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Union Hall is surrounded by the sea and hides many coves where it is possible to have your own private beach.  The coves and inlets around Union Hall are ideal for exploring the sea life of West Cork. Rock pools abound and are full of shrimp, guppies, sea-anemones, hermit crabs and periwinkles.  Collecting treasure can provide hours of fun even in the rain!   Going to the beach around Union Hall is less about the bucket and spade and more about a shrimp net and a crab line.  It is important with some of the coves to check the tide to ensure there is enough beach.  The wind direction can also make a big difference as to how pleasant your day is.  Be prepared to shift beach if the wind is blowing the wrong way!  Click on this link to check the tide times.


Keelbeg Strand

Location:  Next to the main fishing pier

If it’s sand you are looking for one of the more popular spots is on the far side of the old pier at Keelbeg.  This is a lovely sandy beach with easy parking.  When the tide is in full, there is only a small beach but when out it reveals a lovely sandy strand.  It is very popular with locals and it is always very social where you can be guaranteed the loan of a bucket if you forget your own.  If you have older children, with the tide in, it makes a wonderful spot for jumping and canon balling.  Hours of fun for older children and teenagers.  The pier is also a great place for crab fishing.  It is attached to the pier, so there is always loads to see.  A tap at the top of the pier means that you don’t have to take the whole beach home with you.


The Cusheen

Location:  Head out for Reen Pier and take a left at the League continue along the road until you come to a double gate which is private property.  The right of way to the beach is just at this point.

A wonderful hidden sandy cove complete with it’s own cave.  This is a gem of a strand but not easy to get to.  There is lovely sand, rocks to sunbathe on, very clean and (relatively!) warm water.  It is almost always sheltered here.  There is only very limited parking (maximum two cars) and the walk down is not suitable for very small children.  The path leads down through fuchsia and honeysuckle hedges but is very narrow and watch out for nettles! You really need to check the tides for this beach.  When the tide is in, there is no beach. You need to plan your visit for when the tide is going out and this will give you maximum time on the beach.  It is perfect to reach it by Kayak from Myross slip.  For the very agile it is possible to walk to Myross over the rocks from the Cusheen.


Myross Slip

Location at Myross Island, to the right as you cross Myross Bridge

This is a very popular place with my children.  You can have hours of fun crab fishing off the bridge and when the tide is out you can walk along the beach and rocks to find many private inlets. There is no sand here just wonderful clean gravel!  A great area to find marine life.  The water off the slip is quiet warm for swimming and when the tide is in full, the slip is great for jumping off.  There is no problem to park here.

Reen Pier

On the far side of Reen Pier there is a small gravel strand with lovely water for swimming when the tide is in.  When the tide goes out, it is possible to walk for a long way out the headland while looking over at Castletownshend.  Also with the tide out, children may really enjoy playing under the pier.  This is a great place to collect periwinkles. Colin Barnes takes anglers and whale watchers out from this pier, so if you time it right you may get to see some wonderful fish being brought in.  Joe Neill also lands his catch here, and children are fascinated to see his catch of brown crabs.


The League

The League is a wonderful place to take small children.  It is a spit out into the sea surrounded by water with beautiful views up to Rineen and down Castlehaven harbour out to the Stags.  As you arrive at the league there is a gravel beach on the left.  (The right hand side is muddy and not as nice).  This beach provides loads of shells to be collected and shiny bits of sea glass.  Parking is very easy on the league and you have a good vision of your children if they wander off.  Jim Kennedy often takes Kayaking groups from here and they add some atmosphere as they head off.   Many people walk their dogs on the League and it can be a very social place to meet locals.

Squince Beach

Location:  Myross Island

This is the finest beach in the Union Hall area and ticks most of the boxes.  This beach is of fine gravel and spans  400m.  There is always beach here regardless of the tide.  When the tide is out, there is access to some wonderful rock climbing and rock pools.  This is a very popular strand with locals as there is plenty car parking and it is an excellent place to keep kayaks and very safe for children to practise.  There is a wonderful view over to Rabbit island from the strand.  While the water is always cold here (our opinion), it is also very clean.  Check it out!


Tra Lan

Location:  Take a left at the old School House, keep going until you reach a t-junction and take a left

This is without a doubt one of the most beautiful beaches in Union Hall.  It has lovely soft gravel, the best view and the cleanest water.  The access road is extremely narrow and steep and parking is very limited  which makes it off limits for nervous drivers.  It offers a beach on both sides so regardless of the direction of the wind you should be able to find a sheltered spot.  There is only limited beach when the tide is in full.  However what a beach when the tide is out!  It comes complete with very manageable rocks for children to climb and caves to explore.  Again looking over at Rabbit Island, it is possible from here to see all kinds of bird life.


Blind Harbour

There are two beaches on Blind Harbour.

Blind Harbour Sandy Beach

Location:  Head for Reen pier and just before the pier, take the upper road to the left (cul de sac) and follow to the end.

This is strand you will either love or hate!  I believe it is ideal for small children.  The parking is easy with no walk to the strand.   It is a relatively long strand with stones on the top and then a type of sand/mud.  It is a very shallow strand and does not get deep. It makes the water that bit warmer.  It is easy for children to walk on.  Not a popular beach with locals so you should have it to yourself.   On a fine day, it is possible to spend hours here.


Blind Harbour Gravel Beach

Location: Heading for Reen Pier, take a left at the League

There is no parking on this beach so mostly we park on the League and walk over as there is little traffic on the road and it adds to the outing.  The access to the beach has been cleared and it is now very easy to reach.  It is a gravel beach and little used.   It is however an excellent place to relax and very sheltered.  My children enjoy lifting the rocks here when the tide is out to find crabs  and there are many shells on the beach to collect.


Location:  Go left at St Brigid’s Church and continue straight all the way to the sea!

Carrigillihy is another stony beach with a wonderful view out the harbour to the Stack of Beans and Rabbit Island.  It is a very colourful harbour in the summer full of small boats.  There is plenty of parking just above the beach and a monument to those lost at sea.  The beach is made for pottering around on and it is possible to dig for clams here.  A beautiful harbour!