A stroll along the mighty Mullaghmore Beach is one of my favourite things to do in Sligo.
The beautiful beach at Mullaghmore seems to stretch forever around the sheltered bay on Sligo’s north west coast.
Although it’s very popular during summer, swimmers, surfers and walkers visit Mullaghmore right the way through the year.
If you’re planning a visit, you’ll find info on everything from swimming on Mullaghmore Beach to where to park when you’re there below.
Some quick need-to-knows before you visit Mullaghmore Beach in Sligo
Although a visit to Mullaghmore Beach in Sligo is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
Water safety warning: Understanding water safety is absolutely crucial when visiting beaches in Ireland. Please take a minute to read these water safety tips. Cheers!
Mullaghmore Beach stretches south of town along the edge of the sheltered bay on Ireland’s north west coast. It’s a 15-minute drive from Bundoran, 20 minutes from Drumcliffe, 25 minutes from Sligo Town, 30 minutes from Rosses Point and 40 minutes from Strandhill.
2. Parking (and potential mayhem!)
Parking for the Mullaghmore Beach is next to the beach here and a little bit further down the road, here. While there is quite a bit of room there, on warm sunny days and especially on the weekend, you should expect a decent crowd. This means parking may be a little difficult so you might have to head into town and walk a little further.
The sheltered water of the bay makes Mullaghmore Beach perfect for swimming and other water activities. There are lifeguards on duty every day from June to September, with life buoys available on the beach.
About Mullaghmore Beach
Mullaghmore Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Sligo. This is a long strip of sand stretching for 3km along the coast of the crescent-shaped bay on Mullaghmore Head. The beach is made up of impressive sand dunes with views back towards the mountains in the distance.
The protected bay makes it a nice place to head for a swim, windsurf, stroll or sunbathe (on those rare occasions when sunbathing is feasible…).
It’s a particularly popular place to head for families during the summer, as it’s just a short drive from Sligo Town. If you’re more of a surfer, the waves on the other side of Mullaghmore Head are particularly notorious and known for producing some big waves.
You need to be an experienced big wave surfer before you venture in the water there. Being close to the small town of Mullaghmore, you can find facilities, including pubs, restaurants, shops and hotels conveniently nearby to the beach.
Things to do at Mullaghmore Beach
One of the beauties of the beach in Mullaghmore is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best things to do in Sligo.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Mullaghmore Beach (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. Grab something tasty from Eithna’s and eat it on the sand
The best place to grab some food in town is at the award-winning Eithna’s By The Sea restaurant. Overlooking the harbour in Mullaghmore, it’s known for its delicious seafood sourced locally and fresh every day. You can easily grab some take away and head down to the sand for a beach picnic on a warm sunny day.
2. Head for an early morning ramble and soak up the sunrise
The relaxing bay of Mullaghmore Beach makes it the perfect place to head early in the morning for a ramble along the sand. The beautiful blue flag beach is at its quietest before the day trippers have arrived, and the stunning sunrise from the beach is certainly a memorable start to the day.
3. Or brave the chilly water with a paddle
While the water might not exactly be warm, the calmness of the bay makes it ideal for a swim. Brave the cold water and jump into the water for a refreshing dip. Keep in mind that lifeguards are only on duty during the summer months. The beach is also popular with windsurfers and kayaks, if you want to try some other water activities.
4. Enjoy a drink with a view at the Pier Head
Perhaps the most ideal summer activity is sipping on a beer at a bar overlooking the ocean and at Pier Head Hotel that’s exactly what you can do. The hotel is home to the Quay Bar overlooking the harbour in Mullaghmore town.
They serve a nice pint of Guinness and you can even stay for dinner, with outdoor seating in front of the harbour. They also have live music on weekends on occasion, if you’re staying in town overnight.
Things to do near Mullaghmore Beach
Another great reason to visit Mullaghmore Beach is that it’s a short spin away from some of the best places to visit in Sligo.
Below, you’ll find everything from the Mullaghmore Head walk and a waterfall, to hikes, walks and much more.
1. The Mullaghmore Head walk
For those keen to explore on foot, you can head out on the 8km loop walk around Mullaghmore Head. The trail uses a combination of footpaths and rural roads around the coast from town. Along the way you can catch a glimpse of some of the most incredible views of the area. Looking along the coast you can enjoy views of Donegal and Slieve League as well as Benbulben mountain.
2. Classiebawn Castle
You’ll likely spot the incredibly picturesque Classiebawn Castle outside of Mullaghmore town. Built by Lord Palmerston in the 18th century, the impressive fairy-tale like place overlooks the coast with an incredible backdrop of the Dartry Mountains. The sad news is that it’s privately owned and closed to the public, but you can still get a few nice snaps from the road leading past it.
3. Gleniff Horsehoe Drive
One of the most scenic drives in Sligo, the Gleniff Horseshoe Drive short but stunning single lane road travels for 9km between Bundoran and Sligo off the N15 road. Being just south of Mullaghmore Beach, it is worth the detour for the outstanding views of Tieve Baun, Truskmore, Benwiskin and Benbulben. There are few walks in Sligo as fine as this one.
4. Glencar Waterfall
Just half an hour away from Mullaghmore Beach, you can find the 15m-high Glencar Waterfall which famously inspired the poet William Butler Yeats. It’s a magical walk from the carpark to a viewing platform through the forest to see the tumble of water. The Devil’s Chimney is nearby, too.
FAQs about visiting the beach in Mullaghmore
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Can you swim in Mullaghmore?’ to what to do 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.
Can you swim in Mullaghmore Beach?
Yes – the sheltered water of the bay makes Mullaghmore Beach a popular spot for swimming. Always use caution when entering the water.
How long is Mullaghmore Beach?
The beach here stretches for around 3km. Grab a coffee from Eithna’s By The Sea and head for a long ramble along the sand.
Is there much to do nearby?
You can do the coastal walk to Mullaghmore Head, enjoy a meal with a view at the Pier Head or visit one of the many nearby attractions.
Elisha is a freelance writer, content creator and blogger and her work can be read in Lonely Planet, Remote Lands and Matador Network. You’ll usually find her travelling in offbeat places or hiking wherever there are mountains; always with a camera in hand.