Residents and visitors to County Mayo enjoy the beauty of 13 beautiful Blue Flag Beaches. This designation means that the beaches meet extremely high standards for water quality, cleanliness, on site facilities, lifeguards and more. These standards reach far beyond the basic bathing standards set by the EU.
Keep in mind that Blue Flag designation is reserved for bathing beaches only. This means that other beaches, which you may want to visit to observe wildlife or are not suitable geographically for swimming, are not unclean because they are not designated as Blue Flag. Thirteen of County Mayo’s beaches are Blue Flag designated, the fourteenth — Carrowniskey Beach, is used almost exclusively for surfing.
The best beaches for swimming, picnicking and wildlife watching are:
•Golden Strand - located on Achill Island, this quiet beach contains sand, small pebbles, dunes and an abundance of native wildlife.
•Keel Beach – Surrounded by hills and rich plant life, this small beach also features low sand dunes and life guarded swimming.
•Ross Strand – located on Killala Bay, where mudflats line the channel, it is in proximity to rich woodlands and contains a diverse variety of native plant and animal life.
•Dooega Head – located on the south side of Achill Island near a fishing village, it is also sometimes called Camport Bay. It is pristine for swimming and there are interesting forts and prehistoric sites nearby.
•Bertra Beach – located just west of the town of Westport, it is windswept and rimmed by sand dunes and a variety of plant species.
•Mullaghroe Beach – located near Blacksod Bay, this area shelters many species of birds within its dunes and accompanying sea grasses and other plant species, as well as in the salt marshes and inlets nearby.
•Old Head Beach – located in view of Croagh Patrick, this beach is sheltered by sandy cliffs and nearby woodlands.
•Mulranny Beach – located near the village of the same name, this pristine sandy beach features salt marshes that support a variety of interesting bird life.
•Carramore Beach – this broad expanse of sandy shoreline is windswept as evidenced by the many nearby dunes.
•Keem Beach – located west of Keel Village, this quiet seafront area maintains a rural atmosphere.
•Elly Bay Beach – located on the Mullet Peninsula, this beach is sheltered by scenic cliffs and known for its wide variety of bird life.
•Dugort Beach – located on Achill Island in a wildlife conservation area, it can be rocky at certain tides and is surrounded by lush grassland.
•Clare Island Beach – visitors can take the ferry to this beautifully rural sandy beach located just beyond the pier where all boats visiting the island dock.