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A Guide To Valentia Island Beach (Glanleam Beach)

A Guide To Valentia Island Beach (Glanleam Beach)

Valentia Island Beach, aka ‘Glanleam Beach’, is a bit of a hidden gem.

In fact, you’ll rarely see it in guides on things to do on Valentia Island, as it’s tricky to walk to and parking..

Well… parking can be a nightmare. Below, you’ll discover everything you need to know.

Some quick need-to-knows about Valentia Island Beach

Glanleam Beach is trickier to get to than many of the beaches in Kerry, so it’s worth taking 20 seconds to read the below points:

1. Location

Valentia Island beach in question is tucked away on the northeast corner of the island, not far from Glanleam House and Gardens. It’s about 2 km from Knight’s Town, or around a 25-minute walk.

2. Parking (warning)

There really isn’t much in the way of parking at Valentia Island Beach. You’ll find a few small places to pull in along the road, but please never block the road or any gates.

3. Entrance to the beach

To get onto the beach, head for Glanleam House and Gardens. Just before the entrance, there’s a small gravel road that cuts back and goes down to the Glanleam Beach.

4. Swimming

People do talk about swimming here online, however, it’s a secluded beach, with no lifeguards, and there’s no official information online. So, we can’t recommend anything more than dipping your toes.

5. Warning

The road down to the beach is extremely narrow and a lot of people are normally walking along it, especially in summer. Be sure to drive slowly and take care as you navigate the blind corners. Better yet, leave the car in Knight’s Town and walk!

About Glanleam Beach

Glanleam Beach

Photo left: Viv Egan. Bottom right: Tom Archer (via Tourism Ireland’s Content Pool)

Valentia Island Beach is small and secluded, providing more of a quiet getaway than a traditional beach holiday.

The grey sands aren’t the most spectacular in the world and they don’t stretch on for miles. But, if you’re looking for tranquillity and somewhere to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, this place is hard to beat.

Breath-taking views

The views out over the sea are fantastic, and you can catch a glimpse of Valentia Lighthouse to your left.

Meanwhile, Beginish Island sits just a short way ahead of you and you can watch the boats pass from one island to another.

Peace and quiet

Although you’ll get a decent bit of footfall here during the warmer months, Glanleam Beach tends to be almost deserted during the year.

It’s a great spot at sunrise or sunset and there are plenty of rock pools with marine-life to keep the kids interested.

Please take care

As Glanleam Beach is very secluded and there’s no lifeguard service or life-saving equipment, we wouldn’t recommend swimming here.

Plus, boats travelling from Knight’s Town to Beginish Island often cross through these waters, adding to the danger. 

Things to do near Valentia Island Beach

One of the beauties of Glanleam Beach is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best places to visit on Valentia Island.

Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from the beach!

1. Valentia Island Lighthouse (10-minute drive)

Valentia Lighthouse

Photos via Shutterstock

That lighthouse that you saw from the beach is just a short drive away. Perched on Cromwell Point, Valentia Island Lighthouse boasts amazing views that stretch on for miles. Inside, you’ll find a fascinating museum dedicated to the history of the lighthouse and the people who worked there in the past.

2. Bray Head Walk (15-minute drive)

bray head valentia

Photos via Shutterstock

At the other end of the island, there’s the Bray Head Walk, one of the most westerly points in Ireland. There’s a 4km trail to tackle here that’ll treat you to some of the best views in the land.

3. Geokaun Mountain and Cliffs (15-minute drive)

Geokaun Mountain

Photos via Shutterstock

Geokaun is the highest peak on Valentia Island and as you can imagine, the views from the top are sensational. You can drive all the way to the summit, so anyone can enjoy the incredible scenery. Fancy staying nearby? See our Valentia Island accommodation guide for recommendations.

FAQs about Glanleam Beach

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Where do you park?’ to ‘Is it safe?’.

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.

Does Valentia Island have a beach?

Yes, the island is home to Glanleam Beach, a short drive from Knightstown. Do note that parking can be almost impossible at times.

Can you swim on Valentia Island?

We can’t find any official info about swimming at Valentia Island Beach, so we’d recommend checking locally when you arrive. If in doubt keep your toes on dry land.

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