The long, sandy beach at Streedagh Strand is a scenic stretch on the northwestern shore of Streedagh Point. Visit this pretty beach to stroll along the soft sands, inspect fossils in the limestone cliffs and retrace the adventures of the shipwrecked Spanish Armada captain Francisco de Cuéllar.
Wander along the 2-mile (3-kilometer) Streedagh Strand and enjoy coastal views of the surrounding hillsides and Atlantic Ocean. The beach is part of a sandbar linking Streedagh Point to a narrow spit named Connor’s Island. Watch surfers tackling the curling breaks coming in from the Atlantic as you walk along the coastline. Confident swimmers and surfers can take the plunge here, but be aware of the tides and undercurrents.
Find a collection of fascinating fossils embedded in the limestone rocks as you walk. See Zaphrentis coral, cup-shaped fossils formed hundreds of millions of years ago. During low tide, look for the wrecked framework of one of three Spanish Armada galleons.
The ships were sheltering from an Atlantic storm in 1588 when they were wrecked on the shore. Local inhabitants and English soldiers garrisoned in the area beat and robbed the Spanish soldiers. Among the soldiers was the Spanish sea captain Francisco de Cuéllar, who lived to tell the remarkable tale of his life on the run in Ireland. See a tribute to this fascinating local story at the Celtic Fringe Festival, which is held in Grange every September.
Gazing back inland, notice the clear outline of Ben Bulben, the immense flat-topped peak presiding over County Sligo. If the skies are clear, pack a picnic and spend an afternoon enjoying the views and exploring the rock pools.
Streedagh Strand extends east from Streedagh Point, which is 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) from Grange in Sligo County. Access the beach for free and use the free parking lot on the western end. For more sheltered swimming and lifeguard patrol during the summer months, head to Streedagh Beach, which is nestled into a small bay on the west side of Streedagh Point.