Ross Strand the perfect family beach

Ross beach near Killala in Co Mayo is the perfect location for a family day on the beach and a place where we have spent many an enjoyable afternoon.

Located only 4 km north of Killala, Ross beach has great views of Bartra Island in the River Moy estuary and across Killala Bay to Enniscrone beach on the east shore.

Ross is a lovely golden strand perfect for walks or a family day out and swimming is safe beside the car park – and at its most enjoyable when the tide is in.

The best walk is along the stretch of sandy beach that takes you towards Killala where there are lovely views of Killala Round Tower and the Church of Ireland Cathedral.

During the summer months when there is a lifeguard on duty it is safe to swim, but you must not go beyond the designated bathing area because of the very strong and dangerous currents, particularly opposite Bartra Island.

The beach has a lifeguard during July and August. Lifeguard times can be checked on the notice board at the beach.

Ross Coastguard Station

The Old Coastguard Station at Ross beach, near Killala, Co Mayo, which dates back to the 19th century, has been converted into holiday apartments. Photo: Anthony Hickey
The Old Coastguard Station at Ross beach, near Killala, Co Mayo, which dates back to the 19th century, has been converted into holiday apartments. Photo: Anthony Hickey

Ross beach is overlooked by the former Ross coastguard station which has been converted into holiday apartments.

The 19th-century coastguard building at Ross is listed among the Record of Protected Structures in Co Mayo and once consisted of residential buildings, a boathouse and a slipway.

The Coastguard Service was set up by the British Navy in 1821 to counter smuggling which was very active along the west coast of Ireland during the 1800s.

The extensive building at Ross housed a number of coastguard personnel and their families. Ross like other stations was under the command of an ex-Royal Navy officer and an experienced crew of boatmen kept watch for smugglers in Killala Bay.

The station was occupied by British Coastguards until Irish Independence in 1921.

Beyond the Coastguard apartment complex, alongside the stony section of Ross beach, you can see the remains of the old coastguard boathouse and slipway from where many a coastguard rescue boat was launched in bygone days.

Rock Pools

When the tide is out the many rock pools on this section of the beach are brimming with shellfish, and other tiny sea creatures and a variety of seaweeds. It is the perfect spot for children to explore and paddle.

There is a back beach at Ross too that worth visiting and perfect for walking with lovely views of Kilcummin Head. This stretch of beach is not safe for swimming. During the winter months, it is home to lots of interesting migratory birds from the Polar regions.

Among the many species of birds to be seen on Ross beach are Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Knot, Sanderling, Dunlin and Bar-tailed Godwit

Other bird species that frequent Ross beach are Red-throated Diver, Brent Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal, Red-breasted, Merganser, Oystercatcher, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Curlew, Redshank and Greenshank, Mallard, Turnstone, Grey Heron, Gull, and Cormorant.

By Anthony Hickey

Follow writer and photographer, Anthony Hickey, as he travels around his native Co. Mayo, Ireland.

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