Skip to Content

A Guide To Coral Strand (AKA Trá an Dóilín) In Carraroe

A Guide To Coral Strand (AKA Trá an Dóilín) In Carraroe

So, there are several beaches named ‘Coral Strand’ in Galway.

There’s the one over near the Mannin Bay Blueway and there’s the one on the Carraroe Peninsuala, also known as Trá an Dóilín.

It’s the latter that you’ll discover everything you need to know about below.

Some quick need-to-knows about Trá an Dóilín

Carraroe Beach

Photo via Shutterstock

Although a visit to Carraroe Beach is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.

1. Location

You’ll find Coral Beach on the western side of the Carraroe Peninsula in Connemara in County Galway. Coral Strand is just a 5-minute drive from the village of Carraroe, while the 45km drive from Galway City takes just under an hour. 

2. Parking

There’s a fairly small gravel car park at the end of the An Cheathrú Rua road that’s right next to the beach (here on Google Maps). It also has a few disabled parking spaces and there’s a public toilet in a stone building just behind the beach.

3. Swimming

As you can probably tell by the crystal clear waters, this is a Blue Flag beach and it is popular amongst swimmers. There are lifeguards on duty throughout the summer months and first aid points are available too.

4. Safety

Understanding water safety is absolutely crucial when visiting beaches in Ireland. Please take a minute to read these water safety tips. Cheers!

About Carraroe Beach

Carraroe Beach

Photos via Shutterstock

Few beaches in Galway have managed to retain a ‘hidden’ feel as much as this one.

While you might be wowed initially by the clear turquoise waters around Trá an Dóilín, it’s the ‘sand’ that’s the most intriguing aspect here.

Seaweed coral

What looks at first glance like small corals (hence the name!) are actually made up of fragments of hard seaweed called ‘maёrl’ which have been crushed by the waves and bleached by the sun.

And the sand isn’t really sand either, it’s ‘biogenic gravel’. Strange stuff! 

Views and a fine bit of culture

Coral Strand looks out across to the island of Gorumna in the Connemara region of County Galway. 

Speaking of Connemara, Coral Strand sits in one of Ireland’s predominantly Irish-speaking regions known as the Gaeltacht.

And according to figures from 2016, nearby Carraroe was a town with one of the highest percentages of daily Irish speakers in Ireland, with 61.6 percent stating that they spoke it daily.

So don’t be surprised if you hear Coral Strand referred to its Irish name of Trá an Dóilín!

Things to do at Trá an Dóilín

beach in Carraroe

Photo via Shutterstock

There’s a handful of things to do in and around Carraroe Beach if you’re planning a visit soon. Here are a couple of suggestions:

1. Kick off with a coffee from Bia Blasta

Coral Strand is a little too rural to have a cafe nearby but the handy village of Carraroe is just a 5-minute drive away and will easily do the trick. And that’s especially true if you hit up the bright purple facade of Bia Blasta

This lively spot is more than just a morning cafe and they offer tons of different food for whatever your needs are. From hearty breakfasts to fish and chips, there’s plenty to choose from and they even have a specials menu. 

But if you’re just here for a caffeine hit, then they’ll sort you out with one of their excellent coffees in no time. 

2. Then go for a ramble on the ‘sand’!

Make the short drive back to Coral Strand and head out onto the beach. When you get out onto the beach the coral will feel like fine gravel underfoot but on closer inspection you’ll be able to take a good look at the ‘maёrl’ that you’re actually walking on! 

The beach isn’t particularly big, but there are tons of rocks to clamber over and explore and that’s before we’ve even to the water. If the sun’s out, then I’d recommend kicking your shoes off and going for a paddle at the very least! 

This is a popular spot for watersports too, so don’t be surprised to see other folks swimming, snorkelling and paddleboarding.

Places to visit near Coral Strand

So, Trá an Dóilín is reasonably remote, and you’ll need to travel a bit if you want to get into the depths of Connemara.

However, there’s plenty of stunning scenery en route, and there’s plenty to see under a 1-hour drive away.

1. Beaches galore

Dog's Bay Beach

Photos via Shutterstock

There’s a clatter of beaches within driving distance of Trá an Dóilín that you can visit while exploring Connemara. Here are our favourites:

2. Kylemore Abbey (1-hour drive)

Kylemore Abbey Galway

Photos via Shutterstock

Arguably one of Galway’s best-known attractions, Kylemore Abbey truly is a sight to behold. You can walk around the grounds and explore this fair-tail-like structure on a self-guided tour.

3. Clifden (50-minute drive)

sky road

Photos via Shutterstock

There’s endless things to do in Clifden, from Clifden Castle and the Sky Road to endless restaurants, lively pubs and plenty more.

FAQs about Carraroe Beach

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Is there much parking?’ to ‘Can you swim there?’.

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 Tra an Doilin?

You’ll find Trá an Dóilín on the Carraroe Peninsula where it has an almost tropical feel to it. There’s a little bit of parking and there are lifeguards on duty during summer.

Can you swim at Coral Strand in Carraroe?

If you’re a capable swimmer, yes. Please do note that lifeguards are only on duty during the summer season.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.