CONNAUGHT NATURIST BEACHES & LOCATIONS
Take the Galway-Spiddal road (R336). Barna is approximately four miles from Galway city. The naturist area at Barna is about half way between Silver Strand (which is a popular textile beach) and the Pier at Barna village along the shoreline and can be reached from two directions. The first way is to park at Silver Strand, and walk to the right over the stones along the shore towards Barna Pier. Alternatively, drive towards Barna village. Pass the road for Silver Strand, pass the church (Barna parish church) and take the next turn to the left. At the end of this short road park your car and walk towards the sea. There walk to the left where you will see a rocky point in the distance. That is the naturist area. Hopefully, in the not too distant future the area may be signed ‘clothing optional’ and this will make the area easier to locate. The area is a rocky outcrop but for swimming the sandy area immediately beside the rocks on the Barna side can be used. When the tide is in there is a nice swimming area off the rocks.
GPS coordinates: 53.250519, -9.145666
Nearest Town: Barna, Co. Galway
Puppys’ Cove/Dog’s Bay
Dog’s Bay, or Cuan an Madra, is a small beach about 2 ½ miles on the Ballyconneely road [Clifden coast road] from Roundstone. On the way you pass the entrance for Gurteen Bay Caravan Park. Take the next turn left after Gurteen Bay Park. Walk through a gate at the end of the carpark and continue to the far end of the lovely sandy beach. At the beach end climb slope to the right where you will come to a fence with a gate. Go through and walk along the cliff and you will come to a small secluded sandy cove. This is your dream area, Puppy’s Cove.
GPS coordinates: 53.380961,-9.954476
Nearest Town: Roundstone, Co. Galway
Mannin Bay has many beautiful beaches and a number of these are very suitable for naturist activities. Coming from Roundstone, towards Clifden, you pass through the village of Ballyconneely (passing Keoghs Pub on your left), and take the left after Ballyconneely village down the road for Connemara Sands hotel. Drive past this hotel and keep going for a few miles down a narrow road until you come to a fork – you go to the right and then watch out for a gate on your right hand side. You park here on the side of the road and through the gate there is a well-worn track which leads you to the first beach. From there, just walk west and you will find multiple long uninhabited beaches where are perfect for naturism and beautiful pristine waters for a swim (if you dare).
GPS coordinates: 53.445978,-10.099927
Nearest Town: Ballyconneely, Co. Galway
This beach is in Clew Bay near Louisburg, approximately ten miles west of Westport. There is a small secluded cove north of the main beach which is used by naturists. Directions: Take the R335 from Westport towards Louisburg. The road follows the coastline. Watch for the turn to Old Head before Louisburg.
GPS coordinates: 53.778338,-9.769567
Nearest Town: Louisburgh, Co. Mayo
This beach is in Westport Bay and is approximately five miles from Westport. Directions: Take the R335 from Westport towards Louisburg. After passing the village of Murrisk take the next turn to Bartraw Beach which is on a small peninsula. Use the eastern side of the peninsula.
GPS coordinates: 53.788416,-9.660745
Nearest Town: Westport, Co. Mayo
This long beach is on Achill Island. It was sandy but has now become very rocky. Use the eastern end of the beach at Dookinelly. Directions: Take the R319 from Achill Sound towards Keel for approximately five miles. There is a turn off for Dookinelly. You can also get there from Keel by a long walk up the beach.
GPS coordinates: 53.959156, -10.044648
Nearest Town: Achill, Co. Mayo
This fine beach is also on Achill Island. Although it is not secluded it is frequently used by naturist foreign visitors. A small area among the rocks at the northern end of the beach is suitable. Directions: Keem lies at the very end of the R319 from Achill Sound. Park in the car park and walk onto the beach.
GPS coordinates: 53.967261,-10.195481
Nearest Town: Keem, Co. Mayo
This long beach is on the western side of Mullaghmore Head, south of Roskeragh Point. Naturists use the more secluded northern and southern ends, particularly during the week. Discretion is required at weekends. Directions: Take the main N15 Sligo – Bundoran road for approximately 15 miles until you come to the village of Cliffony. Turn off onto the R279 towards Mullaghmore. Just after this road veers to the right there is a small turn left which leads to the beach. Park at the end of the road near a football pitch and walk over the sand dunes onto the beach. This beach is the second most popular naturist beach in Ireland, after Sallymount.
Important Notes: Beware of currents
GPS coordinates: 54.434417,-8.457521
Nearest Town: Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo
This unspoilt beach can be reached by driving from Tully Cross north towards Leenane and taking the first left turn after Lettergesh Camp site. Drive down until the road ends at a small bay. Park here and walk west over the headland until you reach a magnificent and usually completely empty beach with beautiful waters that could be from any Southern European country. This area is known locally as Gowlan. The beach is also available at low tide from Lettergesh’s main beach, and offers magnificent views out over the water to Inishbofim and Inishtyek islands.
GPS Coordinates: 53.6024937, -9.0908590258
Nearest Town: Renvyle, Co Galway