If you visit Galway, you have to visit Connemara. And if you visit Connemara, you have to visit its beaches!
There’s countless beaches in Connemara, but this post is based solely around my own personal favourites.
You can always enjoy the main beaches like most people do, but I would recommend that you go one step further and seek out some of the hidden beaches that are found at the end of Connemara’s bumpy rural roads.
These quiet back-road beaches are always the best because you will more often than not have the whole place to yourself…and if your bodyboarding skills are as embarrassingly bad as mine, then the prospect of not having an audience is a tempting one.
If you’re driving to Connemara from Galway City, you will find one such back-road beach just beyond Spiddal, called Trá na Sáilín.
It’s very easy to miss so keep a close eye on the road signs to your left.
While far from a ‘back-road beach’, Spiddal Beach itself is pretty beautiful, particularly when the weather is good. Even though it’s situated right by the main road in Spiddal village, it’s relatively quiet.
A good bit beyond Spiddal is the village, Carraroe, and it is here you will find the beautiful Coral Beach. Once you drive straight through the village, you will see some signposts for it. (Note: In Carraroe village, Coral Beach is often signposted as Trá an Doilín.)
Coral Beach is very unusual from the point of view that it’s shore has lots of very fine dry coral shells in amongst the sand.
It’s extremely clean, and a popular location for wedding photos.
It also has toilet facilities which are always a handy feature for those of us who like to wear wetsuits for our ocean swims!
Tismean Beach, also in Carraroe, is another really beautiful place to visit.
You will definitely need to ask for directions from the locals however as it’s incredibly difficult to find unless you know exactly where you are going. Once you drive through the village and past the fire station, you will see Realt Pub on your right. Directly across from this pub is a small road with a rock sign that has the word ‘Tismean’ carved into it. Take this road. Drive down this road for about a mile or so. Once you’re on this road, you’re on the right track however there are no signposts for this beach so you will definitely need to ask for directions once on this road.
While Tismean is pretty isolated, it’s a very special place and worth a visit.
Think rugged Irish charm and you have an idea of what to expect from Tismean!
I have seen shots of both Dogs Bay Beach and Gurteen Bay (both in Roundstone) and they are just all kinds of stunning but unfortunately I haven’t had the pleasure of swimming in either bay yet.
Both are most definitely on the list though! I may even make it out there this weekend.
Here are some more shots from some of my recent visits to Carraroe: