Ireland is home to some of the most renowned beaches in Europe. Visitors are never more than 100 kilometers from coastline areas, including the Wild Atlantic Way, the world's longest defined coastal route. Many popular beaches have received the prestigious Blue Flag certification.
Kilmurvey Beach is a delightful sandy beach in the Aran Islands in County Galway, located along Inish Mór's northern coastline. The Blue Flag-designated beach is home to a number of rare native plant species which are listed within the Red Data Book, along with internationally-significant populations of coastal bird species. Visitors can swim safely within the beach's calm waters throughout the warm months, with lifeguards staffed on duty at peak times. Birdwatching and wildlife watching are also popular beachfront activities, with exquisite beach strolling conditions offered for viewing the region's beautiful sunsets. A number of budget and upscale accommodations are located near the beach, including the Galway Harbour Hotel City Centre, the Ardilaun Hotel, and Corrib Village.
Kilmurvey, Aran Mor, Galway, Republic of Ireland, Phone: +353-14-00-22-02
Tullen Strand is a charming two-kilometer white sand beach that is considered to be Ireland's most consistent beach stretch, spanning between Bundoran's northern end to Ballyshannon's Erne Estuary. The popular beachfront is framed by the nearby Sligo-Leitrim Mountains and a number of sand dune formations, making it one of the country's most scenic beachfronts. Waves frequently reach heights of up to six feet, making for great surfing conditions for surfers of all skill levels. Due to wave conditions, swimming is not recommended at the beach, especially for children and novice swimmers. The beach is also popular with canoeists, body boarders, and other watersport enthusiasts, which can sometimes create overcrowding conditions during summer weekends, so tourists are advised to visit the beach during weekdays to avoid crowds.
Derrynane Beach is an extensive Blue Flag-designated beach located on Derrynane Bay along the Ring of Kerry, near the Derrynane House and the village of Caherdaniel. The sheltered beach is home to its own natural harbor, with fine sands stretching between rocky outcroppings on each end of the beach. Swimming and watersports are popular throughout the summer months, with lifeguards staffed on duty during peak times. Visitors should note that a section of the beach known as "Danger Beach" is prone to particularly turbulent ocean currents, though additional lifeguard staff is on hand to monitor the area for safety. Near the beach's western end, visitors can access Abbey Island via a spit connected to the mainland, which is home to the 8th-century ruins of St. Finian's Abbey.
Derrynane, Caherdaniel, Kerry, Republic of Ireland, Phone: +353-6-46-63-16-33
Fanore Beach is a mostly-unspoiled beach located within Ireland's Burren region along the Atlantic Ocean coastline, near the lovely seaside village of Fanore. The Blue Flag-designated beach is one of nine major geological sites within Burren and Cliffs of Moher Global Geopark, which is known for its unique glacial karst landscapes and seaside shale cliffs. Swimming and surfing are popular water activities at the beach, which is staffed with lifeguards throughout the summer months for visitor safety. Public parking is offered along an access road near the R477, with an RV park located near the dunes adjacent to the beach. Many beachgoers use the beach and RV park as a jumping-off point for exploring the nearby natural wonders of the Burren, which include caves featuring some of the world's largest stalactites.
Fanore More, Co. Clare, Ireland, Phone: +353-6-56-82-16-16
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Lahinch Beach is a Blue Flag-designated beach located along Ireland's Atlantic Ocean coastline near the village of Liscannor and the resort town of Lahinch, offering convenient access to the nearby Burren and Cliffs of Moher Global Geopark. The beach is a very popular spot for swimming, surfing, kite surfing, and sea kayaking throughout the warm months, with several surfing schools located nearby offering surf lessons for beginners. Lifeguards are staffed on duty at the beach during peak times throughout the summer. Deep sea and freshwater fishing opportunities also abound throughout crescent-shaped Liscannor Bay. A wide variety of visitor amenities are offered within Lahinch, including overnight accommodations and restaurants.
Ennistymon Rd, Dough, Lahinch, Co. Clare, Ireland, Phone: +353-6-51-23-45-67
Barleycove, known as Bá na hEornan in Irish, is a charming beachfront town in County Cork, located along Ireland's southern coastline on the Mizen Peninsula. The beach is flanked by stunning sand dune formations created by tidal waves following the Lisbon earthquake in 1755, which have been partially eroded but are protected as a Special Area of Conservation by the European Union. A wide variety of wildlife habitats are present within the dunes, creating excellent opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife watching. Surfing, boating, and sailing opportunities are offered throughout warm months, with opportunities for hiking, cycling, and horseback riding offered on land near the beachfront. Nearby, the spectacular 400-foot cliffs of Mizen Head make for great photo opportunities, while the Maritime Museum and Heritage Attraction showcases exhibits on the region's natural and cultural history.
BarleycoveCannawee, Co. Cork, Ireland
Inchydoney Beach is one of West Cork's most family-friendly beaches, located on Inchydoney Island near the town of Clonakilty. The Blue Flag-designated beach has been voted as Ireland's best international tourist beach three times since 2016 by TripAdvisor, showcasing picturesque dune formations throughout its beautiful unspoiled beachfront area. Excellent surfing conditions are offered for surfers of all ability levels, with surf lessons and board rentals provided by the beach's surf school. Lifeguards are staffed on duty throughout the summer months to keep young ones safe, and a number of rock pools throughout the beach make for great beachcombing spots for families. Nearby, Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa is home to four-star accommodations and a variety of dining options, including the nautical-themed Dunes Pub and Bistro.
Murvagh Beach is a two-kilometer sandy beach along Donegal's southern coastline, located near the village of Laghy. The Blue Flag-designated beach is a popular site for picnics, offering a sheltered shoreline which is protected from strong sea currents for safe swimming conditions. Lifeguards are staffed on duty at the beach from June through August, making the beach a great family-friendly destination. Extensive sand dune formations are protected as a Special Area of Conservation by the European Union, which are located near the entrance of Murvaugh Forest. Nearby in Donegal, visitors can dine at a number of charming restaurants or stay overnight as a launching-off point for exploration of the Blue Stack Mountains.
Laghy, Murvagh, Donegal, Republic of Ireland, Phone: +353-7-49-72-11-48
Narin-Portnoo Strand is a Blue Flag-designated beach within a Natural Heritage Area protecting significant low sand dunes, located along Ireland's Atlantic Ocean coastline near Donegal and Dunmore Head. The beach is home to a diverse range of significant terrestrial, coastal, and marine habitats, located within a picturesque sheltered cove home to white-gold sands that stretch for more than a mile. Safe swimming conditions are offered for visitors of all ability levels, with lifeguards staffed on duty at peak times throughout the summer months. Panoramic views are offered from the beach's coastline, with access available at low tide to the nearby island of Inis Caoil, which is home to the remains of several historically-significant churches dating back to the 6th century.
Narin Portnoo, Donegal, Republic of Ireland
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Killiney Beach, known in Irish as Cill Iníon Léinín, is a popular seaside resort town and beach near the towns of Dalkey and Shankill, originally founded in the 11th century as Killiney Church. The beachfront area became an affluent resort town during the 19th century and offers a wide variety of outdoor recreation opportunities throughout the summer months, including swimming and watersports along its stony shoreline. Many Irish and European celebrities own homes nearby or flock to the resort town throughout the summer months for stunning views of nearby Bray Head, Dalkey Island, and Sorrento Terrace. Swimmers should note that the beach's waters increase in depth steeply near the shoreline and should exercise appropriate caution. Grassy areas are offered for picnics, and a Dublin Area Rapid Transit stop adjacent to the beach provides convenient access to Dublin's major tourist attractions.
Killiney, Dublin, PO Code: Co Dublin, Republic of Ireland, Phone: +353-12-84-50-66
11.Dollymount Strand Beach
Dollymount Strand Beach is a spacious five-kilometer beach that is the closest public beach to Dublin's city center, located on Bull Island and accessible from Clontarf via the Wooden Bridge. The manmade island within Dublin Bay was created in the 19th century as a response to silting problems and is protected as part of the Dublin Bay Biosphere Reserve today by UNESCO, serving as a significant breeding site for a number of native bird species. The beach runs the entire perimeter of the island's coastline, showcasing beautiful sands and sand dune formations throughout the island's eastern shore areas. Large parking areas are available, with lifeguards staffed on duty throughout the summer months to watch over swimmers and paddleboarders. Visitors can also explore the North Bull Island Interpretive Center, which offers exhibits and information on the island's history and wildlife habitats.
Portmarnock Beach, also known as the Velvet Strand, is a beautiful five-mile sandy beach stretching between Malahide Beach and Baldoyle near Dublin, known as the site of Charles Kingsford Smith's flight launch for his famed 1930 transatlantic flight. The pristine beach has been awarded both Blue Flag and Green Coast Award designations for its beautiful smooth sands and excellent water conditions. Sand dunes flank the beachfront, home to a wide variety of native Irish flora and fauna, with beautiful views of Howth Harbour and the Dublin Mountains offered from its shoreline. Visitors can swim in the beach's waters or use the adjoining trail to Malahide Beach for jogging, cycling, or rollerblading throughout the warmer months.
Portmarnock, Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Dog's Bay is a gorgeous beachfront located near Roundstone and Clifden within County Galway, forming a sand spit and tombolo land formation with adjacent Gurteen Beach. The spectacular horseshoe-shaped beach stretches for more than a mile along the coastline, home to pristine white sands created from seashell fragments. Unique geological and archaeological features make the beach an internationally-significant region for preservation, including rare machair vegetations grasslands which are only found along Ireland and Scotland's western coastlines. Crystal-clear waters gradually increase in depth from the beach's shoreline, making for excellent swimming conditions for visitors of all ages. Windsurfing and kitesurfing are also popular activities at the beach throughout the summer months.
Dog's Bay Beach, Roundstone, Galway, Republic of Ireland
Silver Strand, known as An Trá Bhán in Irish, is one of Ireland's cleanest beaches, awarded Blue Flag status for its environmental conditions. The beach, which is located at Malin Beg in County Donegal a few miles west of Galway, showcases smooth golden sands along a horseshoe-shaped beachfront flanked by rocky cliffs on both sides, protecting the coastline from strong wave conditions. Swimming is permitted along the beachfront, with lifeguards staffed on duty between June and September. Visitors should note that the beach is almost completely submerged at high tide times and should plan accordingly using tidal tables. Nearby in Galway, a wide variety of cultural attractions, restaurants, and bars await visitors.
Malin Beg, Glencolumbkille, Co. Donegal, Ireland
Salthill Beach is a charming group of several small beaches separated by rocky outcroppings, located in Galway City overlooking the beautiful Galway Bay, which has been designated as a Special Area of Conservation by the European Union. The beach's sections alternate between pebble and sand cover, with a long promenade connecting beachfront areas and offering public amenities and grassy areas for picnics. Lifeguards are staffed on duty at the beachfront between May and September, making the beach a great spot for family-friendly swimming and other water activities. Nearby, visitors can trek through The Burren National Park or explore a number of area attractions, including the National Aquarium of Ireland.
Salthill, Galway, Republic of Ireland
Inch Beach is a gorgeous three-mile beach located along County Kerry's Dingle Peninsula and Daingean Bay, best known as a filming location for feature films such as Ryan's Daughter and Playboy of the Western World. The white-sand beach has received Blue Flag designation and is a popular year-round destination for a wide variety of watersports, including surfing, kayaking, and bass fishing. Lifeguards are staffed on duty throughout the summer months, with ideal conditions offered for swimming for the entire family. Beautiful views of Dingle Bay and the Mountains of Kerry are offered from the beach's shoreline, with ample space for beachgoers to park their cars right on the beachfront and spread out. Nearby, Sammy's Restaurant serves up famed Dingle Bay oysters along with a wide variety of traditional Irish fare.
Dingle Peninsula, Kerry, Republic of Ireland
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Banna Strand, commonly referred to as Banna Beach, is a lovely Atlantic Ocean beachfront located in Tralee Bay in County Kerry, extending northward from Barrow Beach to Ballyheigue Beach at Blackrock. The 10-kilometer golden sand beach is backed by gorgeous sand dunes reaching heights of up to 12 meters, which have been designated as a significant conservation area for their abundance of rare flora and fauna. Surfing is popular within the beach's waters, with a surf school located directly on the beachfront offering surfing lessons. Lifeguards are staffed on duty throughout the summer months, making the beach a very popular family-friendly spot. Other popular activities include wildlife watching, including dolphin watching along the bay's waters.
Ardfert, Kerry, Republic of Ireland
Rossbeigh Beach is a charming South Kerry Peninsula beach located approximately two miles from the village of Glenbeigh, offering unparalleled views of beautiful Dingle Bay. The beach, which stretches for more than six kilometers along the Ring of Kerry tourist route, has been awarded Blue Flag status and is located within the Castlemaine Harbour Special Area of Conservation, which protects important populations of native flora and fauna. Lifeguards are staffed on duty at the beach throughout the summer months, making it a great choice for families to enjoy full days of play together. A children's playground is also offered, along with opportunities for horseback riding and hiking in nearby areas.
Rossbeigh, Glenbeigh, Kerry, Republic of Ireland, Phone: +353-6-46-63-16-33
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Ballybunion Beach is a stretch of two Blue Flag-designated public beachfronts located within North Kerry's famed seaside resort of the same name, overlooking the ruins of a spectacular 16th-century castle and the Ballybunion Golf Course. The beach's sections retain their colloquial "Men's Beach" and "Ladies Beach" names, a reference to historic bathing segregation practices by gender. Swimming, surfing, and other watersports are popular at the beach's waterfront, with ample sandy space along the beachfront for beach strolling and sunbathing. A separate "Nun's Beach" area is accessible via a steep rope-handrail-led access path, home to the natural Nine Daughters Hole blowhole formation. Amenities at the beach include a cafe, an ice cream shop, and hot seaweed baths.
Ballybunion, Kerry, Republic of Ireland
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Mulranny is a gorgeous Blue Flag-designated beach located near Mulranny Village, offering spectacular views of Clew Bay and nearby Clare Island. The beach is home to a series of beautiful golden-sand coves, which are flanked by impressive machair dune formations. Lifeguards are staffed on duty during the summer months, with a wide variety of amenities offered for visitors, including restrooms and showers. Swimming and kayaking are popular waterfront activities, with ample sandy space for sunbathing and relaxing along the shoreline. Several important conservation areas are located near the beach, including salt marsh and machair plain areas that are home to a wide variety of scientifically-important flora and fauna species.
The Beach, Mulranny, Mayo, Republic of Ireland, Phone: +353-14-00-22-02
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Strandhill Beach is a popular beachfront area located approximately five miles from Sligo, offering beautiful panoramic views of nearby Benbulben and Knocknarea. The charming beach and seaside resort area has earned a reputation as one of Europe's best surfing spots, offering excellent wave conditions during mid-to-high tide conditions. Several surf clubs and shops within the region offer surfing lessons throughout the year, with stand-up paddleboard rentals also available. Visitors should note that swimming is prohibited at the beach due to strong wave currents, including wave conditions that can cause waters to crash into nearby rocks at high tide times. A number of restaurants, bars, and resorts line the area's waterfront district, along with attractions such as the St. Asicus National School and Strandhill Golf Course.
Sligo, Republic of Ireland, Phone: +353-7-19-16-12-01
Curracloe Beach is one of Ireland's most popular public beaches, known throughout Europe for its beautiful seven-mile beachfront stretch and pristine, soft sands. The beach, which is best known for its use as a filming site in the film Saving Private Ryan, is located approximately two kilometers from Curracloe Village and has received Blue Flag certification, making it an ideal sport for swimming and sunbathing. Three access points connected by an accessible boardwalk are offered along its beachfront stretch, which begins at Raven Point and stretches to Ballyconigar. The beach is also located adjacent to the Raven Nature Reserve, which offers opportunities for jogging, hiking, and dog-walking along its public nature trails.
1 Castlehill Bungalows, Ballinesker, Curracloe, Co. Wexford, Ireland
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Rosslare Strand is a lovely seaside resort and public sandy beachfront located within County Wexford, located near the community of Rosslare Harbour. The Blue Flag-designated beach is located within Ireland's sunniest region, receiving more than 300 hours more sunshine each year than the national average. Lifeguard service is offered at the beach throughout the summer months, making it a popular spot for families looking for swimming opportunities. Beach wheelchairs are available to visitors free of charge, with accessible restroom and shower facilities offered for visitors with mobility concerns. Nearby in the village of Rosslare Strand, visitors can enjoy a wide variety of restaurants, pubs, and shops or catch a train into Dublin along the Rosslare Port line.
Brittas Bay is a beautiful four-kilometer stretch of beachfront along the coast of the Irish Sea, best known as a filming spot for the 2002 feature film The Count of Monte Cristo. The beachfront resort has been a popular summer home area for Dublin-area residents since the mid-2oth century, attracting large crowds on the first weekend of each August for camping during the county's August Bank Holiday. Visitors should note that recent environmental regulations passed in the area forbid camping in the area of the beach's sand dunes, though a designated campsite is offered nearby to accommodate campers. Monthly beachfront cleanup events are hosted by the Brittas Bay Coastcare Group, which aims to preserve the environmental integrity of nearby designated Special Areas of Conservation.
Brittas Bay, Wicklow. Republic of Ireland
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25 Best Beaches in Ireland
- Kilmurvey Beach, Photo: ale_rizzo/stock.adobe.com
- Tullen Strand, Photo: Delphotostock/stock.adobe.com
- Derrynane Beach, Photo: MNStudio/stock.adobe.com
- Fanore Beach, Photo: lisandrotrarbach/stock.adobe.com
- Lahinch Beach, Photo: Ian Waldraff/stock.adobe.com
- Barleycove, Photo: dahi/stock.adobe.com
- Inchydoney Beach, Photo: kieranhayes/stock.adobe.com
- Murvagh Beach, Photo: Simon/stock.adobe.com
- Narin-Portnoo Strand, Photo: instagram.com_alfil/stock.adobe.com
- Killiney Beach, Photo: Gabriel/stock.adobe.com
- Dollymount Strand Beach, Photo: phsimonbouet/stock.adobe.com
- Portmarnock Beach, Photo: Darren/stock.adobe.com
- Dog's Bay, Photo: kevers/stock.adobe.com
- Silver Strand, Photo: lisandrotrarbach/stock.adobe.com
- Salthill Beach, Photo: freeskyline/stock.adobe.com
- Inch Beach, Photo: MNStudio/stock.adobe.com
- Banna Strand, Photo: Colm/stock.adobe.com
- Rossbeigh Beach, Photo: kwiatek7/stock.adobe.com
- Ballybunion Beach, Photo: dahi/stock.adobe.com
- Mulranny, Photo: wojciechhajduk/stock.adobe.com
- Strandhill Beach, Photo: Daniel/stock.adobe.com
- Curracloe Beach, Photo: gregorydean/stock.adobe.com
- Rosslare Strand, Photo: Uwalthie Pic Project/stock.adobe.com
- Brittas Bay, Photo: grafxart/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Petair/stock.adobe.com