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Mulranny Beach

Beaches - Mulranny

Welcome to Mulranny, one of the Blue flag Beaches along the County Mayo coastline. This popular beach is located south-west of Mulranny village.

Bird Life
Area of Scientific Interest
Local History
Blue Flag Beach Criteria
Further Information

Bird Life

Some of the more common birds that can be seen at the beach include:

Cormorants (Broigheall)
Shags (Seaga)


Snipe (Naoscach)
Lapwing (Pilibin)
Oystercatcher (Roilleach)


Common Tern (Geabhrog)
Artic Tern (Geabhrog artach)
Sandwich Tern (Geabhrog dhuscothach)


Common Gull (Faoilean Ban)
Kittiwake ( Saidhbhear)
Blackheaded Gull (Faoilean ceanndubh)
Great Black-backed Gull ( Droimneach mor)
Lesser Black backed Gull (Droimneach beag)
Herring Gull ( Faoilean scadam)


Area of Scientific Interest

Mulranny Hill

This is the most famous stand of Mediterranean heath, a plant that in Ireland is restricted to county Mayo.  The seashore is fringed by this Mediterranean heath above a saltmarsh which includes English scurvey grass and terrestrial seaweed.  The adjacent woodland is made up of birch, hawthorn and rowan with hazel, sycamore, holly and ash coming in above the disused railway line.  Some oak also grows here.  The ground flora includes sweet vernal grass, Yorkshire fog, greater woodrush and tormentil. Where the ground is shady, ferns and woodland herbs are found in great variety.  The presence of mosses and liverwort indicate the woodlands western position on the county.  The wood is surprisingly rich in birdlife. Goldcrest, Great tit, Longtailed tit, Tree Creeper, Spotted flycatcher and Willow warbler were noted.

Mulranny Saltmarsh

This saltmarsh has developed in the quiet, sheltered conditions behind Mulranny beach.  It is distinctive because of its complex drainage pattern.  The grassy sward is composed of typical species such as Thrift, Sea Plaintain, Saltmarsh Grass, Rushes and Sedges, Sea Pimpernel with Glassword and Annual Seablite further down towards sea.  The marsh is used by some shore birds for feeding and resting but is possibly too enclosed for larger flocks.  Saltmarshes occur on a small scale all around Clew Bay, but one of its size is rare.  It also shows the full transition from sea to land.  It has a most unusual arrangement of channels, but few pans on the top surface.  The high level of grazing which dwarfs all of the plants and prevents many of them from flowering is an interesting ecological factor.


On the western seaboard, low, flat, windswept sand plains known as Machair are found.  Machair consists of a mixture of siliceous sand derived from glacial tills and sediments and calcerous 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 a 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 areas are flooded during winter.  A seaward escarpment marks the landward limit of the plain. Machair is a completely vegetation covered coastal plain, marram and lyme grass being the most common varieties found. Orchids can be found in some locations.  Grazing has an important role in machair formation and keeps the characteristic plant community in balance.

Storm Beaches

In times of storm, the erosional function of waves is greatest but it is also during storms that Strom Beaches are created. Cobbles, pebbles and boulders are hurled up onto the shore, usually further inland than the level reached by high spring tides. The coarseness of this material usually ensures that the backwash of the retreating waves is reduced so that little material moves back down the beach.  When the storm subsides, the deposited boulders remain where they were thrown, out of reach of the sea.  Deposited material is never sorted by size and so storm beach material is varied in size although the stones and boulders are usually rounded and smooth from the abrasive action of the waves and the finer material suspended in the water.

Granuaile & The O’Malley Clan

The O’Malley Clan owned all the territory from Achill to the south of Clew Bay, including Clare Island, which dominates the bay.  It is on Clare Island that Granuaile’s (Grace O’Malley) favourite castle is located.  In 1831, the castle was converted into a coastguard station but the castle is still identifiable.  Close to Mulranny is the other O’Malley Clan stronghold – Rossturk Castle.


Blue Flag Beach Criteria

  • Water Quality Compliance.
  • No Industrial sewage related waste.
  • Environmental plan for the development and use of the coastal area.
  • No signs of gross pollution from oil, human waste or other sources.
  • No visible hydrocarbon pollution.
  • Prompt public warnings in case of gross pollution or other dangers.
  • Information posted on protected sites or species in the area of the beach.
  • Bathing water quality and Blue Flag information published on the beach.
  • 5 environmental education activities offered to the public.
  • Beach regulations and code of conduct posted on the beach.
  • Sufficient litter bins on the beach to keep it clean.
  • Beach cleaned on a regular basis.
  • No camping / unauthorized driving / dumping on the beach.
  • Beach must have easy and safe access.
  • Recreational activities in the beach area must not endanger any beach user.
  • Sufficient and clean public toilets with controlled sewage disposal.
  • Sufficient lifeguards or lifesaving equipment.
  • First Aid must be available on the beach.
  • Access of dogs and domestic animals must be restricted and controlled.


Further Information:

If you would like to research further information for example tourist attractions or activities within this area, find some useful links below:   (For up to date weather forecast)

Mulranny Beach Legend Map (Document)

Mulranny Beach Legend Map
Formats Available:

Mulranny Beach - Lookout Hill Loop Walk

Mulranny Beach - Lookout Hill Loop Walk

Mulranny Beach - Lookout Hill Loop Walk-read the full story.

Posted: 07/03/2013

Mayo Beaches

Environment Section
Second Floor
Mayo County Council
The Mall
Co Mayo
Phone: (094) 9024444
Open: 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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