For most beaches, the absence of sand would be a major detraction. But Coral Beach is one of nature’s rare wonders and is a source of endless fascination for conservationists and nature lovers. The beach is made of what appears to be small fragments of coral and has plenty to interest every visitor.
Coral Beach is a few miles from Galway City and there are a good number of beachfront hotels, intimate guesthouses, and family-run bed and breakfasts in the area to choose from.
Coral Beach: An Area of Outstanding Beauty
Coral Beach is known in Gaelic as Trá an Dóilín, and stretches out along Galway Bay near the village of Carraroe. It was named Coral Beach but the term coral is a misnomer – the beach is actually a living creature. The rocks are actually made of coralline algae, also called maerl, which is highly important in conservation terms.
For visitors to the beach, it’s immediately obvious that there is no sand, as the maerl pebbles can be sharp – so bring flip-flops or beach shoes. The maerl grow in Greatman’s Bay, among the islands clustered around the western shoreline of County Galway, and after they die they wash up on Coral Beach. They are red while alive, but when they die they break up into brown, grey and white fragments. The habitat it creates is almost unique in Ireland, where very little maerl is found.
Coral Beach has been awarded a blue flag for its cleanliness and pristine conservation. There is a lifeguard on duty at certain times and the beach has public changing facilities and toilets. The edges of the beach have some great rockpools to find sea life and you can also find some amenities nearby.
One of the great sights from Coral Beach is the great variety of boats and sea vessels that range along the Galway coastline. In particular, it’s often possible to see regattas of Galway Hookers, a variety of native Irish boat. Carraroe is one of the most important places in Ireland for the Galway Hooker industry, and is the centre for the Féile an Dóilín, a festival in honour of the Galway Hooker. The boats were originally used to take peat bog turf – an important fuel in old Ireland – around Galway and County Clare.
Nowadays, most of the Galway Hookers are used for racing and on a fine day there are few grander sights than seeing a fleet of these boats tearing around the Atlantic.
Staying Near Coral Beach
The beauty of Coral Beach draws thousands of visitors every year who enjoy the unique blend of leisure and conservation. The surrounding area has some great hotels to choose from and Expedia can help out, giving you plenty of information to make the right choice and find the perfect place for you. Coral Beach is a must see for anyone visiting Galway.