Keem Bay named in Lonely Planet’s 100 best beaches in the world

Achill Island beach described as ‘jaw-droppingly beautiful’ and ‘one of Ireland’s most glorious, secluded strands’

Keem Bay, in Keel, Co Mayo, has been named as one of the top 100 beaches in the world by travel publisher Lonely Planet.

It is the only Irish waterfront to get a mention in Lonely Planet’s new book, Best Beaches: 100 of the World’s Most Incredible Beaches.

The Achill Island beach is described in the book as “vertiginous yet jaw-droppingly beautiful,” and “one of Ireland’s most glorious, secluded strands”. “Sloping green hillsides spill down to a deep-set horseshoe bay, where a Blue-Flag delight of a pale-blonde beach sits framed by the Croaghaun Cliffs – Ireland’s highest sea cliffs – and the thundering moody-blue Atlantic,” the blurb continues.

The list is compiled by Lonely Planet’s experts alongside reasons why each is so unique and special. It also features information on the location of each beach and how to access them, and top-five lists detailing the best beaches for wildlife, sunsets, people watching, families, snorkelling, and more.


Keem Bay is part of the Wild Atlantic Way, which winds all along the west coast of Ireland, from the Inishowen Peninsula in North Donegal to the town of Kinsale in Co Cork.

Head of the Wild Atlantic Way at Fáilte Ireland Miriam Kennedy says she is delighted to see Keem Bay take a “well-deserved place on the Lonely Planet top 100 beaches in the world.

“Keem Bay is a magnificent natural asset enjoyed by locals and visitors alike and represents the true essence of the Wild Atlantic Way – breathtaking in its wild beauty,” she says.

Four beaches in the UK feature – one in Scotland and Wales each, and two in England. The British beaches included Rhossili Bay in Gower, Wales; Durdle Door in Dorset, England; Kynance Cove in Cornwall, England, and West Beach in Bernaray, Scotland.

Other notable beaches featured include the Blue Lagoon Beach in Fiji, Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia, Pink Beach in Indonesia, St Andrews Bay in Antarctica and Venice Beach in Los Angeles, California.

Lonely Planet Best Beaches: 100 of the World’s Most Incredible Beaches is due for release on February 9th.

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Ellen O’Donoghue

Ellen O’Donoghue

Ellen O'Donoghue is an Irish Times journalist