Beach, about 2000 meters in length but swimming distance can be further. Parking at both ends. Shallow beach means quicker entry at high tide, but there are submerged rocks right in front of the parking at the Clonea Strand Hotel end of beach most of which are hidden at high tide. A common swim is East from hotel to slipway and back, about 40 minutes for a 3k per hour swimmer.
It’s possible to swim westerly out to the first small rock island (Carricknamoan) but only on high tide as it is too shallow and with too much bottom kelp on low tide. This is about 3500 metres. There is a weak adverse current which pulls you off line when returning to Hotel Car Park. Follow a line toward Helvick Head and adjust to your left on the way toward the island. Occasional seal.
Baile na Gaul to Helvick Harbour To Helvick Head and Dungarvan Bay
Across Dungarvan Bay is rarely swum except for the Helvick Swim, due to high water traffic (Fishing, sailing).
There’s a shallow reef called The Gainers about 2/3 of the way across (swimming from east to west) that runs into the bay. There is a sharp temperature drop after on the West side of the bay from an inward cold water current.
There are lots of buoys in the bay.
It is unsafe to swim around Dungarvan town harbour due to very high tidal current and water traffic.
Helvick Harbour is a working fishing-boat pier so be careful of boats. There is also plenty of diesel in the water around and outside the pier.
Baile Na Gaul is one mile inland of Helvick Harbour. Short stony beach. Sandy water entrance for 50 metres from the pier wall. Otherwise may be submerged rocks. Best after half tide but there are currents running up and down coast between Baile Na Gaul & Helvick except at high and low water, strong enough to halve normal swimming rate.
Possible to exit safely from the water for about 2/3s of the distance between Baile Na Gaul & Helvick Harbour.
There is a new Waste Treatment Plant about ¾ of the way between Helvick & Baile Na Gaul. There are often very cold spots around here from surface water run-off. Occasional sewage has been “tasted” in the water. There is (up to ¾ knot) strong current around this point out to about 200 metres.
Very choppy conditions here in Northerly wind unlike many other spots are there is a long area for wind to blow across the bay from the town to here.
Helvick Harbour to Helvick Head is a short distance. Sheltered by the Head. Rubbish, kelp and jellyfish accumulate here at slack tides and winds.