Skip to Content

12 Best Coastal Towns In Ireland

Are you looking for the best coastal towns in Ireland

There is no doubt that Ireland’s seaside towns are some of the most beautiful spots in the country. While Belfast, Dublin, and Galway are frequently referred to as the island of Ireland’s must-visit cities, the Emerald Isle has so much more to offer.

You can explore the country’s coastline if you’re trying to get away from the usual tourist attractions. There’s a lot to see and do, from breathtaking cliffs to little towns and medieval castles.

To help you plan your trip to this beautiful country, we’ve put together a list of the best coastline towns in Ireland to visit.

12 Best Coastal Towns In Ireland

12 Best Coastal Town in Ireland

Ireland Travel Guides contains affiliate links all throughout the site. If you choose to purchase a product or book services through our affiliate links, this earns us a commission at no extra cost to you. For our complete disclosure, click here

1. Bangor, Co. Down

Bangor, Co. Down

Bangor is a lovely beach town on Belfast Lough, which is a popular destination for tourists. A 5 Gold Anchor Award-winning marina can be found in the area, making it a popular destination for yachting enthusiasts.

Pickie Family Fun Park, just down the road, is a kid-friendly coastal haven complete with giant swan pedal boats, wading pools, playgrounds, and a miniature railroad.

For history enthusiasts, the elegant stable building of Bangor Castle is home to the North Down Museum, which features even more things to see and do. The region’s fascinating history, life during the Viking era, and the secret animals of Castle Park are just some of the things you’ll learn when you explore this area.

2. Ballybunion, Co. Kerry

Ballybunion, Co. Kerry

Ballybunion is a lovely seaside town in Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way in Co. Kerry. If you’re visiting Kerry and want to explore at least one town for the weekend, Ballybunion is a treasure that should not go unnoticed.

This beautiful coastal town in Ireland is well known for its gorgeous beaches—including Men’s Beach and Ladies Beach, which have been named after their historical roles as places where men and women would bathe, separately, in the past. There are no restrictions on who may use these beaches anymore, and they draw in thousands of tourists each year from all over the world.

Along with its beautiful beaches, Ballybunion is known for its scenic cliff treks. Loop Head’s cliffs overlooking the Virgin Rock provide breathtaking views of the surrounding area.

3. Carlingford, Co. Louth

Carlingford, Co. Louth

Carlingford is an Irish town in the northeastern Cooley Peninsula region, nestled between Carlingford Lough and Slieve Foye Mountain. This Irish seaside town is recognized for its oyster farms, medieval architecture, and outdoor activities, among other things. A must-see is King John’s Castle, built in the 12th century, which overlooks the harbor.

Carlingford is also home to a 16th-century tower house known as Taaffe’s Castle. Meanwhile, local history exhibits can be seen in the Carlingford Heritage Centre, housed in a medieval church.

Visit Carlingford if you’ve ever wondered where C.S. Lewis got the idea for Narnia. While growing up in this picturesque village, the great novelist found inspiration for several of his works.

The town is nestled in a grassy hillside overlooking Carlingford Lough, which perfectly combines medieval architecture with spectacular coastal views.

4. Clifden, Co. Galway

Clifden, Co. Galway

Galway is only a short drive away from Clifden, a beach town on Ireland’s west coast. Located between the Twelve Bens Mountains in Connemara and the Atlantic Ocean, Clifden affords breathtaking views of both land and sea from its elevated position.

The town is well-known for its laid-back atmosphere and as a perfect retreat from the larger cities of Ireland.

Staying in one of Clifden’s many houses is the best way to take advantage of the town’s breathtaking views. Consider spending the night or the weekend at the Dolphin Beach House, Mallmore Country House, or Sea Mist House for a wonderful experience in the Irish countryside.

Aside from the breathtaking vistas, there isn’t much else to do in Clifden, which makes it an ideal place to just relax.

5. Cobh, Co. Cork

Cobh, Co. Cork

Now known as Titanic town, Cobh was once called Queenstown from 1849 until Ireland gained independence in 1920. In Cobh, the RMS Titanic made her final port of call before embarking on its ill-fated journey across the Atlantic Ocean. Cobh was also where the nearly century-long period during which millions of Irish fled to North America started.

Even though Cobh is a small town, it’s well worth a visit if you’re planning to go to an Irish coastal town.

From its colorful history to the picturesque houses, you’ll find an abundance of activities to keep you busy while in Cobh.

You may also consider a cruise and for a pretty perspective of this lovely town from the water. Cobh’s waterfront is indisputably beautiful, with rows of painted cottages neatly adorning the town’s hills to the port.

To book this tour click here. 

 

6. Dingle, Co. Kerry

Dingle, Co. Kerry

The Dingle Peninsula in southwest Ireland is home to the small port town of Dingle, which is well-known for its rocky landscape, hiking routes, and white sand beaches. This town is home to Fungie the dolphin’s statue along the waterfront, as well as the penguins, otters, and sharks at Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium.

Around town, you’ll also find an ancient dry-stone church with sloping sides to the northwest, and in the southwest, the clifftop Dunbeg promontory fort.

After the Norman invasion of Ireland in the 12th century, Dingle harbor was built against stunning hills, one of which being the adjacent Connor Pass, a hike up to Peddler’s Lake from the waterfall here is well worth the spectacular view.

After a long day of sightseeing, a relaxing night in one of Dingle’s many pubs is the perfect reward.

To book this tour click here.

 

7. Dunfanaghy, Co. Donegal

Dunfanaghy, Co. Donegal

County Donegal is home to the historic fishing harbor of Dunfanaghy, which National Geographic Traveler dubbed the coolest spot in 2017. Dunfanaghy is the ideal beach getaway, remote from the city lights and commotion, yet with just enough pubs and activities to keep things exciting.

In addition, the nearby Glenveagh National Park, the country’s second-largest national park and the site of the fabled Glenveagh Castle is an intriguing attraction.

The Dunfanaghy area is home to some of Ireland’s most stunning scenery – from beaches to cliffs, promontories to forest parks. If you want to see the best of Ireland’s northwest, you can start your journey in Dunfanaghy.

8. Greystones, Co. Wicklow

Greystones, Co. Wicklow

This is one of the best coastal towns in Ireland to visit as an easy day or weekend trip from Dublin. Greystones, Ireland’s southernmost town, was once a fishing community and Victorian beach resort. During the summer months, many Irish families travel from Dublin to Greystone for day outings and week-long vacations.

There is a pebble beach to the north of Greystones in addition to the sandy Blue Flag beach to the south, which is where the town’s name comes from.

Kilruddery House and Gardens and Mount Usher Gardens are both within a short distance of Greystones and are both worth a visit.

9. Howth, Co. Dublin

Howth, a seaside resort town on Dublin’s north coast, is nestled beneath a mountainous promontory that marks the northernmost point of the bay.

As trawlers enter and exit the harbor, cod and rays can be found in abundance in this small fishing community. Fresh off the Howth Head walk, hungry hikers can enjoy the fresh catch of the day at the coastal restaurants!

In this fishing community, there is something for hikers of every fitness level. Make sure to visit the Bog of Frogs Loop to get a bird’s eye perspective of cliffs, islands, and lighthouse. There are four possible routes, so keep an eye out for directions posted on the road.

Take a walk along the pier for a more peaceful experience. A 15-minute boat journey away will take you to see Ireland’s Eye. A charming Dublin coastal village, this long sandy beach offers stunning views of Dublin Bay.

To book this tour click here.

 

10. Lahinch, Co. Clare

Lahinch, Co. Clare

Since there are many things to do and see in the area, the town of Lahinch is regarded as one of the best coastal towns in Ireland. Lahinch is best known for its beaches, its proximity to the Cliffs of Moher, a plethora of dining options, and surfing.

You may take a surfing lesson from the pros at Lahinch beach. It is one of Ireland’s most well-known surfing hotspots. Additionally, the fortifications and ancient remains that surround the city bear witness to its long and colorful past.

Visit the nearby Doolin Cave, which features the Northern Hemisphere’s longest free-hanging structure, completed in 1952. One of Ireland’s natural wonders, the route took over 70,000 years to develop. The cave trip closes with a stunning vista of farm animals and wildlife.

11. Portrush, Co. Antrim

Portrush, Co. Antrim

Located in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, Portrush is a tiny beach town adjacent to Portstewart, a popular vacation spot. A great part of its old town is built on a 14-mile-long peninsula called Ramore Head, including the train station, and most of the city’s hotels, restaurants, and pubs.

Families go to Portrush year after year because it is such a special place. Over the past nine decades, Barry’s Amusement Park has become a fixture in this community.

Some of the world’s best golf courses can also be found here, and a favorite venue for international golf tournaments. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you’ll recognize Dunluce Castle as Castle Greyjoy, which is located in Portrush.

12. Westport, Co. Mayo

Located on the coast of Clew Bay in County Mayo, Ireland, this quaint tiny hamlet is a must-see if you’re ever in the area. Many honors have been bestowed on Westport, which is one of the most scenic coastal towns in Ireland. The town’s colorful Georgian core is one of its most recognizable features.

There’s a lot to see and do in Westport, which includes the beautiful Achill Island and the historic Westport House. When in Achill, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Ireland’s most iconic landmark, Croagh Patrick Mountain.

The Great Western Greenway, one of Ireland’s most popular walking and cycling paths, is also located in Westport. This makes Westport an excellent location to see some of Ireland’s most beautiful landscapes on foot or a bike.

Travel Tips And Resources

Travel Insurance: I never leave home without travel insurance. My personal opinion is if you can afford to travel, you can afford to buy a travel insurance. All things can happen while on the road and you can never be too sure. And it's something that you'll be glad to have when you need it. For my preferred travel insurance, I use Safety Wing.

What To Wear: If you want some ideas on what to pack for Ireland, check out this packing list guide for Ireland.

Where To Stay: I personally use Booking.com for all my accommodations. Check out for their latest deals here.

Reading Resources: Check out our best reading resources here.