This is one of those places that has managed to retain ‘hidden gem’ status, despite the immense natural beauty it boasts by the bucketload.
In the guide below, you’ll discover everything you need to know about visiting Silver Strand in Louisburgh, from parking and swimming to what to do nearby.
Some quick need-to-knows about Silver Strand Beach in Mayo
Although a visit to Silver Strand in Mayo 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!
Located on R378 at the entrance to Killary Fjord, the area around Silver Strand beach is important ecologically, and the beach itself received a Green Coast award in 2016 & 2018 for its cleanliness, natural beauty, and water quality. It’s one of those places reminiscent of that line “if you build it, they will come.” Even though it’s pretty remote, it can get busy during the summer months.
Access to the beach is along a single track which has plenty of lay-bys and is well-surfaced. The car park has ample parking and public toilets right next to the beach, and even on the warmest of days, you shouldn’t have too much trouble parking.
There are pluses and minuses with such a remote beach; its beauty entices you to visit and go for a swim or a surf, but its remoteness, and lack of visitors, means there’s no lifeguard so you must be sensible about your swimming. Never go out in bad weather and, if in doubt, keep your feet on dry land.
4. Views galore
The Silver Strand is relatively sheltered, which makes for a relaxing interlude or day out. You have views to Inishturk Island, Inisbofin, the Caher Islands, and Clare Island and then to the mountainous landscape of Connaught. And if you’re still there as the sun goes down on a good day, you’ll be treated to a spectacular sunset.
About Silver Strand in Mayo
A uniquely beautiful beach, Silver Strand is remote, although easily accessible, and is the fitting cherry on the cake of an important ecological and archaeological area.
If you visit on a day when you have the whole place to yourself, you’re hit with the feeling that you’ve stepped back into an Ireland of ancient times.
You can walk for miles at low tide; just be sure to keep an eye out so you don’t get stuck when the tide rolls in – there’s no lifeguard here.
Thankfully, as you are on the Atlantic Coast, the weather doesn’t have to be great to enjoy this beach – a windy day makes you feel good to be alive, and even if it’s raining, it’s still very magical to feel in sync with the elements.
Things to do at Silver Strand
There’s plenty of things to do at Silver Strand Beach in Mayo, and there’s even more to do nearby (more on this later). Here’s some stuff to keep you busy:
1. Grab a coffee and head for a ramble
Check the tides, get yourself a coffee or stock up for a picnic and head to the beach for the day. There are miles of sand when the tide is out and lots of places where you can explore.
The dunes are particularly interesting with plants and wildlife; you might even see a hare – although you’d have to be quick!
Fly a kite without worrying about overhead wires or kick a ball without worrying about it landing on someone else.
2. Hit the water
Swimmers and surfers love it here, but most are aware that there’s no lifeguard, so the onus is on you to be careful and cautious at all times.
Bring the dogs; they’ll love the water but be mindful of how clean everything is – leave nothing behind (this goes for when you visit any beaches in Mayo / Ireland in general).
3. Arrive at sunset and soak up the views
This part of the country is known for its beauty, a harsher, more striking beauty than the softer, greener East Coast.
As you drive along the narrow road leading to Silver Strand, the views over the Atlantic are a foretaste of things to come.
A landscape dotted with islands, boats going to and from, people fishing, it’s all happening out on the water while you watch from one of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland. If you can at all, stay for the sunset – your soul will thank you.
Things to do near Silver Strand
One of the beauties of Silver Strand Beach in Louisburgh is that it’s a stone’s throw from many of the best places to visit in Mayo.
Below, you’ll find places like the incredible Lost Valley and the gorgeous Doolough Valley to Inishturk, Clare Island and more.
1. The Lost Valley
The Lost Valley is protected under the European Habitats Directive due to its natural beauty and heritage. You can view the entrance to Killary Fjord (the only fjord in Ireland) and then visit the ruins of the famine village where people lived until The Great Hunger, the Irish Famine 1845 – 1852. You can even see potato ridges lying undisturbed; not lost is the irony of the potatoes growing again, but nobody left to harvest them.
2. Doolough Valley
Doolough Valley is perhaps best known for the tragedy that took place here during the Famine. The Valley is a driving route on a good road between Delphi and Louisburgh winding between imposing mountains and spectacular scenery for approximately 18km. It’s best experienced on the Louisburgh to Leenane drive or cycle.
3. Islands galore
There are hundreds of offshore and freshwater islands off the coast of County Mayo, but only a few are inhabited. You can take a spin over to Achill Island or grab a ferry to Inishturk Island or Clare Island (the largest of the islands) are accessible by ferry daily from Roonagh Pier.
The heritage town of Westport sits at the foot of Croagh Patrick, the destination for many barefoot pilgrims each year. While the town has historically been more famous for these pilgrimages, it’s also been quietly growing its appeal to tourists, both local and further afield. There are plenty of things to do in Westport while you’re there.
FAQs about visiting Silver Strand in Mayo
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from where to park at Silver Strand in Mayo to what 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 there parking at Silver Strand Beach in Mayo?
Yes, there’s a car park right next to the beach. Note: It’s busy at the weekends, especially when the weather is good.
Can you swim at Silver Strand in Louisburgh?
Yes, you can swim at Silver Strand, however, the beach is not patrolled by a lifeguard, so proper care is always required.
Is Silver Strand in Mayo worth visiting?
Yes. This is one of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland and it’s still a bit of a hidden gem, so it’s not mobbed with tourists.
Norah is a writer and self-publisher of fiction and non-fiction. She adores the excitement of unknown places and together with several locations in Ireland, has, over 21 years, made her home in London, The Hague and New Zealand, returning to Ireland with her Kiwi rescue dog Barney, in tow.