IRELAND'S WEATHER is notoriously unreliable, but that doesn't stop us from heading to the beach whenever we get the opportunity.
Unlike sunny countries where beaches are filled with tanned people lounging on sun beds, sipping cocktails and gliding into the warm sea, for most of the year, Ireland's beaches are filled with families wrapped up in coats, scarves and hats, bent sideways into the wind to force themselves to enjoy the outdoors.
Of course, we do get the odd sunny day too, and it's days like these that the Emerald Isle truly earns its namesake, becoming an absolute jewel as it glimmers under the summer sun-- but Irish beaches are genuinely gorgeous year-round, whether basking under the sun or battered by wild winds and waves.
And County Galway boasts some of the greatest beaches in the whole of Ireland-- just ask Lonely Planet, who named two Connemara beaches in their recent list of the best strands in Ireland.
Galway is a large, wild, sprawling county with so much to offer and more beaches than you could ever visit in one short trip-- so here are just some of the best to visit for your Staycation this year.
Inishbofin is a small island off the coast, accessible only by ferry, and is just six kilometres in length-- but the utter isolation has allowed the greenery to blossom and the beaches to remain untouched-- the Trá Gheal is a particularly beautiful and wild strand found on the island.
Dog's Bay and Gurteen Bay, Roundstone
The 'twins of the Errisbeg Peninsula' in gorgeous Connemara were recently named the best beaches in Ireland by international travel guide Lonely Planet. The author praised the dazzling white sand created by crushed seashells, not unlike those found in the Caribbean, and the peaceful atmosphere to be found therein. Just 3km from the popular tourist town of Roundstone, this is a must for anyone visiting Galway this summer.
Omey Island, Claddaghduff
This elusive tidal island is only accessible at certain times of the day-- when the tide is out, you can stroll across the sand from Claddaghduff to examine the ruins of a medieval church, examine the numerous rockpools or simply admire the view.
Salthill Beaches, Galway city
Made up of several small beaches and the famous promenade rather than just one strand, Salthill is just minutes from Galway city centre and has something for everyone, whether you're an adventurous sort itching to jump from the top of Blackrock diving tower or feel your feet in the sand at Grattan, exploring Salthill is an absolute must.
White Strand, Renvyle
Renvyle is a large and peaceful beach perfect for walking, sightseeing or just taking it all in. On a clear day, the mountains of County Clare and the Twelve Bens beckon from either side, and despite being such a popular spot, the beach is perfectly clean and safe, having even won awards for its unspoiled beauty. The perfect place to stop for a break after climbing Connemara's famous Diamond Hill.
Fountain Hill beach, Claddaghduff
Soft sand, rugged and wild rockpools, grassy fields with curious, friendly donkeys and an ocean made up of hues of blue and green-- Fountain Hill beach near the village of Claddaghduff is one of Connemara's breathtaking hidden gems.