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Published on: Galway Simon Community News

Dip a Day in May 2023: Where can I go outdoor swimming in the West?

Explore the best outdoor swimming spots in the West

Take the plunge and explore the best outdoor swimming spots in the West with Galway Simon Community’s Dip a Day in May Challenge!

Summer is nearly here and what better way to embrace the warmer weather than by taking a dip in the refreshing waters in the West of Ireland? I have gathered some ‘dipping’ locations for outdoor swimming across Galway and Mayo, to inspire you on your dipping journey. From tranquil lakes to rugged coastlines, there’s a swimming spot to suit everyone… So, grab your swimsuit and let’s dive in!


1. Salthill Beach

Look no further than Salthill for a variety of swimming locations for your daily dip. There are three swimming locations that are generally safe for a refreshing swim. Take your pick, from Salthill Beach with its stunning views and welcoming waters, to the smaller but equally charming Ladies Beach which is perfect for families and little ones. And then of course there is Blackrock; with its iconic diving tower it is a mecca for sea swimmers all year round and a great place to meet fellow swimmers. Be aware, there are no lifeguards on duty during May but with a little care you can enjoy a safe and invigorating swim at these stunning locations. More information on outdoor water safety here.

Aerial view of Blackrock Photo by lisandrotrarbach (iStock)

2. Dogs Bay & Gurteen Bay

Veering West, Dogs Bay and Gurteen Bay are two stunning locations offering pristine waters and breath-taking views near Roundstone in Connemara.

Dogs Bay is a beautiful horseshoe-shaped bay with crystal clear waters that are perfect for a refreshing swim. With a wide stretch of golden sand, this beach is popular for both swimmers, dippers and sunbathers. There are no lifeguards on duty so it is important to exercise caution and swim only in calm conditions.

Gurteen Bay is another stunning beach located just a short walk from Dogs Bay. With its turquoise waters and golden sand, it’s easy to see why Gurteen Bay is a favourite spot for both locals and visitors alike. The beach is sheltered by the surrounding hills, making it a great spot for swimming and sunbathing even on windy days. Again, there are no lifeguards on duty at Gurteen Bay, so be sure to swim safely and only in calm conditions. More information on Gurteen Bay on Discover Ireland’s website here.


3. Loughrea Lake

Photo of Loughrea Lake by gabriel12 (Shutterstock)

Loughrea Lake can be a great option for Galway Simon Community’s Dip a Day in May. Located in East Galway, Loughrea Lake is a freshwater lake and is generally safe for swimming. We will provide information on how to stay safe while swimming during the Dip a Day in May in a later blog. Additionally, Loughrea Lake has facilities including changing rooms, toilets and a car park. Find Loughrea lake on maps here.


1. Keem Beach

Keem Beach in County Mayo


Keem Beach is a beautiful and secluded spot for swimming and dipping in Mayo. It offers a unique and peaceful atmosphere, and its natural beauty is sure to make your Dip a Day a memorable one. Keem beach is located on Achill Island in County Mayo. It is situated at the end of a narrow and winding road, which adds to its secluded and peaceful atmosphere. The beach is backed by steep cliffs, which offer spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean. There are no lifeguards on duty at Keem Beach, so it is important to be aware of the risks and to take appropriate safety precautions. There are some basic facilities at Keem Beach, including public toilets and a small car park. There are no shops or restaurants at the beach, so it’s a good idea to bring food and refreshments with you. Find Keem Beach on maps here.


2. Old Head Beach

Old Head Beach is located just outside of Louisburgh in County Mayo. You’ll find it situated in a secluded cove, sheltered from the wind and waves by the surrounding cliffs. The water here is generally safe and calm for swimming. The beach is surrounded by stunning natural scenery, with views of Croagh Patrick and the rugged coastline. Old Head Beach offers basic facilities for visitors such as public toilets and a car park. There are several cafes and restaurant in the nearby village of Louisburgh which is 3.2km away from Old Head Beach. Find it on maps here.


3. Belmullet Tidal Pool

Belmullet Tidal Pool– photo by Mairéad Melody

Belmullet Tidal Pool is a man-made swimming area located in the coastal town of Belmullet, County Mayo. Nestled at the edge of the sea, this picturesque tidal pool is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. To locate this breath-taking spot, find Belmullet’s Tidal Pool on maps here.

The tidal pool is filled with seawater during high tide. The pool is roughly rectangular in shape and is about 25 meters in length. There is a shallow end and a deeper end. The pool is surrounded by a concrete wall, with steps and ladders for entry and exit.

There are no official facilities at the tidal pool, but there are public toilets and showers nearby. There is also a car park nearby and the town of Belmullet has several restaurants and cafes.

It is important to be aware of safety considerations. The tidal pool can be affected by strong currents and tides, so it is important to check conditions before entering the water.

Overall, Belmullet Tidal Pool is a great location for getting involved in Galway Simon Community’s Dip a Day in May. It’s a unique and beautiful location easily accessed for swimming and daily dipping.

And there you have it! A selection of some of the best outdoor swimming and dipping spots in the West of Ireland, from the rugged coastline of Galway to the stunning beaches of Mayo. Whether you’re a seasoned swimmer or a casual dipper, there is a location to suit every taste. So, why not take part in Galway Simon Community’s Dip a Day in May challenge and explore these beautiful swimming spots for yourself? Remember to always swim safely and check conditions before entering the water. Happy dipping!