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Keel Beach On Achill: Parking, Swimming + Things To Do

Keel Beach On Achill: Parking, Swimming + Things To Do

Keel Beach is one of the more popular beaches on Achill Island.

However, while this is a Blue Flag Beach, you need to keep an eye out for the designated swimming areas.

Below, you’ll find info on everything from where to park to what to see nearby. Dive on in!

Some quick need-to-knows about Keel Beach

keel on achill

Photo via Shutterstock

Keel Beach offers something for everyone. But before you start waxing your surfboard, let’s go over the basics.

1. Location

Keel Beach sits on the western edge of Achill Island, County Mayo, just outside the village of Keel. Achill is Ireland’s largest island, sitting off the west coast of County Mayo and facing out to the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a 35-minute drive from Mulranny and a 1-hour drive from Westport.

2. Parking

There’s plenty of parking at Keel Beach, with a main beach car park (here on Google Maps) and several alternative areas throughout the village. The main car park boasts well-maintained public toilets, picnic benches, and numerous food trucks.

3. Swimming

Blue Flag certified Keel Beach enjoys fantastic water quality, as well as a seasonal lifeguard service, making it a great spot for swimming. Be sure to check the information board for lifeguard times and only swim in the designated area. Be warned, the eastern half of the beach has strong currents and isn’t suitable for swimming!

4. Surfing

Keel Beach is also a superb place to enjoy a wealth of watersports, including surfing, kayaking, and kitesurfing. If you’ve got your own gear, it’s a top beach for surfers of all levels. There’s also surf and wetsuit hire, as well as a popular surf school on the beach for anyone who’d like to give it a go.

5. Part of the Atlantic Drive

The Atlantic Drive is a fantastic road that takes in some of Achill Island’s best sights and attractions. Along the way, you’ll pass right by Keel Beach and it’d be a crime to miss it! It’s a fantastic spot to stretch your legs, take a dip, or simply soak up the magnificent views.

About Keel Beach

keel beach achill

Photos via Shutterstock

Keel Beach, also known as Trawmore Strand, is perhaps Achill Island’s most well-known and most-photographed beach. There’s a pretty good reason for that too.

The gorgeous sandy beach stretches in a slight arc for around 3.5 km between the village of Keel and Dookinella at the foot of the Minaun Cliffs.

Views and rambles

The soft white sands meet a stunning azure sea, all bordered by rolling green hills and craggy cliffs. It’s a picture perfect bay that is popular for a whole host of different activities.

The Blue Flag beach is long enough for a good walk, safe for swimming, and an amazing spot for watersports. Feel like relaxing? Simply sitting and enjoying the fantastic views while soaking up the sunshine is a wonderful experience, especially if you catch the sunset.

Watersports galore

Keel is a haven for watersports. If you fancy giving surfing a bash, head over to the folks at Blackfield Watersports.

You can also try stand up paddle boarding and take surf lessons with the folks at Achill Surf.

Fantastic Amenities

You’ll find plenty of parking at Keel Beach, as well as clean toilets, plenty of bins, and numerous picnic tables.

There are also some fantastic food, ice cream, and coffee stations just behind the beach. 


There’s a large, well-equipped campsite right next to the beach, an ideal place to pitch a tent or park the campervan.

If you’re looking for a surfing holiday, it’s hard to beat this place for location. Just wake up in the morning, grab your board, and hit the waves!

Things to do near Keel Beach

One of the beauties of Keel is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best things to do in Achill.

Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Keel (see our Achill restaurants guide if you’re feeling peckish!).

1. Minaun Heights (20-minute drive)

Minaun Heights Achill

Photos via Shutterstock

If you want a fantastic birds eye view of Keel Beach, take a spin up to Minaun Heights. They’re not the tallest peaks on the island, but they do offer some of the best panoramic views over the landscape. You can drive almost all the way to the top and park up in the car park, before walking to the cliffs and highest point.

2. Keem Beach (15-minute drive)

keem bay

Photos via Shutterstock

Sitting at the northwestern tip of Achill Island, you’ll find the stunning Keem Beach. This one is also easily mistaken for a tropical paradise, with golden sands, turquoise waters, rolling green hills, and looming cliffs in the background.

3. The Croaghaun Hike (starts from Keem)

highest cliffs ireland

Photo by Junk Culture/

Want to see the highest sea cliffs in Ireland? Head to Keem and check out this hike that takes you along Ireland’s tallest sea cliffs. At 687 metres high, they tower above the ocean, which crashes below. It’s a tough hike, and not recommended for beginners, but if you manage it you’ll be rewarded with superb views.

FAQs about Keel

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘How long is it?’ to ‘Where can you park?’.

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 Keel beach?

Yes, but please note that lifeguards are only on duty during summer and that there are designated areas for swimming.

Where is Keel Beach?

You’ll find the 3km-long Keel on Achill Island, around a 20-minute drive from Achill Sound (where you enter the island).

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