Hi again, this week I have been thinking about my favourite beaches in Co Galway, which I thought initially would be an easy task. Then I could have a wee chat about each of them. But, suddenly, the easy peasy idea seemed not as easy as I first considered. I happen to like all the beaches in Galway for various reasons, and seeing as we are on the coast, there are a lot of them.
This post really should be titled, ‘5 beaches in County Galway that are currently my favourite (but there are so many, this is a fast-changing list), so I better get a move on and start writing.
In no particular order, these beaches are my current top 5.
This beach is located just past Kinvarra village as you head in the direction of Co Clare. It is situated on a peninsula that looks across the bay, back towards Galway city, and is the last beach on that side of the county. Traught has always been a favourite of mine to visit for long walks with our dogs when we had a few dogs. It is very dog friendly and is well facilitated with a large car park, toilets and during the summer with lifeguards.
The beach, made up of small stones and sand, can sometimes have a lot of seaweed, so it was surprising when the water itself was so clear. We went for our first swim there on Christmas Eve, and it was really lovely, cold as expected, but enjoyable. It’s easy to wade out into. The sand underfoot slightly undulates as you go further out. So you can be deeper or shallower at points and excellent for swimming parallel to the shore.
As beaches go, it’s probably not the most picturesque, but I have always really enjoyed my visits there.
Trá Salin (Pooreen) Inverin
Next up is a beach I refer to as Trá Salin, but on the map, I have attached above, it is called Pooreen. This beach is entirely on the opposite side of the bay to Traught and is very different. Again this is one I would have always walked the dogs on and is one of the beaches I have visited the most. It was one of those beaches that only locals knew about. It didn’t even have a sign down to it for the longest time. Last year, 2021, Trá Salin became one of the busiest beaches I frequented.
The beach itself is sandy with small dunes that border a narrow walkway down to the shore. There is very little parking, so lots of manoeuvring when busy. We decided to start sea swimming last year, and this was the beach we started in at the end of the mini-heatwave last August. It’s a perfect beach for swimming, the rock formations create different pools depending on the tide, and you can swim at both high and low tide. There are even some warm pockets of water in the centre rock area at mid-tide. If you can find them, you can almost forget that it is cold-water swimming all year round in the Ocean in Ireland.
The beach is sandy, and you can sit beneath the dunes. It is a small beach, though, and space is premium during the summer months.
Meweenish Beach, on Meweenish Island
(Oileán Mháinse in Irish)
This beach is so scenic, situated out towards Carna. It is on the opposite side to a beach I wrote about last week called Trá Mór; see here. The island of Feenish is positioned between the two of them. One thing to note is there is very little parking, maybe for two or three cars, and the road out to it is very narrow.
On the day we visited in mid-October, it was unusually warm. The sun was shining brightly. It felt like we were on our own island, far away. It was my third swim of the day, and I had managed to dry my swimsuit in-between swims.
After swimming, we walked along the beach, over to the small stone building. If you follow this around, there is another secluded beach just over the rocks. You can see it in the video.
We were there at low tide. At high tide, the water comes right up to the top of the shoreline. It would be good to check the tidal times before you visit, as it is a long drive from Galway city, but so very worth it.
Gurteen Bay, Roundstone
I wrote about this beach last week see here. With its long sandy beach and turquoise water in summer, it and its sister beach, Dog’s Bay, situated on the opposite side of the Tombola, are very popular. Personally, I love visiting this beach out of season, swimming there from September/October onwards.
Note: The car park is small for the number of visitors this beach can attract at peak season.
Finally, next stop America, only joking, past Clifden, over the Sky Road and down a narrow, winding lane, and you arrive at Eyrephort beach. The turquoise water and sandy beach at the end of the drive are just exquisite. We swam there on a Sunday in November, and it was COLD but so worth it. The Atlantic Ocean’s waves were crashing into the shore. The Island of Inish Turk sitting prominently on the horizon reminded me of a story I was told by a relative living nearby. They would swim the cows from the island to the mainland, where they would make landfall on the beach at Eyrephort. It must have been a fantastic sight.
Coming to the end of this post, I realise that there are so many more beaches, all spectacular for different reasons, along the shoreline of County Galway. I almost feel guilty for trying to narrow it down to five, but this could go on forever if I didn’t.
I have made the map above interactive. If you click on it, it will take you to Google Maps, and perhaps you can visit some of the beaches I missed or have yet to see.
If you have a favourite beach, do let me know because I am always looking for new swimming places.
Wishing you a most beautiful week, and I will be back here again Monday with a new adventure.