Mayo’s hundreds of pristine Ireland beaches, from small sheltered coves to vast expansive strands, are some of the best in the country, if not the world.

Beaches in Ireland, particularly here in Mayo, are well-known for their beauty, as well as their suitability for a variety of water sports, including surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, kayaking and many more.

The coastline in Mayo, like much of the northwest coast of Ireland, is notable for its machair, a sandy grassland habitat formed from a mixture of glacial silicious sand and calcareous sand from shellfish shells. It is protected under EU law, because of its rarity and its biodiversity. The variety of plant life attracts a variety of insect life, which in turn, attract feeding and breeding birds.

For a picturesque beach, Ireland offers very few to beat Old Head, 16 km (10 miles) west of Westport on the Louisburgh Road (R335). Overlooked by a woodland to the west and Croagh Patrick to the south and east, this wondeful beach has beautiful rock-pools that are exposed when the tide is out.

The beach is sheltered from the south and west and is therefore well-suited for swimming. Lifeguards are on duty through the summer months, the beach is accessible for wheelchairs, as are the toilets. There is a pier at the western end of the beach, sheltering a small anchorage popular with local sailors and fishermen.

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