Old Head Beach

Old Head Beach - County Mayo
© Oliver Dixon and licensed for reuse under this Licence

This excellent, rural beach - possibly one of the best in County Mayo - lies just off the R335 between Kilsallagh and Louisburgh.  The long, crescent-shaped stretch of sand lies in a sheltered position and provides spectacular views over Croagh Patrick (Ireland’s Holy Mountain) to the south-east.

At the western end of the beach there is a pier, under which a number of small, picturesque fishing and sailing boats find shelter.  Atlantic Oak woodland lies to the west of the beach, and stretches right down to the water’s edge, providing some welcome shelter during the summer months.

Old Head Wood, which has been designated a Special Area of Conservation, is home to plenty of birdlife, including tits, spotted flycatchers and chiffchaffs.  This part of the Mayo coastline is known for its plant and insect life, which attract a number of feeding and nesting seabirds, including cormorants, shaps, waders, gulls and terns.

At low tide a number of rockpools are exposed and children will enjoy hunting for marine life here.  The beach, which has a lifeguard during the summer months, is popular with families, who come here to swim, picnic and play in the sand.  The beach is also used by watersport enthusiasts who come here to snorkel, kayak and windsurf. 

There are ramps down to the beach and access and facilities for those with mobility problems are good.

Type of beach


Lifeguard service


Dogs friendly beach?

Dogs must be on a leash and droppings removed.

County Mayo dog friendly beaches »


  • Swimming/bathing


  • Cafe/restaurant
  • Toilets
  • Town centre nearby
  • Shop

Nearest town


OS grid ref.


Parking available.

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Old Head Beach Reviews

Old Head Area

Jun 23rd 2020

Great Beach, great pier, nice trek around the old head