If you’ve looked at all of the beaches in the United Kingdom, Ireland should be on your list. A beach holiday is more commonly associated with Europe’s golden sands and the Indian Ocean, but Ireland’s rocky coast has some of the world’s finest beaches.
From secluded sand dunes to the most beautiful Blue Flag beaches, here are 10 Irish beaches that are well worth going off the usual route for.
Ireland’s greatest beaches are so beautiful that you won’t mind spending a day lazing on the beach, even when it’s rainy. From gentle tan sand to rocky coral shores, Ireland’s finest beaches have a lot to offer beachgoers of all types.
Whether you want to stay in one of the island’s beach cottages or enjoy a luxury beach resort, you’ll be rewarded with stunning vistas, refreshing seas, and plenty of enjoyment in the sun (when it decides on that day).
Do you want to know which beach is the greatest in the United Kingdom? There are several great beaches on this wonderful Celtic island (the Irish name for this beautiful island is Éire). Prepare your journey with our list of Ireland’s top beaches.
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Inchydoney Beach, County Cork
One of Ireland’s finest assets is the lovely beach on its southern coast, Inchydoney Beach. The fine white sand, which is free of pebbles and trash, makes for a pleasant long barefoot walk. When low tide occurs at just the right time, you may go even further from the beach into the crystal-clear water.
The Blue Flag is a prestigious, internationally recognized designation given to beaches that have met strict criteria in terms of safety and environmental protection.
The beach is regarded as one of Ireland’s Blue Flag beaches, which implies it has been assessed by the Foundation for Environmental Education for encouraging environmental awareness and sustainable development. This also indicates that it is a natural beauty spot where both the water and sand are clean and safe.
Do you have a love for the water?
This spectacular beach in Cork is ideal for both beginners and more experienced surfers since the waves are excellent. There are multiple lifeguards available during the peak season to guarantee your safety.
Inchydoney Beach is a short walk (about 6.4 kilometers) from Clonakilty, a picturesque town (and past winner of the Tidy Towns Competition) with restaurants, shops, and plenty of music. Are you jet-setting off to another beach?
After a busy day in Clonakilty, you can rest your weary feet at any one of the nearby beach hotels.
Inch Beach, County Kerry
Inch Beach, on the Dingle Peninsula in southwest Ireland, is a must-see on any trip to Irish beaches.
The crashing waves of this finger-shaped peninsula caress golden sand as they bring returning surfers back to land.
Swimming here is a luxury (although it’s still cold). Where else can you stride toward lush rolling hills?
The water is rough, as are the tides, so keep a tight grip on your children. It’s also rather windy, so you might want to leave that beach umbrella at home.
Inch Beach is also a Blue Flag beach about 50 minutes from Killarney.
The film “Ryan’s Daughter” gave the cove its name, which is incorrectly understood to mean a tiny portion of the beach.
This more than four-kilometer-wide zone juts out into the sea between Dingle and Castlemaine harbors, providing views of the Slieve Mish and MacGillicuddy Reeks.
Take a walk outside, turn your gaze to the horizon, and watch the tide roll in. The best time to view this phenomenon is at low tide when seawater flows freely into the ocean.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to observe the sky mirrored on the fresh sand below after it’s exposed.
Insider’s advice: Keep track of the tide while parking your car on the beach; don’t want your automobile to float away later.
Banna Strand, County Kerry
Banna Strand, a second Blue Flag beach, is backed by sand dunes that reach a height of 40 feet. It’s an excellent spot for surfing and windsurfing because the shallow waters are conducive to family vacations. When the tide goes out, you may walk for miles along the rim of rolling hills surrounding the beach. Bikes and strollers can use the paved path that runs between the beach and road.
This is a lovely little park to stop by while travelling the Wild Atlantic Way (more than 2,500 kilometers of breathtaking coast on Ireland’s west coast, from the Inishowen Peninsula in the north to Kinsale in the south). There aren’t many stores or services here, so bring your lunch.
The pleasant seaside resort of Tralee, which is only 11 kilometers distant, is a popular day trip for Dubliners. It has comfortable hotels and a variety of stores and restaurants to offer. Don’t forget to visit the Blennerville Windmill, which is spectacular. Insider’s advice: If you’re lucky enough to spot someone riding a horse on the beautiful golden sand, don’t miss it.
Bundoran, Co. Donegal
Bundoran Beach is for the surfers. It’s popular with both international and Irish surfers, and it served as the European Championship venue in 2011.
The Peak, one of Ireland’s most well-known waves, breaks over an offshore reef, drawing expert surfers from all over the world. Meanwhile, the main beach area is reserved for less experienced swimmers.
Bundoran isn’t only for surfers, though; swimmers and sun worshipers are welcome too, and it hosts a music festival each June called Sea Sessions.
Keem Beach, Co. Mayo
This small dirt track that winds over the mountain leads to Keem Beach, which is only accessible by a tiny road that snakes its way up the hill.
The Wild Atlantic Way’s sheltered beach on which it was formerly a basking shark fishery has more to offer than simply stunning vistas.
It also offers crystal clear seas, making it one of Ireland’s finest beaches for scuba divers and snorkellers.
Silver Strand Beach, County Donegal
Who would have guessed that paradise could be found on a Donegal beach? This crescent-shaped wonder opens to crystal-clear turquoise water that beckons you to jump in. On both sides are dramatic cliffs and graceful waterfalls that help you relax your mental stress relief button.
Silver Strand Beach is a huge favorite with families since it’s both safe and shallow. During the summer, lifeguards watch over the area, which is a bonus for parents with small children.
Silver Strand is located in the tiny village of Malin Beg and can be rather quiet during the off-season. If you’re looking for a relaxing beach getaway, consider traveling to Silver Strand during April or May. It may be cold, but you’ll have this pristine haven all to yourself.
Whiterocks Beach, Portrush, Co. Antrim
Whiterocks is a stunning beach in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Honey-colored dunes, long expanses of sand, and views of 13th century Dunluce Castle make it a must-see.
The beautiful location has an additional highlight: chalky-white limestone cliffs formed by the North Atlantic that are quite amazing.
This large beach provides endless possibilities for walking, strolling, and exploring the tiny bays at low tide (only).
If you want to get more active, try surfing or stand-up paddling. If you’re thinking of visiting, there are many other places to visit on the itinerary that will help you get off the beaten path in Ireland.
Killiney Beach, Co. Dublin
Killiney Beach, on the other hand, lacks in sandiness (there are quite a lot of pebbles). It more than compensates for that in proximity to the capital city.
This south Dublin beach is only a short train ride from downtown, but you’ll feel like you’re on another planet. You may swim in the bay, but I believe one of the best ways to enjoy a day here is to hike up Killiney Hill and take in the views. On a clear day, you might see as far as Wales.
Rossbeigh, County Kerry
Taking a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life is something that can help us all recharge our batteries, but none more so than Ireland’s Ring of Kerry.
Leaving before the tennis matches begin at Wimbledon is the same as going on a trip to Ireland without seeing the Ring of Kerry.
The natural beauty of this rich country left visitors speechless, with its massive hills, lush countryside, and verdant mountains leaving them in awe.
Another must-see location on the Ring of Kerry is Rossbeigh beach, which is just two kilometers from Glenbeigh.
Rossbeigh is a stretch of sand located on the Iveragh Peninsula (opposite the Dingle Peninsula, which has Inch Beach) and is frequently referred to as a Killarney beach.
The explanation for this name comes from the fact that Killarney is only 35 kilometers away, making it an excellent place to stay overnight (or two or three).
Rossbeigh has a children’s playground, clean sand, and magnificent mountain and sea views, all of which earned it a Blue Flag status.
The surf isn’t overwhelming here, and lifeguards are on duty throughout the summer, making it ideal for families.
Portmarnock Beach, County Dublin
Looking for the best beaches near Dublin? The Velvet Strand, a title given to several beaches within a stone’s throw of the enormous metropolis, is the place to go.
Portmarnock Beach in Portmarnock, Ireland’s largest village, is one of the finest. This sandy beach is just under an hour from Ireland’s capital city. A stunning view of Howth Head and Ireland’s Eye awaits you as your reward.
About 600 feet from the beach is a long, paved path (a.k.a. coastal walkway) and miles of stunning sand dunes set for children (or big) and dogs to climb.
Yes, you read that correctly: dogs are permitted on this beach, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a time when you won’t see at least one four-legged companion taking a nice stroll beside the water.
The Martello Tower, which is located at the beginning of the path leading to Malahide, is a must-see for avid explorers.
Treat yourself to a restful stay at Portmarnock’s White Sands Hotel after you’ve gotten your legs tired from all that walking.
When is the best time to visit Ireland’s beaches?
The best time to visit Ireland’s beaches is during the summer. While they are lovely all year, those planning to get the most out of Ireland’s finest beaches should go when the weather is warmer and the sun is more likely to shine. That means June, July, and August are your best bets for a more pleasant atmosphere.
When is the best time to swim at Ireland’s beaches?
The best time to swim in Ireland’s beaches is during the summer. However, keep in mind that the Irish term for “warm seas” won’t be a perfect match for your tropical beach holiday.
The average water temperature in Ireland is about 7°C (in January) to 15°C (in August), making summer the best time to swim at an Irish beach. That said, a temperature of 15 degrees Fahrenheit isn’t chilly enough to produce goosebumps, so bring a wet suit if you plan ongoing.
What is the closest beach to Dublin?
The most popular beach in Dublin, Dollymount Strand is located approximately 9 kilometers northeast of the city.
This lovely beach, which extends for 5 kilometers along Bull Island on Dublin Bay, is locally known as Dollyer.
Visitors who cross the causeway to reach this beach, which is roughly nine kilometers northeast of Dublin City, are rewarded with more than just its soft sand and magnificent dunes; they also get a stunning view of the city itself. Because this beach is frequently windy, it’s a favourite site for kite surfers.