Are you looking for the best beaches in Ireland?
Ireland’s coastline stretches for more than 3,000 kilometres and includes some of the world’s most magnificent beaches.
These beaches offer a variety of options for every type of beachgoer, from hidden coves to long expanses of white sand shoreline.
From south to north and east to west, here are some of the best beaches on the Emerald Isle.
Things you'll find in this article
- 13 Best Beaches In Ireland That You Need To Visit
- 1. Barleycove, Co. Cork
- 2. Coumeenole Beach, Dunquin, Co. Kerry
- 3. Dogs Bay, Co. Galway
- 4. Inch Beach, County Kerry
- 5. Keem Beach, Co. Mayo
- 6. Killiney Strand, Co. Dublin
- 7. Main Beach, Bundoran, Co. Donegal
- 8. Murlough Beach, County Down
- 9. Murder Hole Beach, Co. Donegal
- 10. Portsalon Beach, Co. Donegal
- 11. Portstewart Strand, Co. Derry
- 12. Strandhill Beach, Co. Sligo
- 13. Whiterocks, Co. Antrim
13 Best Beaches In Ireland That You Need To Visit
1. Barleycove, Co. Cork
This long stretch of beach in County Cork is nestled in a bay near the imposing Mizen Head and is a popular tourist destination. This is a go-to popular summer vacation spot for the Irish because of the calm waves and plenty of beach space for families to enjoy together.
There are various coastal walks in the neighbourhood where you can take in the views of the sea, as well as good restaurants that are only a short drive from the hotel.
Activities: Swimming, lounging under the sun, strolling
2. Coumeenole Beach, Dunquin, Co. Kerry
You can find Coumeenoole Beach on the Dingle Peninsula’s western edge. From the shore, the Blasket Islands may be seen in the distance, framed by rugged cliffs and verdant fields. It was originally described by Lonely Planet as “one of the most beautiful spots on Earth.”
However, town authorities have banned swimming here because the tides can be so erratic. Still, amazing views can be enjoyed by scaling the cliffs surrounding the area.
Activities: Strolling, photography, lounging in the sand
3. Dogs Bay, Co. Galway
Dogs Bay is without a doubt one of Ireland’s most stunning beaches, with its magnificent white sand and crystal-clear turquoise ocean. Located on the coast of County Galway, the magnificent horseshoe-shaped bay is nestled away within a secluded section of a peninsula.
It features over two kilometres of white sand and is within walking distance to another lovely beach on the opposite side of the peninsula, Gurteen Bay.
Activities: Strolling, jet skiing, photography
4. Inch Beach, County Kerry
This beach on the Dingle peninsula is a surfer’s paradise, with its three-mile-long shore and fantastic waves. Inch beach also has a vast expanse of white sand perfect for strolling and sunbathing.
Tourists from the east throng to this area, particularly on weekends, traveling great distances to experience the beauty of the Dingle peninsula.
Activities: Surfing, strolling, hanging put in the sand
5. Keem Beach, Co. Mayo
Known for its picturesque horseshoe harbour and crystal-clear turquoise sea, this Achill beach is a must-see for any traveller to Ireland.
Walk along with one of Ireland’s most beautiful coastlines, swim in the Atlantic, and discover the Keem Bay Loop. Take in some of the area’s most famous landmarks on this 5.6-mile trek. Bring your walking shoes and a camera, because there are beautiful views around every bend.
Activities: Swimming, photography
6. Killiney Strand, Co. Dublin
Trains from Dublin‘s city centre travel to Killiney Strand Beach, which is ideal for swimming, fishing & scenic walks. Even though the beach is rocky, swimming is still possible. Killiney Hill’s panoramic vistas are another fun way to spend a day in the area.
From this area, you can also see the Wicklow Mountains, the Irish Sea, and Bray Head headland. You may even Wales if the weather is good enough.
Activities: Swimming, fishing, strolling
7. Main Beach, Bundoran, Co. Donegal
Located in Donegal, Bundoran is a popular Irish coastal town. The majority of visitors to this area go to Bundoran Beach, a popular summer destination.
It’s also a great spot for surfers, thanks to the coastline’s consistently fun waves. Bundoran was named as one of the world’s top 20 surfing destinations by National Geographic. Sea Sessions, a music and surfing festival, is held every summer.
Activities: Surfing, strolling
8. Murlough Beach, County Down
Murlough Beach is a flat, sandy beach that spans two miles. This beach is completely natural and is notable for its extensive dune sand system.
It’s a haven for pet owners and bird feeders alike. Additionally, the area is densely forested and teeming with wildlife. On its stunning beaches, windsurfing and kitesurfing are popular activities.
Activities: Walking, windsurfing, kitesurfing
9. Murder Hole Beach, Co. Donegal
In the wild and untamed North Atlantic sea, the wind-carved hollows in the rocky coastline, giving rise to the term “Murder Hole.” Don’t be intimidated by the sinister name, this Donegal beach is still worth a visit. Surrounded by wind-swept rock formations and golden sand, Murder Hole Beach is famed for its stunning hidden beach.
You must traverse a field to get to the beach, but the vista is worth it. It’s ideal to go at low tide when the sand is visible.
Activities: Strolling, photography
10. Portsalon Beach, Co. Donegal
Inishowen Peninsula views from Portsalon in Donegal are unsurpassed, attracting visitors from all over the globe.
Look down at the golden strand from the roadside viewpoint as you make your way there.
It’s best to visit in the evening if you can, so you can watch the sunset from atop the dunes. At Portsalon Luxury Camping, you may sleep soundly in a yurt overlooking Lough Swilly.
Activities: Swimming, strolling
11. Portstewart Strand, Co. Derry
With its year-round pedestrian access and free parking for beach members and non-members alike, Portstewart Strand is a must-see site.
Portstewart Strand is a Blue Flag beach with tranquil waters at the dunes and a natural wonderland that is truly breathtaking. Another great thing about Portstewart is that it is one of the few beaches in Ireland where you can still drive your car onto the beach.
Activities: Strolling, picnic, photography
12. Strandhill Beach, Co. Sligo
Strandhill Beach has some of the greatest swells and cleanest breakers in the country, making it a top surfing spot.
Learn to surf in Sligo by signing up for beginning or intermediate sessions at Strandhill Surf School.
Shells Café is a great place to get a bite to eat after a day of surfing in Strandhill. Some must-try items on their menu are organic prosecco and freshly baked bread.
Activities: Surfing, Swimming
13. Whiterocks, Co. Antrim
The beach at Whiterocks does not fall short in terms of natural beauty in any way. Located in Portrush, on the Causeway Coastal Route, the beach is easily accessible from the main road. Beautiful limestone cliffs, secret caverns, and turquoise waves line the coastline, making it perfect for a stroll.
However, since the sand goes all the way around the coastline, there is plenty of areas to enjoy for the summer crowds of visitors.
Activities: Horse-riding, kayaking, surfing,walking
Hi, I’m Christine – a full-time traveler and career woman. Although I’m from the Philippines, my location independent career took me to over 40 countries for the past 8 years. I also lived in 3 continents – from the Caribbean, South East Asia to Africa. But despite living in several countries, my love for Ireland remains the same. A country that had been a part of my life since I was 14 because of my love for Irish music and bands. Ireland Travel Guides was born because of this passion and hopefully, in some little ways, this website will be able to help you on your next trip to Ireland.