A Day at Old Head Beach, Westport

a day at old head beach mayo

Coffee, Swimming and Cliff-Jumping at Old Head Beach

If visiting Westport and looking for that beautiful balance of inner peace and outdoor adventure, one such place we highly recommend is Old Head Beach.

The beach offers so much ticking many different boxes for many different people.

No matter what you’re looking for, whether it be playing games on the beach, a relaxing lunch, having fun in the sea or more adventurous water sports and cliff jumping, Old Head has it all.

Plus, the Bay is located only a short 15-minute drive from Westport Town.

Driving towards Louisburgh, you’ll come across a sign for Old Head on your right directing you to the Bay.

Outdoor Seating at Old Head Cafe
Beautiful Outdoor Seating at Old Head Cafe

Old Head Cafe

Just before you reach the car park, you’ll be greeted by a delightful little cafe, Old Head Cafe. The cafe is actually quite large with a large menu and a decent variety. From full meals to snacks, smoothies to fresh coffee, it is a great place to have a relaxing meal in their large, beautiful garden before or after your swim.

old head cafe
Large menu
old head cafe

You can even bring your own beer and wine and they will provide the glasses with a small corkage charge! How cool is that! No wonder the tagline of the cafe is “Happiness by the sea”.

Old Head Beach, Louisburgh

A short walk will bring you down to the beautiful and enclosed Old Bay.

The Bay is surrounded by steep slopes on all sides and offers a breathtaking view of Crow Patrick directly in front of you.

Refreshing swim at Old Head Beach, Louisburgh
Refreshing swim at Old Head Beach, Louisburgh

The beach has a long shelf meaning when the tide is out the water can actually be slightly warm. (Not mediterranean warm, but just nowhere near as cold as you may imagine 🙂 The sand is also beautiful and soft.

During the summer months, this beach is packed with people playing, swimming, and enjoying all sorts of water activities from kayaking to paddle-boarding to jet-skiing.

Coffee, ice cream, scenery, and swimming is usually all the boxes which need to be ticked for a great day at the beach. However, Old Bay has just a few more little aces up its sleeve.

Pier Jumping at Old Head
Pier Jumping at Old Head

The beach has a fantastic pier which stretches nicely out into the Bay, allowing for fantastic, high, yet safe pier jumping.

Pier Jumping

Join the queue of locals and children showing off their skills as they plunge high off the pier into the beautiful Atlantic ocean.

With deep waters, soft sand, and steps at either end, it is extremely safe and nothing but fun.

The other ace that Old Bay has up its sleeve is its beautiful coastal walk which allows for some great cliff jumping.

Coastal Walk along Old Head, Co. Mayo
Coastal Walk along Old Head, Co. Mayo

Coastal Walking Trails

If you walk to the end of the Bay on the left, you will come across a beautiful woods where you will find walk trails which lead you up into the forest and over to the other side of the Bay.

Hidden Trails at Old Head
Hidden Trails at Old Head

When you come out on the other end of this beautiful forest trail, you will be on a long coastal cliff trail which (would you believe) stretches 20 kilometres along the coastline. A breath-taking and beautiful walk unique to Mayo and the West Coast of Ireland.

Secluding beaches at Old Head
Secluding Beaches at Old Head

It is rare where you can have complete scenic beauty, high cliffs, dark foliage, and the rough Atlantic sea right beside you for such a long amount of distance.

Cliff Jumping at Old Head
Cliff Jumping at Old Head

Cliff Jumping

Along this path, you will find many an inviting cliff jump for the brave souls who dare to try. (Just make sure it’s high-tide! 🙂

Mayo Cliffs at Old Head
Many Hidden Caves along the Coastline of Old Head


Underneath the cliffs, there are also hidden caves where curious kayakers can explore. You will also find more hidden inlets for more secluded beach relaxing.

Croagh Patrick
View of Croagh Patrick through the Forrest

If visiting Westport, and want a stress free day of coffee, sun and relaxing, mixed in with a bit of swimming, exercise and maybe an exhilarating experience a day at Old Head Beach is an easy must.

PS. If you do end up doing a cliff jump – add the hashtag #TheMiddleWayHostel, so we can check our your skills! 🙂

Paul Feeney
Follow me

Leave a comment to help visitors and future travellers :)