Are you looking for a day trip filled with family fun, a breeze walk or a dog friendly beach?
Garryvoe Beach in East Cork is a great spot to explore throughout the year.
It is definitely one of the more popular Cork beaches.
I spent many summers exploring Garryvoe Beach and the nearby Shannagary Beach as a child.
This article brings back plenty of happy memories of the family breaks in the holiday homes nearby!
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Garryvoe Beach Cork Ireland
The coastline at Garryvoe Beach is a mixed pebble beach with sand in the lower sections.
Larger stones and pebbles are found higher up the beach closer to the car park.
This beautiful beach with views of Ballycotton Bay and the lighthouse on Ballycotton Island is especially popular with families in summer time.
It is good to know that there is also wheelchair access to the beach via a specially designed ramp.
What to do on Garryvoe Beach?
There are plenty of activities for all the family at Garryvoe Beach in Count Cork.
While we often tend to think of beaches in summer time, this beach is also great to visit in winter as well.
The car park is just behind the beach. On wild days it is also possible to get a good sea view from the car.
This is especially popular with elderly people or those with mobility issues.
Garryvoe Beach Swimming
Garryvoe Beach is used for several different types of watersports with swimming being one of the most common.
While some people brave the waters here all year round, it is important to note that lifeguards are only located on this beach during the summer bathing season.
There is no lifeguard supervision on the beach during the rest of the year.
The waters around this beach can be rough and dangerous under certain weather and tidal conditions.
It goes without saying that water safety should always be prioritized.
Before entering the water it is necessary to evaluate whether the conditions are suitable for swimming and not to overestimate your own capabilities.
Garryvoe Beach Walk
Many people love walking along this beach. It is reasonably flat and the sand at low tide is firm, making it a good place to stretch your legs.
From time to time it can be a bit windy here due to its unprotected south-east facing direction.
Particularly in winter it is necessary to wrap up well when going for a beach walk!
Garryvoe Beach Playground
A children’s playground is located near the car park at the back of the beach.
The swings, climbing frames, slides and rope bridge are a big hit with kids. Grown-ups can relax on the benches provided.
There is nothing like an Irish sea breeze to increase your appetite!
If you fancy a lunch, a small snack or just some afternoon tea and coffee then stop by the Garryvoe Hotel just across the road from the beach entrance.
The Lighthouse Bistro serves food daily from 1pm.
Garryvoe Beach FAQs
Where is Garryvoe Beach?
Garryvoe beach is located on the coast about halfway between Midleton and Youghal in East Cork.
It can be reached by taking the R632 turnoff for Ladysbridge in Castlemartyr in County Cork.
This beach is part of a longer stretch of mainly sandy coastline that connects with several other beaches.
The beach located directly next to Garryvoe Beach is Ardnahinch Beach, followed by Ballynamona Strand and Silver Strand Beach in Ballycotton Bay.
There are a few very small Ballycotton beaches as well, including The Cow Strand and the Conger near the pier. The Ballycotton cliff walk is also a stunning way to soak up the beautiful surroundings.
How long is Garryvoe Beach?
The bathing area on Garryvoe beach is about 300 m in length (or a little less than 1000 ft.)
Garryvoe Beach Directions – How do I get there?
Garryvoe Beach Distance from Cork City: 38 km or 24 miles
Time to Drive from Cork City: ca. 40 minutes
Garryvoe Beach close to Cork City, it is a great escape for a couple of hours.
Cork City to Garryvoe Beach Map
If you are traveling from Cork City, take the N25 in the direction of Youghal.
Turn off the N25 onto the R632 at Castlemartyr and follow the signs for Shangarry.
The road to Shanagarry follows close to the coast, but to get to Garryvoe Beach take the exit to the beach at the Garryvoe Beach Hotel (at the T-Junction).
Garryvoe Beach car park will be straight in front of you.
What is Garryvoe Beach parking like?
There is a very large, free car park at Garryvoe Beach.
It is located behind the beach and stretches for about half a kilometer (0.3 miles) meaning there is room for many vehicles.
Most of the year this car park is perfectly adequate for the number of beach visitors that arrive by car.
However, on busy summer days this parking area can fill up.
There are no cars allowed on Garryvoe Beach.
Are there public toilets at Garryvoe Beach?
Public toilets are available at Garryvoe Beach. They are located near the entrance to the car park.
What facilities are at Garryvoe Beach?
Garryvoe is one of the beaches in Cork that has lifeguards patrolling the beach and water during the summer bathing season.
Lifebuoys are positioned at regular intervals at the back of the beach.
Disability access to the beach is available via ramps. There are several ramps, including one longer ramp with a gentle incline that typically ends in a sandy rather than stoney part of the beach.
(The upper sections can be a bit stony and pebbly which might cause problems for people with mobility issues.)
Litter bins and recycling facilities are available at the beach.
Can you swim at Garryvoe?
Yes, when the conditions are safe, Garryvoe Beach is an enjoyable swimming location.
It is worth mentioning that there are some rocks and sand protection groynes (or the US English name is “groins”) on the beach.
These can be hard to see when submerged so take extra care of these obstacles.
There are lifeguards on duty here during the bathing season in July and August.
For more information about the times they are on duty, check the local lifeguard station.
Certain weather conditions may result in the lifeguards closing the beach for swimming.
Sea fog which reduces visibility is one of these conditions. This has happened in the past at this beach.
Inflatables are not allowed in the water.
What is the water quality at Garryvoe Beach?
Usually Garryvoe Beach has good water quality and often meets the standard to be assessed as “Excellent”.
For more information about the water sample taken by Cork County Council during the summer bathing season, please check the Beaches.ie website.
In 2023 Garryvoe was not selected for the Blue Flag status award.
Garryvoe Beach Tides
If you plan on going for a walk on Garryvoe beach it is best to visit when the tide is low.
To best gauge the tide times at Garryvoe Beach check out the tidal times at the Environmental Protect Agency Beaches Website.
Garryvoe Beach Weather Information
The Norwegian weather forecast website Yr.no provides good short and long term forecasts for the Garryvoe area.
This information can come in useful when you are planning your trip to the beach.
Are dogs allowed on Garryvoe beach?
Many people want to know is Garryvoe beach dog friendly? The answer is yes, dogs are allowed on the beach.
Please note that dogs must be kept on a leash at all times and be under the control of their owner.
There are also official signs reminding dog owners to clean up any dog waste.
Things to Do near Garryvoe Beach
Garryvoe can also be combined with some of the attractions on Ireland’s Ancient East tourist trail.
Travel Tips: For anyone interested in Day Trips from Cork, we have a travel guide post filled with great ideas about what to do and see in the county and beyond!
Visit Ballymaloe House and Ballymaloe Cookery School
Close to Garryvoe Beach is the famous Ballymaloe House and Cookery School. This is arguably the culinary capital of East Cork.
Those of you who would like some fine dining should head to the Ballymaloe Restaurant for the gourmet range of local products including in their menus.
They also offer an exciting range of cookery courses. These include half day courses focusing on soups, breads and lots more to a 5 week summer course.
Ballymaloe Hotel is also one of the finest luxury hotels in the area.
Visit Midleton Town
Midleton is a vibrant market town located a short distance away from Garryvoe.
If you happen to visit on a Saturday morning, then head to the famous farmer’s market. Stalls offer a diverse variety of delicious local food and artisan products.
Check out Youghal Town
Further east along the coast is the town of Youghal. This colorful seaside town has been a popular favorite day trip and holiday spot for decades.
As well as having more great beaches and a new popular boardwalk, Youghal has an interesting history.
You can also visit the historical Clock Gate Tower, which is open to the public.
Visit Cobh Town
Cobh is another historic town located nearby with a long and fascinating history.
There are several top class attractions in Cobh that are well worth exploring. When you have a little more time, an excursion to the prison at Spike Island is well worth considering.
The bonus with this excursion is the boat trip to the island with great views of Cobh!
Beaches in Cork
Garryvoe Beach is just one of several great East Cork beaches.
The long, sandy Youghal Beach has a great beachside boardwalk that connects the Front Strand, Claycastle Strand and Redbarn.
Cork’s Inch Beach near Whitegate is only 25 minutes drive away from Garryvoe. This beach offers some good surfing and there is a lovely road walk out the headland to Powerhead.
If you would like to visit some of the great West Cork beaches, you can read about them in our Beaches in Cork Guide.
We also have a special guide to the Beaches in Kinsale and the surroundings too (some of which are on the Wild Atlantic Way).
As you can probably guess, we really like Irish beaches!
If you want to find out about some more beaches on the west coast of Ireland, check out our guides to the stunning Dog’s Bay Beach and Glassilaun Beach. These are some of the top coastlines in Connemara.
You will want to plan your next trip there soon!
(Irish Nature Expert and Celtic Enthusiast from Ireland)
Emer Walker, founder of LetsGoIreland.com, is a Cork native with profound expertise in Irish nature and ecology. Holding a PhD in Restoration Ecology and backed by extensive research in ecological sciences, she’s delved deep into Ireland’s natural wonders, from its rugged landscapes to its serene beaches. Emer’s passion also encompasses Celtic art and traditions. As a true authority on Ireland’s natural and cultural heritage, she invites readers through LetsGoIreland.com to immerse themselves in the authentic Irish experience.