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Beaches in Connemara: The Complete Guide to the Best Beaches

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Connemara Beaches

Ireland is known for its spectacular coastline and diverse range of beautiful beaches. Connemara in County Galway is a region in the west of Ireland famous for its beautiful landscapes, which include the mountains in Connemara National Park and stunning coastlines. The beaches Connemara has to offer are probably some of the best beaches in Ireland.

The beaches in Connemara certainly stand out for their crystal clear blue waters, unique colored sands and magnificent surroundings.From cozy sheltered coves, to the idyllic horseshoe bays and sandy strands, the variety of beaches found in Connemara is impressive. On sunny days, the colors and contrasts of the water, sand and scenery are most vibrant. Even in poor weather, a visit to these stunning beaches is well worth the trip! 

For those of you looking for things to do in Connemara for your holiday itinerary or are interested in some great beaches near Galway, this is the post for you. 

(Tip: Within the outskirts of Galway City, there are also two Blue Flag Beaches: Salthill Beach and Silverstrand Beach. These Galway beaches are not too far from the city center and can be easily accessed by public transport)

Best Beaches in Connemara

Glassilaun Beach 

Glassilaun Beach
Glassilaun Beach (Photo: espy3008 via Canva)

If you happen to visit Glassilaun Beach on a day with good weather, you are likely to be bowled away by the silver sand beach with crystal clear waters. Even if you visit in poor weather, the beauty of this beach will still probably take your breath away. 

This horseshoe shaped beach is known for its soft sand and amazing scenery. It is popular for swimming and even snorkeling. (There is a diving center around the corner too!) The long strand (ca. 600 m) is also ideal for taking a stroll and enjoying the views including the mighty Mweelrea Mountains

Glassilaun Beach Connemara – Practical Information

Parking is limited at the car park near the beach. The road to the beach is also very narrow, which might be a little tricky to navigate on a busy day. 

It takes about 35 minutes to reach the beach from Clifden and less than 25 minutes to reach it from Kylemore Abbey (another one of Connemara’s highlights).

During the summer, bins and portaloo toilet facilities are available. There are no lifeguards on duty here

For more information, please read here

Lettergesh Beach 

Lettergesh Beach
Lettergesh Beach (Photo: Kevin George via Canva)

Lettergesh Beach is another popular spot on the Renvyle Peninsula located close to Glassilaun Beach. These are some of the best beaches near Letterfrack. When the tide is out, the beach seems to stretch for miles and is the perfect place for a walk while enjoying views of the Twelve Bends, Maumturks and Mweelrea Mountains.

It is mostly sandy, but some larger stones near the car park.

The famous horse racing scene from the well known 1950s film “The Quiet Man” was filmed on this beach.

Lettergesh Beach – Practical Information

There is a car park located at the end of the narrow road that brings you to the beach. This beach tends not to be as busy as Glassilaun Beach, but on sunny days during the summer it can be popular. During the rest of the year, there are not usually many visitors, or you might even be the only one on the beach.

Follow the Connemara Loop road from Tully Cross as it travels north in the direction of Killary Harbour. About 0.5 km after Lettergesh school there is a signposted turnoff to the left for the beach. 

Please note: There are no facilities at this beach such as toilets, bins or a lifeguard

For more information, please read here

Mannin Bay Connemara

Kayaking in Mannin Bay
Kayaking is one of the water trails of the Mannin Bay Blueway. (Photo: Courtesy of Gareth McCormack via Ireland’s Content Pool)

Mannin Bay Beach is known for its crystal clear azure blue water, little rock pools and unusual sand that resembles a tropical paradise rather than the more familiar Irish beaches.

If traveling in Connemara, this scenic location is a perfect stopping spot to enjoy the scenery or have a picnic

Watersports enthusiasts are also well catered for here in the clear waters with plenty of marine life. Mannin Bay Blueway has several different kayaking and snorkeling water trails skirting around the rocky shoreline in the area. 

The coarse sand found on this beach is actually called Maerl. It consists of the remains of a type of seaweed (known as coralline seaweed or algae), as well as the fragments of shells such as barnacles and mollusks.

Mannin Bay – Practical Information

The beach is located between Ballyconneely and Clifden on the R341 road. Visitors can park in the small car park directly next to Mannin beach.

Tip: There is another small car park or viewing point a little further up the road in the direction of Clifdenat the nearby Coral Strand Beach.

Guided tours of Mannin Bay are provided by some local watersports companies.

Please be aware that there are no toilets, bins or lifeguard facilities provided at this beach.

Trá an Dóilín – Coral Beach Connemara

Coral like sand made from pieces of coralline seaweed on Coral Beach, Connemara
The unusual sand at Trá an Dóilín is made from the fragemented bits of coralline seaweed. (Photo: HelenL100 via Canva)

There is another “Coral Beach” or “Coral Strand” located at Cheathrú Rua (Carraroe) in Connemara, which is also made of maerl. As well as being a very beautiful Blue Flag Beach, Trá an Dóilín (or the Coral Beach in Connemara) is also an important area in terms of biodiversity. More information about the Irish maerl beaches and their importance for biodiversity can be found here

Omey Beach on Omey Island

Omey Strand where you can cross to Omey Island when the tide is out
Omey Strand where you can cross to Omey Island when the tide is out. (Photo: DvcDvc84 via Canva)

Omey Island is a little, somewhat hidden island off the coast of Connemara and is a beautiful gem along the Wild Atlantic Way for all those who visit. 

The tidal island can be reached from the mainland at Claddaghduff via the Omey Strand sand causeway at low tide twice a day by foot, bike or by car. Marker signs in the sand show you the route to follow.

(For safety reasons, it is essential to check the local conditions and tide times before heading out across the sand to the island. It is dangerous to cross the causeway when the tide is in or half in and it absolutely should not be attempted. Please wait until the tide goes out again)  

Omey Beach is a little sheltered bay with white sands and clear blue water on the western side of the island. There is another beach, Omey Island South Beach which is closer to the Omey Strand. This is a stunning, quiet place with breathtaking scenery.

Omey Beach – Practical Information

There is a small car park on the mainland where you can park your car and travel to the island by foot or by bike. It is also possible to drive to the island, but take note that the roads on the island are not great and low cars might be challenged!

There is a looped walk that takes about 2-3 hours around the island. Be sure to check out the remains of the 7th century church, Teampaill Feichin or Feichin’s Church.

The annual Omey Races are a horse racing event, held on the Omey Strand, Claddaghduff every year towards the end of the summer. 

There are no facilities at this beach.

Dog’s Bay Beach and Gurteen Bay Beach 

Dog's Bay Beach
Dogs Bay Connemeara (Photo: HakBak1979 via Canva)

This dreamy place is truly idyllic. Dog’s Bay Beach and Gurteen Bay are situated back to back on sand spit that forms a tombolo with the nearby island. In between them lie protected sand dunes with important machair vegetation, including marram grass. (Please help to conserve this specially protected area and do not walk on or disturb the dunes.)

The westward facing Dog’s Bay Beach has white sands made from the tiny parts of broken sea animals (Foraminifera), which contrast amazingly with the blue water on a sunny day. This horseshoe shaped bay is a great spot for families and anyone who wants to enjoy some of the best scenery that Ireland has to offer.

Gurteen Beach
A smaller section of Gurteen Beach. (Photo: onlyfabrizio via Canva)

Gurteen Beach is larger than Dog’s Bay Beach and is another beautiful sandy beach with fabulous views. 

Both beaches are popular for swimming and other water sports.

Dog’s Bay Galway – Practical Information

This is a popular spot and in summer, it can be difficult to park closeby as parking options are very limited. At other times of the year, the beach is deserted most of the time. 

Dog’s Bay Beach is located not far from Roundstone (ca. 7 minutes drive) and is considered by many as one of the top things to visit in the area. 

There is no lifeguard on duty in Dog’s Bay Connemara. More information can be found in our guide here.

Renvyle Beach

Renvyle Beach
Renvyle Beach (Photo: Courtesy Christian McLeod via Ireland’s Content Pool)

Renvyle Beach is a long strand with soft white sand. The views from the beach are really stunning and include the Mweelrea Mountains and the islands off the coast, which are Clare Island, Inishturk and Achill Island

Roughly in the middle of the beach, there is a small rocky outcrop which gives a good overview of the area. It is a great spot to watch sunrise over the mountains or even better, the western sunset in the evenings

This beach is a popular place and perfect in all seasons to walk and enjoy the amazing scenery. 

Renvyle Beach – Practical Information

There is a very small car park located by the beach with limited spaces. (These tend to fill up quickly when the weather is good.) Usually the beach tends to be deserted for much of the year. Access to this car park is via a narrow side road.

Renvyle Beach Caravan and Camping Park is located next to the beach with direct access from the beach.

There are no bins, toilets or lifeguard facilities at this site. 

Connemara Beaches FAQ

Coral Strand near Mannin Bay, Connemara
Connemara’s beaches are known for their vibrant colors. (Photo: onlyfabrizio via Canva)

When is the best time to visit Connemara?

The beauty of Connemara can be enjoyed all year round, even in the wettest of weather, it is difficult not to be deeply impressed by the scenery. Of course, visiting during fine weather is the best. 

Often the weather in late April or May and September is sometimes good and settled. The summer season can also be a nice time to visit and the water temperatures are a bit higher. It is also the most popular time to visit these locations.  The Sky Road Loop Drive (with access to Eyrephort Beach) is one of the main highlights of the area.

If you are wondering when to visit, then Ireland by month will give you an overview of the type of weather to expect through the year in the Emerald Isle. (Unfortunately, it is Ireland so there is no guarantee when it comes to the weather.) 

Clifden Beaches – Are there any nearby?

There are no beaches located in Clifden Town, but there are several beaches in the nearby area that are well worth visiting. Read our guide to Beaches near Clifden to find out the top beaches in the vicinity.  

What is the best beach in Connemara?

Renvyle Beach with mountain views
Renvyle Beach has fantastic mountain views. (Photo: Stephanie Salmon via Canva)

There are so many, it is hard to choose a single one! Renvyle Beach with its stunning views of the Mweelrea Mountains certainly is one of our favorites!

Please Note:

As with all beaches used for water activities including the Connemara strands, please take note of any information relating to the swimming, currents and other dangers at the site.  If no information is available, it is best to check locally, to see if it is safe for swimming and other watersports. When in doubt, stay out of the water and be sure to check the weather condition news forecast too.

Bonus Tip: This website run by the Environmental Protection Agency provides plenty of Connemara beaches map information, as well as tidal and water quailty reports.

You’ll find more about the west of Ireland and the nicest beaches in Ireland on this website.