With a three thousand kilometre coastline, Ireland clocks up no less than one hundred and nine beaches along a unique and stunning landscape. With the contrast of the exposed Wild Atlantic Way in the west with its notorious waves compared to the sheltered coastlines of the east, Ireland offers a vast range of beach retreats to explore this summer. We have gathered twenty of our favourite beaches for you to find. Now, of course, all we need is for the sun to shine. And yet, there is something romantic and authentic about walking a mist-laden beach in the cool summer air.
The Adventure Beach – Strandhill, County Sligo
The vibrant and welcoming village of Strandhill sits eight kilometres outside of Sligo and offers much more than the sandy shore to build sandcastles. One of the country’s most loved family beaches, it’s one of the best spots to take surfing or , bodyboarding lessons. And, if a spot of luxury is on the cards, pay a visit to the Voya Seaweed baths along the seafront.
The Limestone Surround Beach – Whiterocks Beach, County Antrim
Head north to experience a stunning expanse of limestone cliffs framing the warm and vast stretch of sand at Whiterocks in County Antrim. This incredible beach offers long walks and hidden coves at low tide. With views of the 13th century Dunluce Castle and the natural stark white limestone rock, this beach is dreamily unique. Another popular spot for surfers it’s one to check out.
The Pebble Beach – Killiney, County Dublin
There may be very little sand to trickle through your fingers at Killiney beach in County Dublin. Still, it is conveniently located to the city centre and remains a popular spot for tourists and locals alike. This long stony beach welcomes bathers and swimmers with stunning views of Bray Head. There is even the possibility of spying Wales on a clear day.
The Coral Beach – Trà an Doilin, County Galway
Trà an Doilin is a unique coral beach in County Galway. The fine white sand found here is made of coral and is only one of two beaches on this side of the island known for this distinctive formation of sand. The blue waters and rock pools make it an exciting place to explore, with snorkelling and scuba diving also an option for those a little more adventurous.
The Dublin Beach – Portmarnock, County Dublin
Portmarnock Beach in County Dublin is the perfect coastal spot to explore if you are staying in the city centre this summer. With soft sand and dunes to explore along this almost five-kilometre stretch of strand, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of Ireland’s Eye and Howth Head. A popular spot on a hot day, Portmarnock beach easily links up with Malahide beach, which is a vast expanse at low tide.
The Tourist Beach – Tramore, County Waterford
Tramore Beach in County Waterford has won multiple Blue Flag Beach awards, and its recognition grows year on year. The five-kilometre stretch of silken sand is a popular destination for families. Watching the activity on the water is a speciality of Tramore Beach as it is popular with kayakers, surfers, and even kite surfing on those windy days. Not only a bustling hive of activity and a traditional seaside town, but Tramore Beach also offers a picturesque landscape with the rugged cliffs acting as the best natural viewing spot to take in the bay.
The Cave Beach – Maghera Beach, County Donegal
Maghera Beach in County Donegal has long been considered one of the most impressive beaches in the north of the island as the magic of the sea and the land entices its visitors to take in every inch of this hidden gem. When the tide is out, Maghera beach covers five kilometres with sand dunes and stunning landscapes.
The Family Beach – Rossbeigh, County Kerry
If you are visiting the Ring of Kerry this year, make a note to stop off at Rossbeign beach, which is a quick 1.5 kilometres away from the village of Glenbeigh. The sandy beach stretches to over eleven kilometres and is one of those spots perfect for horse trekking, leisurely walks, and swimming. A welcoming family beach, it also hosts the Glenbeigh Racing festival in August with pony races along the strand.
The Warmest Beach – Glanleam Beach, County Kerry
You may not imagine that the warmest beach in Ireland would be along the Wild Atlantic Away, but here it sits! Glanleam beach in County Kerry is fortunate enough to sit along the Gulf Stream and resides in a sheltered valley making it one of the warmest beaches along the west coast. A perfect spot to catch a few rays when the sun peeps out.
The Popular Beach – Inch Strand, County Kerry
Inch Strand is a blue flag beach in County Kerry that is popular with surfers, swimmers, walkers, and those looking to top up their tan. It’s a great spot to dip your toes and take up a new hobby in watersports.
The Surfers Beach – Bundoran, County Donegal
Situated in the classic seaside town of Bundoran, the local beach has much to offer aside from its golden sand. With amusements, a water park, and a fun fair, you would think this would be enough of a distraction to entertain yourself here. However, Bundoran beach is home to some of the best waves with surfers flocking from all over the world to experience the surf breaks on offer.
The Biggest Beach – Fermoyle Strand, County Kerry
At a stretch of 14 kilometres, Fermoyle Strand runs along the foothills of the Brandon Mountains. As one of the longest beaches in Ireland, Fermoyle strang sits on the northern side of the Dingle Penninsula along the curve of Bradon Bay. Popular with those keen to hit the water, the strand is a
The Sheltered Beach – Derrynane Beach, County Kerry
While Ireland is not without its fair share of sheltered beaches, one of the best for us is Derrynane beach in County Kerry. Surrounded by steep hills and amazing cliffs with beautiful rock formations, this beach is a must-visit when exploring the Ring of Kerry. Wonderfully sheltered with clean white sand and gently lapping waters, Derrynane beach is the perfect spot to build sandcastles with the kids.
The Beach with Dunes – Barleycove, County Cork
Sand dunes can be found on many an Irish beach, but none are made as they are in Barleycove. Incredibly, the history behind these dunes centres on a tsunami which hit the area in the 18th century and displaced the sand in a most unique manner. A wonderful spot to explore or to take to the cool water and splash about, Barleycove is a popular spot with good reason.
The Paradise Beach – Brittas Bay, County Wicklow
With a powdery stretch of white sand covering five kilometres, Brittas Bay is an ideal spot all year round and is considered to be one of the best beaches on the east coast. As a conservation area, Brittas Bay is home to rare plant species, and as a blue flag beach, it encourages flocks of tourists, locals, and of course, Dubliners all year round.
The Secluded Beach – Ballyquin Beach, County Waterford
Ballyquin beach outside Ardmore, County Waterford, offers the perfect balance of seclusion and quiet as it is mostly locals who visit for an early swim with many choosing to visit Ardmore beach instead. With beautiful white sand, rock pools, and a picturesque walk, Ballyquin is a tempting choice over Ardmore.
The Scenic Beach – Coumeenole, County Kerry
Coumeenole is one of the most iconic beaches in Ireland as it is well known for being a film location for the Irish classic Ryan’s Daughter. With some of the most impressive coastal scenery, Coumeenole in the Dingle Peninsula almost disappears at high tide, so plan your visit accordingly. Swimming is not advised as the current is unpredictable and dangerous.
The World Away Beach – Currocloe Beach, County Wexford
When we find a spot as unique as Currocloe, we hold onto it, recommend it, and revisit it for a reason. While Currocloe beach has a long stretch of ten kilometres of white sandy strand, gentle waves breaking on the shoreline, and a blue flag, this part of the coastline is like being a world away. You may very well feel as though you are in the Mediterranean on a fine day.
The Turquoise Beach – Keem Bay, County Mayo
Head out to Achill Island off County Mayo and pay a visit to Keem Bay which is home to some of the most spectacular sights. The sea is a keen turquoise, and the golden beach is nestled between high cliffs making it a dramatic backdrop. This peaceful retreat into a stark and beautiful landscape is a must for those exploring the fine sandy beaches of Ireland this summer.
The Horsehoe Beach – Dog’s Bay, County Galway
While there are many horseshoe-shaped bays dotted along our coastline, including Streedagh Strand in County Sligo, Dog’s Bay in County Galway is by far one of the most spectacular. Sat back to back with Gurteen Bay, this double bay is a stunning sight. Here you will see the most impeccably clear water along this 1.6-kilometre stretch of beach with the sand formed by tiny shells, making it wonderfully soft.
The Cleanest Beach – Inchydoney, County Cork
Inchydoney has long held its blue flag and is deemed to be one of the cleanest beaches Ireland has to offer. You will find no stones or litter along the perfect white sand. Both the water and beach are clean and safe to explore. A popular spot for surfers, and a go-to day out for families, Inchydoney is guarded by lifeguards during high season.
Feel free to let us know other beaches that you would add to this list.