Ballyconneely

Ballyconneely

Ballyconneely June 2010 On a lovely summer's day in June this was the third beach in a row that we visited where there was no one swimming but ourselves. There were a few people walking and a few horses being cantered, but that was it. Great in one way, but sad in another. Ballyconneely is just one more in Connemara's seemingly endless supply of beautiful beaches. Lovely clear water, soft sand, spectacular views. Predictable, but there you go. If you get good weather in Connemara you soon run out of superlatives to describe the beaches. The beach itself is a bit open, although there are rocks at either end. You might do well to bring your windbreak if you are planning a family visit. Directions:  View Larger Map; From Clifden you take the R341 to Ballyconneely village. From here you take a right turn signposted for 'Connemara Smokehouse' and 'Connemara Golf Club'. On this road you then take another right turn, again signposted for the Golf Club. (No signpost for the beach, so obviously it's not so important). Travelling along this road the sea is on your left and you will see a number of beautiful beaches. A lot of this land is fenced off, some for the golf club. There are, however, a couple of gaps which give access. The one we used is over a rough bridge, with a small, grassy area for a few parked cars. . With an effort you could push a buggy to the beach this way, but not a wheelchair Ordnance Survey Discovery Series Map No. 44   [...]

Mannin Bay

Mannin Bay

Mannin Bay June 2010 This was our first time to visit Mannin Bay and, while it may be hard to find, it is absolutely worth the effort. Mannin is a beautiful, quiet beach with lovely clear water, plenty of room and fantastic views across to the Twelve Bens. The beach has various inlets and while it can be windy there are rocks for shelter. It's not too steep as you enter and when we were there we swam out to a lone yacht anchored near the shore. Lucky them. It's always nice to discover new places and Mannin is highly recommended Directions  View Larger Map You travel on the R341 from Clifden and after the coral strand you watch out for a right hand turn which is signposted for the Mannin Bay Hotel. You go along this twisty road until you come to a fork - you go to the right and then watch out for a gate on your right hand side with space for a few cars to pull in. The gate has a sign which says ' Sheep Grazing' . Through this gate there is a worn track which leads you to the beach. If you have a dog it must be on a lead . It's buggy accessible with an effort, but not wheelchairs. Ordnance Survey Discovery Series Map No. 44   [...]

Lough Derg, Portumna

Lough Derg, Portumna

Lough Derg, Portumna June 2014 Along with the swimming spot on Lough Rea, this is another first class lakeside swimming location which is a credit to Galway County Council. Lough Derg Water Recreation Park, to give its full title, is a well maintained facility with well kept grass areas,seats and picnic tables. You can access the water from ladders which bring you out of your depth and into the soft dark waters of the lake. As for all lakes be careful and watch for reeds and rocks underneath. No diving unless you know its safe. This spot also has the advantage of a shallower area for small children which is cordoned off. We had a lovely swim here and then we were able to sit back and enjoy the relaxed and clean surroundings. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer - check with the council for details. There are also decent toilets, showers and changing areas. Ample car parking is available. Blue Flag.   Directions: From Galway city you take the M6 toward Dublin and then take exit 16 for Loughrea. From there you take the N65 to Portumna. In the middle of the town watch for a right turn signposted for Lough Derg. Follow the sign posts which will take you to the Water Park just a couple of kilometres outside the town   [...]

Coral Strand, near Clifden

Coral Strand, near Clifden

Coral Strand, near Clifden June 2010 This is one of only two coral strands that we know (the other is in Carraroe) and it's a real gem. The beach here glistens white and shines in a lovely contrast to the clear turquoise waters. There are small clumps of rocks for shelter and for kids to play around. The views across the water to the equally white beaches of Mannin Bay are spectacular. The one drawback of coral is that it can be hard underfoot, so don't expect to be running around here in your bqre feet. And coral is not good for making sandcastles. However, the swimming is great and the freshness and clarity of the water more than compensate. Directions  View Larger Map From Clifden you travel on the R341 and the strand is the first place you come to with parking on your right hand side. There are two small car parks and the second one has a small gap in the wall where you can manoeuvre a buggy down to the beach. Ordnance Survey Discovery Series Map No. 44   [...]

Renvyle White Strand

Renvyle White Strand

Renvyle, White Strand June 2010 Another White Strand and this one is where we spent a lot of holiday time many years ago. Of course, in those years the sun was always shining and the beach was always white. A couple of years ago we were back on a dull and windy day and it was such a disappointment. This time around we hit a lovely summer's day and the White Strand was just as we remembered it. In future, we must make sure to go only when sunshine is guaranteed. The White Strand is a lovely beach with more spectacular views across to the Mweelrea mountains in Mayo. There are in fact two beaches separated by a small hillock. The beaches are a bit open and it does get a bit windy. However, there are rocks at either end where you will get some shelter. The water here is clear and fresh, like so many of the beaches in Connemara. It's sandy underfoot and not too deep as you go in - a good spot for children. All in all one of our favourites, but we can't guarantee the sunshine. There is a small car park which has room for about 12 cars. The beach is accessible from the car park.Directions  View Larger Map From Clifden you take the N 59 to Letterfrack, where you take the road signposted for Tully Cross. You then go straight through Tully Cross and Tully. After Tully watch out for a caravan park signposted to the right. After the turn for the park you take the next right turn for the beach. In June there was no signpost showing this was the turn for the beach. What's new? Ordnance Survey Discovery Series Map No. 37   [...]

Coral Strand Carraroe

Coral Strand Carraroe

Coral Strand, Carraroe June 2010 Along with its first cousin near Clifden, this is one of the only two coral strands we know of in the country (If there are others please let us know). The beach here is small but very attractive. The water is lovely and clear and a pleasure to swim in. Even at low tide there is enough depth for a dip. There are plenty of little coves to shelter in and rocks for the kids to scramble across. And it also has nice views across the inlet to a sample of Connemara's stony fields. Carraroe is 'Irish College' country, so don't be surprised if your quiet swim is interrupted, as we were, by a gang of Irish speaking teenagers. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer months. Blue Flag beach. Directions  View Larger Map; From Galway city you take the R336 coast road and follow it until you go onto the R343 signposted for Carraroe. When you get to Carraroe drive straight through the village and after a short distance you will see the signpost for the Coral Strand. There is a decent size car park and good toilets along with a couple of picnic tables. Access from the car park to the beach is over a rough track - manageable for buggies, but it looks as though it would be very hard to manoeuvre a wheelchair across. Ordnance Survey Discovery Series Map Nos. 44 and 45   [...]

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