Welcome to Mullaghroe, one of the Blue Flag Beaches along the County Mayo coastline. This popular beach is located 6 miles from Belmullet town, on the Mullet Peninsula.
Some of the more common birds that can be seen at the beach include:
The Mullet/Blacksod Bay complex contains a composite of diverse habitat types, predominately coastal. The site includes considerable stretches of dune systems along the western coast of the Mullet peninsula, behind which are extensive areas of machair of considerable botanical importance.
Termoncarragh, Leam Lough and Cross Lough are brackish and, together with the saltmarshes in some sheltered inlets, provide feeding and breeding sites for the area’s varied bird populations.
Extensive stands of Clubrushes occur at the water’s edge and Bogbean is found in shallower water. Behind this, fen vegetation is found containing rushes, Sedges, Yellow Flag and Marsh Bedstraw. The rare Narrow-Leaved Marsh Orchid has been found at Termoncarragh Lake, adding to the scientific importance of the area.
Internationally important populations of Barnacle Geese and Ringed Plover occur on the Mullet and East Blacksod Bay. The Mullet also holds most of the Light-bellied Brent Goose population of Blacksod Bay which is of international importance.
Nationally important populations of Whooper Swans, Scaup, Purple Sandpiper, Sanderling, Bar-tailed Godwit and Dunlin are also to be found. Corn Bunting, Twite and Chough also breed on the Mullet.
Termoncarragh Lake is the only site in Ireland for breeding Red-necked Phalarope. The Mullet was a former stronghold of the Corncrake, though only three birds were recorded in 1993.
Sand carried inland by onshore winds is deposited in a streamline form around some obstacle. Plants then colonise these small mounds of sand. As sand deposition proceeds, their foliage creates even more deposition and the root network binds the sand into low embryo dunes. AS these dunes grow in height they coalesce parallel to the shoreline. In turn they are colonised and stabilised by other establishing plants and the dunes continue to grow.
Almost all dunes are subject to erosion, most commonly caused by ‘blow outs’. This happens when the wind gains access to the sand beneath the vegetation at the crest and rapidly erodes the surface causing a depression. As the wind is channelled into it, the depression grows until its width reduces the channelling effect of the wind, leaving low-lying rolling dune pasture called Machair.
Frontal erosion occurs when the entire seaward face of the dune system is cut back by storm waves. This can be recognised by a steep slope of loose sand and slipping clumps of crestal vegetation.
Human activity also has a large part to play in dune erosion. The removal of sand and shingle can leave large area’s of dune open to wind erosion. Cutting dune vegetation of over-grazing the area by cattle or horses is another damaging activity. Recreation at beaches can also damage dunes. Vehicle movements can damage the turf carpet and the creation of paths through the dunes exposes bare sand where blow-outs could occur.
On the Western seaboard, low, flat windswept sand plains known as Machair are to be found. Machair consists of a mixture of siliceous sand derived from glacial tills and sediments and calcareous sand derived from the shells of animals which lived on the offshore platform. Machair beaches are often found between rocky outcrops or in small bays between headlands. The upper limit of the beach is usually marked by a pebble or cobble ridge behind which there are dunes. Behind the dunes is usually gently sloping plain whose degree of flatness is a reflection of age. The level of the machair plain is controlled by the underlying water table. Hence many machair area’s are flooded during winter.
Legend holds that the Children of Lir spend 300 years off the coast of Inishglora, west of the Mullet peninsula. It was here that they heard St. Brendan’s bell which summoned them back to human form. While searching for Hy Brazil, St. Brendan the Navigator established a monastry on the island in the 6th century. Brendan’s oratory is still to be seen on the island and can be identified by it’s sloping roof and flat head doorway. The remains to two other churches and three beehive huts are also identified within the monastery walls. Outside, the remains of Teampeall na mBan (Lady’s Church) and a holy well are to be found.
While enjoying your visit to the beach, please consider the following points:
If you would like to research further information, for example, on tourist attractions or activities within this area, find some useful links below:
www.met.ie (For up to date weather forecast)
Mullaghroe Beach Legend Map
Mayo County Council
Phone: (094) 9047440
9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.