten.
The Surf Shack is available to offer advice on local conditions, tutelage for either group or private lessons, beginner’s classes, equipment rental, or to supply accessories to keen surfers. You can also hire SUPs, sandboards, and more from them.
3. Explore the nearby Curracloe Forest
The walk to Raven Point is both easy and highly enjoyable. At 4.3miles/6.8kilometers for the return journey, it makes for a pleasant morning’s activity that allows for plenty of stops to take in the scenery.
The stroll wanders through thick woodland, with a rich variety of flora and fauna, including pine trees, grasses and mosses, red squirrels, grey seals, and geese flying south at twilight in winter.
The trailhead is located in the main car park, and it’s worth noting that there are no lights in the nature reserve, plan your visit during daylight hours.
4. Walk to Ballinesker Beach
Another option is to take the leisurely stroll from Curracloe Beach to Ballinesker Beach, where scenes from the 1998 film, Saving Private Ryan were shot.
Ballinesker Beach was turned into a filming location for nearly two months in the summer of 1997, while Hollywood transformed this section of Irish coastline into that of Omaha Beach, Normandy.
During Spielberg’s recreation of the famous D-Day Landings, the beach saw the arrival of around 1,500 crew and actors. It’s worth exploring this beach to gain a new perspective on filmmaking and the events of 1944.
Things to do near Curracloe Beach
One of the beauties of Curracloe 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 Curracloe.
1. Talbot Lake and Nature Walk (15-minute drive)
Another escape for nature lovers lies at the shores of Talbot Lake, and its very own nature walk. Situated just near the village of Kililla, this small lake offers visitors a peaceful respite from the world. It’s a quick 15-minute drive from Curracloe or only 20-minutes from Wexford city.
2. Irish National Heritage Park (20-minute drive)
Step back in time to Ireland and its early inhabitants, and discover the past like never before. At the Irish National Heritage Park you’ll be able to come face-to-face with replica Iron Age housing, just like the early Celts live in, and discover how they farmed the land in County Wexford.
3. Forth Mountain (30-minute drive)
Southwest of Wexford is Forth Mountain, and its spectacular hiking and views. The mountain trails are rough, so they’re best suited to those sure of foot or experienced, or stick to the path that takes in the nearby lake if you prefer. It’s one of several walks in Wexford that people tend to miss.
FAQs about visiting Curracloe Beach
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Was Saving Private Ryan filmed here?’ to ‘Where’s the easiest spot for parking?’.
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 in Curracloe?
Yes, Curracloe Beach is a popular spot for swimming, but do note that lifeguards are only on duty at White Gap during the summer, so only enter the water if you’re a capable swimmer.
Are there toilets at Curracloe Beach?
Yes, there’s toilets in the main car par, right across from The Surf Shack. There’s also toilets in nearby Ballinesker Beach car park.
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.