Towered over by a lone slice of cliff, Silverstrand Beach is one of the more unique beaches in Galway.
And, when combined with a ramble in nearby Barna Woods, it makes for a fine spot for an active afternoon.
Below, you’ll find info on everything from parking and swimming to where to visit very close to Barna Beach.
Some quick need-to-knows about Silverstrand Beach
Although a visit to Silverstrand Beach in Galway is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
Barna Beach is, unsurprisingly enough, located next to the small seaside village of Barna on Galway Bay. It’s a 13-minute drive from the centre of Galway. It’s a 10-minute drive from Salthill and a 15-minute drive from both Spiddal and Galway City.
There is a fairly large car park directly behind the beach which has space for about 60 cars, with access via a short slipway (here on Google Maps). You’ll also find some handy public toilets in a concrete building at the centre of the car park.
Silverstrand Beach in Galway has Blue Flag status and is reputed to be one of the cleanest in the west and it’s popular amongst swimmers. There’s a lifeguard service from June until September. Note that in high tides the beach is largely covered.
About Silverstrand Beach in Barna
Silverstrand Beach in Galway is a lovely sandy stretch located around 6km west of the city with some stunning views across Galway Bay towards The Burren.
It’s not a particularly big beach and is only around 100 metres in length, although it feels more dramatic than it is with the presence of the looming cliff behind!
Located between two scatterings of rocks, Barna Beach is actually largely submerged at high tide, so it’s a good idea to check tidal tables before planning a visit.
The fact that Silverstrand is a lovely sandy beach means that it’s probably a better option for families than Salthill Beach nearer to Galway (assuming kids prefer sandy beaches over pebble beaches? I know I did!).
Galway Bay is home to tons of wildlife too so keep an eye out, particularly for birdlife and waterfowl. Brent Goose, Golden Plover and Tern will probably be the most likely culprits you’ll spot nearby!
Things to do at Silverstrand Beach Barna
There’s a handful of things to do in and around Silverstrand Beach in Galway, if you fancy making a few hours out of your visit. Here are some suggestions:
1. Grab a coffee in Barna at Nourish
You can’t miss Nourish Coffee’s bright crimson exterior and you equally can’t miss out on their superb fresh coffees either! There’s no coffee stand at Silverstrand unfortunately, however this colourful spot in Barna is literally a 5-minute drive so your drink will still be piping hot by the time you hit the sand.
And you don’t just need to bring a drink either. Their tempting counter offers layers and layers of delightful-looking cakes and sweet treats, so if you’re feeling indulgent pick up a chocolate brownie or two! Once you’re sorted, head on over to the strand.
2. And then go for a ramble and a paddle
Make the short drive over to Silverstrand Beach and head onto the sand with your hot drink. And while this beach is officially quite small, that doesn’t mean you need to be confined to its 100 metres or so length.
Take note of the tide times and go for a stroll on the soft sands, with some cracking views across Galway Bay as you go. The waters of this Blue Flag beach are very clean so don’t be afraid to kick off your shoes and go a paddle either.
And being a south-facing beach too, the sunsets to the west are pretty epic so you’ll be in for a treat on a sunny summer evening!
Places to visit near Silverstrand Beach
One of the beauties of Barna Beach is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best places to visit in Galway.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Silverstrand (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. Barna Woods (2-minute drive)
Barna Woods are home to one of our favourite walks in Galway. It’s a short spin from the beach and it’s the perfect spot for a gentle pre-dinner ramble.
2. Galway City (13-minute drive)
There’s tons to see and do in vibrant Galway and it’s less than 15 minutes from Barna Beach! The European Capital of Culture for 2020 and Ireland’s 6th largest city, there’s some excellent restaurants in Galway (and there’s class pubs in Galway, too!).
3. Eilemental Activity Park (16-minute drive)
The great outdoors is all part of a visit to Ireland, though Eilemental Activity Park goes a little bit further than the a leisurely walk or hike! You’ll get put through your places at this spot just outside of Galway, where you can expect to get stuck into paintball, archery, laser tag and disc golf.
FAQs about Silverstrand Beach in Galway
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Is parking a hassle?’ to ‘Are dogs allowed?’.
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.
Where is Silver Strand Beach Ireland?
There are several – there’s one in Wicklow and one in Mayo. In this guide, we’re focusing on Silverstrand Beach in Galway (Barna).
Can you swim at Barna Beach?
If you’re a capable swimmer, yes. Please do note that there are only lifeguards present during the summer months.