Ballycotton Bay, Co. Cork – on to the beaches!

Ballycotton Bay, Co. Cork – on to the beaches!

Well, at the moment Ireland is hit by “The beast from the east”.  Europe as a whole seems to be hit by that cold front, and almost everybody might have a good laugh about my headline.

Who wants to walk along the beach these days?

Nobody! (at least not voluntarily)

However, the days before this cold front were wonderful sunny and mild and they will be afterwards, too. It’s already the end of February and the first warmer days definitely will come. The weather forecast for the weekend looks already better and then you can enjoy a few hours at the beaches in Ballycotton Bay.

Before you are about to leave for the beaches, what might be the most important thoughts?

Tide times and sun protection

Exactly! It’s important to be aware of both.

It doesn’t make sense to go for a walk to the beach during high tide. You have the option to take an app like “My Tide Times – Tables &Chart”. It’s available for iOS and Android. I use it myself and I am absolutely happy with it. Simply chose “Ballycotton” and you know exactly when low and high tides happen.

And a sunscreen with an adequate sun protection factor is a must have. Never ever underestimate the sun in Ireland and not at all in spring! For children and adults, there are different types of creams available to protect their skin. The safest way to protect your skin might be the use of creams based on these 2 ingredients: Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. They don’t irritate the skin as other creams might do. However, have a look if it is combined with a UV-filter. The ingredients themselves don’t protect from the sun. My post about skin care will be updated in the next couple of days with this important topic.

Last week I introduced you to the Ballycotton Cliff Walk. And as it is neither spring nor summer, we still aren’t really keen to drive long distances and be outside more than 2 hours. So, let’s stay just around the corner and visit


It’s the tiniest one in the row near to Ballycotton, but not that overcrowded. There’s a small car park just between the dunes and the beach. It’s good for a walk and if you like you can combine your walk with Shanagarry Beach and furthermore with Garryvoe Beach. However, you have to use the kind of bridge to cross the stream.

Connection from Ballynamona Beach to Shanagarry Beach

Ballynamona Beach is about 800 m long and ends at another stream that flows into the bay. It is a bit broader and can’t be crossed that easily, if at all.

Shanagarry Beach

This beach in the middle is nice. and has the option not only to spend the time at the beach but also in the dunes landscape. Take a moment to watch the seabirds. They are busy at the moment building their nests. Sometimes the material they are collecting is bigger than they are themselves. Starting from the carpark you turn right walking towards Ballynamona.

Shanagarry Beach is 1 km long to the south. A comfortable walk. If you make a loop including the dunes landscape, you will make about 2,5 km and if you like, you can combine it with Ballynamona Beach to extend your walk to an almost 5 km distance. Don’t forget the kind of bridge you have to use to cross the stream.

You also can extend your walk at the beach it to the northeast for 750 m, passing by the holiday village and you end up at

Garryvoe Beach

Garryvoe Beach is the longest in that row and is almost 8 km long. It’s a beautiful beach to walk, to stay for a while and enjoy the sun or in summers for taking a bath. Overall that is possibly one of the nicest beaches after Inchydoney Beach near Clonakilty. Starting from the carpark opposite the Garryvoe Hotel, turn either right towards Shanagarry and Ballynamona or turn left and follow the sandy beach.


Ballynamona Beach:

Take the N25 to Midleton Roundabout and take the 3rd exit towards Cloyne and Whitegate. Follow the R629 to Cloyne and turn left in Cloyne to Shanagarry. At the petrol station turn right to Ballycotton and take the 2nd street left to Ballynamona. It is signposted.

Bus No. 240: The bus serves Shanagarry and Ballycotton, however, it won’t stop close enough to this beach. Also if the bus driver is a nice guy and would leave you at the sign to Ballynamona, it is a good distance to walk to the beach.

GPS: 51°50’38” N 08°01’19” W

Shanagarry Beach:

Take same directions as to Ballynamona, however at the petrol station go straight taking the main road through Shanagarry (R632). At the end of Shanagarry, once passed the signs for a pottery, the R632 turns left to Garryoe. Please keep going straight here and after a few meters, there is the car park to the right. The turn-off isn’t signposted!

If you need to take the bus, here is the timetable for Bus No. 240. The bus serves Shanagarry, however, it might not stop close to the beach. Please have a chat with the bus driver for the best option to drop off.

GPS: 51°51′3″ N  8°0′47″ W

Garryvoe Beach:

You have 2 options to go to Garryvoe:

  1. Taking the N25 to Castlemartyr and turn right at the traffic light to Ladysbridge and Garryvoe. Once you are in Garryvoe, the main road will turn right at the Garryvoe Hotel. However, you will go straight and you can see the car park already in front of you.
  2. Take same directions as to Ballynamona and Shanagarry following the R629/R632 and once you have the hotel on the left, don’t follow the main road, but turn left and you are in front of the car park.

If you need to take the bus, here is the timetable for Bus No. 240.The bus serves Garryvoe Hotel, which is opposite the car park for Garryvoe Beach.

GPS: 51°51’31” N 8°0’8″ W

And if you want to join me for a walk or hike, please click here for guided walks in Co. Cork