Mayo’s beautiful, wild and rugged coastline makes choosing only five beaches quite difficult, but we have selected five of the most stunning beaches that just can’t be missed when you visit Mayo.
Whether you’re looking for a fun family day out, a taste of water sports or the perfect Instagram, we’ve got you covered!
In no particular order ……..
5: Carrownisky Strand
The vast expanse of sand and great waves at Carrownisky Strand has made it both a famous horse racing beach each summer and a well known surfing destination. Carrownisky Strand is a very popular surfing beach as it provides one of the only consistent breaks in the area. The beach is a busy spot in the summer with families, walkers, swimmers, horse racers, surfers among many other watersports. Includes one of the first surf schools established in Ireland which is open seven days a week all year round. The existing surfaced car park is in poor condition so leave the sports car at the end of the road.
Why not try your hand at Surfing and check out Surf Mayo on Instagram. Ask for Elvis and tell him we sent you.
There is almost nothing in Portacloy, and yet it is one of the most beautiful spots on the north Mayo coast. Totally isolated from its hinterland by large swathes of blanket bog, Portacloy looks today much as it would have looked two hundred years ago. A cluster of traditional cottages look down over it from the lofty heights of its northern headland. Their simple architecture is entirely unadulterated by any veneer of modernity. Portacloy is, at best, a hamlet, and, at that, a hamlet without a pub or shop. But it does have a stunning backdrop of heavily rutted headlands, scarred by the cutting action of ancient streams which mark the terrain in deep, equally spaced, lines. And it has sheep too, and lots of them, and they sit on the grass verges, or watch from atop the turf creels. They enjoy clustering in two’s or three’s on the roadway, too, to confound the occasional passing car.
3: Keem Bay
If you are looking for the perfect Instagram Shot then this is the beach for you. A trip to Mayo isn’t complete without visiting Achill but make sure to continue your Achill adventure all the way out to the Western end of the Island to the picturesque Keel Bay and Beach.
Keem Bay is a sheltered rural beach surrounded by cliffs on Achill, Ireland’s largest island. Located at the head of a valley between the cliffs of Benmore and Croaghaun Mountain, to reach this idyllic spot just follow the Atlantic Drive to Keel and continue westward via a cliff-top road with spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean. The beach, which is lifeguarded during the bathing season, is very popular with swimmers and is the site of a Blueway snorkel trail. If you’re feeling inspired there are several activity providers in the area that offer equipment hire and tuition. Basking Sharks can often be spotted swimming metres from the shoreline and evidence of this can be seen on the Westport Walking Tours facebook page. If you’re really looking you may even get to see a seal sunbathing on the beach.
2: Srah, Claggan Island
Srah Green Flag Beach is located approximately 5 km south of Bunnahowen village which is located between the towns of Bangor Erris and Belmullet. Srah beach is a popular spot for bathing for both locals and visitors. This beach has been awarded the Green Coast Award for 2017.
The beach gets its name from the Irish word ‘Sraith’ which refers to the stretch of sand that connects the island to the mainland and makes up this beautiful sandy beach. Although you can drive across the small stretch of sand in low tide, Claggan Island has the distinction of being Mayo’s newest island, having only been declared an official island in 1991 when it was cut off from the mainland by a fierce Atlantic Storm.
If you’re looking to stay over then check out the Belmullet Coast Guard Station on the Island, which has recently been transformed into luxury self-catering accommodation. Stay in the restored 1700’s building or in the luxury glamping pods on the same site. Unique accommodation in a truly unique place.
1: Bertra Beach || Old Head Beach
We did say it was hard to pick only 5………
Here are two beautiful beaches very close to Westport and only 6km apart. During the summer on a hot day you need to be up early in order to get parked at the beaches carparks. Both beaches have well maintained carparks and public toilets making them the ideal location for a family day out.
Bertra Beach is located near the foot of Croagh Patrick, 12 km (7 miles) west of Westport on the Louisburgh Road (R335), Bertra beach is one of the best beaches in Ireland for walking and bird-watching, as well as kite-surfing and windsurfing.
Walk along the wide strand, on a mixture of sandy or occasionally rocky stretches, or along the sometimes narrow paths in the dunes. This Blue Flag beach has a lifeguard in the summer months, and there are toilets. The northeastern point of the beach, farthest away from the carpark, is a popular spot for shore-angling.
OLD HEAD. For a picturesque beach, Ireland offers very few to beat Old Head, 18 km west of Westport on the LouisburghRoad (R335). Overlooked by a woodland to the west and Croagh Patrick to the south and east, this Blue Flag beach has beautiful rock-pools that are exposed when the tide is out.
The beach is sheltered from the south and west and is therefore well-suited for swimming. Lifeguards are on duty through the summer months, the beach is accessible for wheelchairs, as are the toilets. There is a pier at the western end of the beach, sheltering a small anchorage popular with local sailors and fishermen. During the summer season you can try your hand at Stand Up Paddle Boarding with the SUP School located on the beach itself.