Donabate Blue Flag Beach
Donabate is fabulous blue flag beach located in North County Dublin, close to Dublin City. The good news is its within easy access of the M50 and M1 motorways so you can avoid the city centre!
The beach is nearly 4km long and is really sandy! There are loads of sand dunes to get lost in when you come here too!
There are a number of pedestrian access points to the beach with only some cars being permitted on a section of the beach. Public toilets and a Lifeguard Station incorporating a First Aid Station are provided at the beach. Lifeguards are on duty during the bathing season.
Killiney blue flag beach is a stony beach about 800m in length. The beach is sheltered and suitable for bathing and swimming. Take care though as there is a gentle gradient on the beach that allows the water to gradually get deep from the shore. The beach can be accessed from the car park via an A Grade walkway. Ramps and handrails also exist at other areas.
Natural Amenities: Safe, sandy beaches with full life-guard service during the summer months and only two minutes from the town centre and train station. Coastal walks with panoramic views. A unique large colony of seals inhabit the coastline at Hampton and can regularly be seen around the harbour.
You cannot beat a swim in the sea to clear the head. Forget the chlorinated chaos of a public swimming pool—nothing comes close to the rush of energy that accompanies a dip in the sea. Admittedly, the Irish weather is no friend to ocean bathers, but even if you prefer to experience the reinvigorating properties of the sea from the cosier vantage point of dry land, there is an abundance of magnificent Irish beaches to choose from. The Blue Flag, an international eco-label for beaches and marinas, was awarded to no fewer than 89 beaches in the island of Ireland in 2011, and 11 of these are in Cork:
1. Barleycove, Crookhaven
Located between Goleen and Crookhaven, Barleycove Blue Flag beach is an expanse of white sand stretched between two headlands on the MizenPeninsulain West Corkand banked by an extensive dune system. Relatively calm waters make for pleasant swimming conditions, and an interesting floating bridge reduces the impact of visitors on the surrounding dunes, which are home to a variety of rare and protected plants. The dunes and adjacent marsh are a haven for ornithologists due to the rare birds they attract.
2 .Youghal Strand, Clay Castle, and Red Barn
In 2011, Youghal scored a hat trick of Blue Flag awards, with Youghal Strand, Claycastle, and Red Barn all securing the Blue Flag designation.
With its pristine, safe waters, Youghal Strand is perfect for swimmers, and the wide expanse of beach has limitless potential for ball games, sunbathing, jogging, and walking. It lies just three-quarters of a mile from Youghal town centre.
The main difference between Youghal Strand and Clay Castle is the sloping beach, which is mostly tidal, but a large area of soft sand, shells and pebbles lies above the high water mark.
Red Barn is the third of Youghal’s sandy, safe beaches. Cars are allowed to drive onto this part of the strand, which also allows access for ponies and traps.
The Blue Flag beach at Garryvoe is one ofIreland’s finest. Stretching for miles, it is ideal for kite- and wind-surfing and is a favourite among anglers. It is located in thevillageofGarryvoe, on the R632 from Castlemartyr.
4. Inchydoney, Clonakilty
The Blue Flag beach atInchydoneyIsland, just a few miles from Clonakilty, is one ofWest Cork’s most stunning and family-friendly beaches. Its wide expanses of white sand, extensive dunes, and excellent surfing conditions make it a truly multipurpose seaside destination. Access is via steps and a ramp.
5. Garrylucas, Garretstown, Ballinspittle
Moving statues are not Ballinspittle’s only attractions: Its Blue Flag beaches at Garretstown and Garrylucas are also legendary. A favourite among surfers, Garretstown lies near the Old Head of Kinsale, a short drive from both Kinsale town and Ballinspittle village.
Garrylucas beach is also just a short drive from Kinsale. It is ideal for wind- and kite- surfing, and its dunes make it a hit with children of all ages.
6. The Warren, Owenahincha, Rosscarbery
The smallvillageofRosscarberyinWest Corkboasts not one but two superb Blue Flag beaches.
TheWarrenis a beautifully sheltered family beach with safe bathing and abundant rock pools. Find it by turning off the N71 at Warren Cross.
Owenahincha is a wide sandy beach beloved by holidaymakers and surfers alike. It is linked to the Warren by a short and incredibly scenic cliff walk. You can find it by taking the N71 from Clonakilty and turning off at Burgatia Cross onto the R598.
7. Tragumna, Crookhaven
Tragumna is a short but sheltered and sandy Blue Flag beach located 6KM from Skibbereen. Just turn off the R596 atAbisdealyBridgeand follow the sign for Tragumna for the perfect beach experience in miniature.
8. Barleycove Beach
Barleycove blue flag beach is a sandy beach situated between two headlands on the Mizen Peninsula in West Cork. On arriving here you will immediately be impressed by the extensive dune system. Why not wander through these if the tides in! The waters are relatively calm so feel free to enjoy a swim here too.
There is an interesting floating bridge in place to manage visitor access and reduce impact on natural surroundings.
With its peninsulas swept by the Atlantic on the most westerly tip of Europe, Kerry lays claim to the some of the world’s most magnificent beaches. No stranger to All-Ireland champion status, Kerry received Blue Flags for 13 of the county’s beaches in 2011, the highest number of any county in Ireland. The designated beaches are located at Baile an Sceilg (Ballinskelligs), Ballybunion North, Ballybunion South, Ballyheigue, Banna, Doire Fhionáin (Derrynane), Fenit, Inch, Kells, Maherabeg, Rossbeigh, Ceann Trá (Ventry), and White Strand Cahirciveen.
1. Ballinskelligs, Cahirciveen
A wide sandy beach in a rural setting, Ballinskelligs beach is situated in an Irish-speaking area just 2KM south of the village of Dungeagan on the western side of Ballinskelligs Harbour. An area of pristine beauty, the area is a designated Natural Heritage site.
It is also just a short drive from Valentia Island, where boat trips to the isolated monastic splendour of the Skellig Islands are available.
2. Ballybunion North and South
Ballybunion is a traditional seaside resort, encompassing two Blue Flag beaches: Ballybunion North and Ballybunion South. The beaches are separated by a ruin-topped cliff and accessed by large, steep concrete pavements.
The beaches to the left and right of the castle ruins are dubbed the “Men’s Beach”, and the “Ladies Beach”, respectively, indicating the long-abandoned practice of sex-segregated swimming. Nowadays, the women’s beach has a small cafe, hot seaweed baths and an ice cream shop.
Ballyheigue Blue Flag beach is the first link in a crescent-shaped chain of beaches that extends as far as Brandon Point. Exceptionally safe for bathers, Ballyheigue beach is served by a sea rescue unit established by local individuals. Located just a short distance from Tralee, the beach is popular among water-sports enthusiasts.
4. Banna Beach, Tralee
Located just 7km from Tralee town, Banna is a stunning beach that stretches from Ballyheigue to Barrow and looks out over the mountains of the Dingle Peninsula. Vast expanses of white sand are backed by imposing sand dunes, rising to some 40 feet.
The dunes at Banna have been designated an area of conservation and are home to many rare plants and animals. Historically, Banna Beach is associated with Roger Casement, who was captured there while trying to land arms for the 1916 Easter Rising from the German ship the Aud.
5. Derrynane Blue Flag Beach, Caherdaniel
On a sunny day, Derrynane beach is reminiscent of a Greek island. With pristine white sand, sparklingly clear water, and a jumble of rocks and coves along its edge, it is a South Kerry paradise. The beach is renowned for its waves, making it ideal for surfers.
At low tide you can walk across to nearby Abbey Island, where Mary O’Connell, wife of Daniel the Liberator, is buried. The beach is also accessible from the adjacent Derrynane House, Daniel O’Connell’s home.
6. Fenit, Tralee
Fenit’s sandy Blue Flag sandy beach adjoins the harbour in this little fishing village 10KM from Tralee. Designated natural heritage area, the beach is significant for its plant and animal life and also makes an ideal spot for watching big ships travelling in and out of the harbour.
One of the locations for David Lean’s 1970 blockbuster Ryan’s Daughter, Inch beach is suitably dramatic. Extending along three miles of pristine white sand, just off the main Killarney to Dingle road, Inch beach has been a favourite among holidaymakers for years and is one of Kerry’s most popular surfing spots.
8. Kells, Cahirciveen
Kells Blue Flag beach is a perfect little beach nestled between Glenbeigh and Cahirsiveen. Adjacent to a small harbour, it is relatively secluded. It forms part of a Special Area of Conservation, encapsulating the unspoilt beauty of South Kerry.
9. Maherabeg, Castlegregory
Located three miles from Castlegregory on the Maharees Peninsula, Maherabeg is a vast coastline of white sand and crashing waves. Situated in a Special Area of Conservation, it is ideal for both nature lovers and watersports enthusiasts alike
10. Rossbeigh, Glenbeigh
Just off the Ring of Kerry, a few minutes drive from the village of Glenbeigh, Rossbeigh’s Blue Flag beach stretches out in all its glorious splendour.
Banked by a natural wall of flat sandstone rocks, the long sandy beach is ideal for bucket-and-spade holidays and even offers an excellent playground. The beach loops around a wall of sand dunes, making for an invigorating circular walk or jog.
11. Ventry, Dingle Peninsula
Ventry beach is a popular Blue Flag beach located just outside Ventry village on the Dingle Peninsula. With its sandy strand, small dunes, and adjacent grasslands, it is the ideal spot both for relaxation and exploration. Escape from the bustle of Dingle town and enjoy one of the safest and most attractive beaches on Ireland’s west coast.
12. White Strand, Cahirciveen
As its name suggests, White Strand is a fine sandy Blue Flag beach. Situated three miles west of Cahersiveen town in a designated Natural Heritage Area, the beach is beloved by locals and offers panoramic views of Valentia Island and Beginis Island. Marvel at the scenery or clear out the cobwebs with a bracing swim or walk—the choice is yours at this superb beach.
Beaches in Clare
From the traditional seaside resort of Kilkee to the surfer’s paradise of Lahinch, Clare has a beach to suit everyone. In 2011, eight of its beaches were awarded the Blue Flag, an international eco-label for beaches and marinas.
1. Cappa Beach, Kilrush
Timeless Cappa Pier has changed little since it was built in 1764. The pier is seldom used by ships today, but locals and visitors alike derive great enjoyment from leaping off it into the sea at the Shannon estuary’s only Blue Flag beach. Situated a kilometre outside Kilrush, Cappa Beach is a small rocky beach ideal for birdwatchers and close to Scattery Island.
The beach has Lifeguard cover from July to August.
Kilkee is the quintessential seaside resort, with holidaymakers flocking here since the early 19th century. Despite its modern amenities, it still retains its Victorian charm and the magnificent crescent Blue Flag beach remains as alluring as ever, sheltered as it is from the Atlantic Ocean weather by the Duggerna Reef.
3. White Strand, Miltown Malbay
White Strand, Miltown Malbay, is a compact, sandy beach set against a rocky shoreline. Situated a mile outside the town on the Lahinch road, it’s the ideal place to recharge your batteries with an invigorating cliff walk against the thundering roar of the waves.
Lifeguards patrol the beach throughout the bathing season.
Located 3KM west of Ennistymon, Lahinch confirmed its status as one of Ireland’s premier surfing beaches in May 2006, when 44 surfers established a world record by riding the same wave together.
If you’re not into surfing, you can swim without a care in its lifeguard-patrolled waters, walk the promenade, or leave the beach altogether for a round at its championship links and 18-hole golf course
The small seaside village of Fanore in Ballyvaughan, north-west Clare, gives its name to a superb beach backed by impressive dunes that is highly popular among swimmers.
If the thought of a bracing dip in the Atlantic does not appeal, you can always recharge the batteries and admire the limestone cliffs on a walk along the sandy shore.
6. White Strand, near Doonbeg
The aptly named White Strand, near Doonbeg, is a pleasant little beach, sheltered by rocks at both ends and connected to several locations by sets of steps.
In a stunning lapse of imagination, the beach facing White Strand across the sea at Doughmore Bay is also called—wait for it—White Strand.
7. Ballycuggeran (freshwater bathing area on Lough Derg near Killaloe)
Beaches do not have to be by the sea. Enjoy the freshwater variety with a visit to the Blue Flag Ballycuggeran bathing area on Lough Derg, near Killaloe.
Lough Derg is one of Ireland’s most significant freshwater lakes and is of major ecological importance. Lifeguards patrol Ballycuggeran bathing area during the summer, with lifeguard times posted on the information noticeboard on the beach.
Mountshannon (freshwater bathing area on Lough Derg).
Lough Derg’s other Blue Flag bathing area, at Mountshannon, is a highly attractive grass-bordered beach. The shallow swimming area is partially enclosed by the harbour wall and jetties and is patrolled by a lifeguard during the late summer months.
Galway’s dramatic Atlantic coastline gives it a definite advantage when it comes to great beaches. In 2011, six of those beaches were awarded the Blue Flag, an international eco-label for beaches and marinas.
1. Cill Mhuirbhigh, Inismore, Aran Island
Cill Mhuirbhigh or Kilmurvey, is a sandy Blue Flag beach situated on one of the Aran Islands, Inishmore Island. Looking out over Connemara’s Twelve Pins mountain range across clear turquoise water, Tra Cill Mhuirbhigh is a haven for various water activities.
It offers superb swimming conditions and play areas, as well as attracting rare plants and birds. .
2. The Long Point, Loughrea Lake
The superb water quality and well-maintained shore of Loughrea Lake make it one of the few inland lakes to earn a European Blue Flag. The Long Point swimming area is well equipped with changing rooms and showers and abundant parking and picnic areas. Walkers need not worry about the weather, as the promenade provides a delightful all-season walkway through some 15 acres of natural wetlands and meadows. The sheer scale of the lake makes it an excellent location for sailboarding and canoeing. Boats can be hired by the day, giving you the perfect opportunity to explore the lake’s prehistoric manmade crannogs.
3. Traught Kinvara
Located on the south shore of Galway Bay, in the northeast corner of the Doorus Peninsula, Traught is a gem of a beach roughly 4KM east of Kinvara. With its excellent surf, sandy shore, and sheltering dunes, the Blue Flag beach belongs to the Special Area of Conservation known as the Galway Bay Complex.
It also attracts a huge selection of waterfowl. Watch out for the flocks of Brent geese that migrate here each winter.
4. Tra Mhor,Coill Rua, Inverin
An Tra Mhor is a sandy blue flag beach located off the R336 just outside Inverin in Galway’s Gaeltact area of Connemara.
Trá Mhór Choill Rua is lifeguarded weekends only in June and then daily 11-7 July and August
5. Tra an Doilin, Ceathru Rua
Located 30 miles west of Galway City in the magical splendour of Carraroe, Tra an Doilin is a beautiful beach that is noted for its very fine coral. The small Blue Flag beach is poised on a peninsula reaching out into the Atlantic Ocean, and is patrolled by a lifeguard during the summer months. It is situated in a deeply traditional Gaeltacht area where Irish remains the first language.
6. Céibh an Spidéil, An Spidéal
The Blue Flag beach at Ceibh on Spideil in Spiddal encapsulates the best of Galway beaches—crystalline water and a beach packed with firm, pristine sand. The beach lies behind the pier at Spiddal and is accessible via a narrow road west of the village.
Spiddal, located roughly 16Km from Galway city on the coast road, is part of the Gaeltacht area of Connemara and has two fine beaches.
If you are looking for a great beach in Mayo, you won’t have far to go. Thirteen of County Mayo’s beaches were awarded Blue Flags in 2011, and the 14th— Carrowniskey Beach—is ideal for surfing. Achill Island is Mayo’s beach capital, with five excellent examples.
1. Golden Strand, Dugort, Achill Island
Golden Strand is the larger of Dugort’s two Blue Flag beaches. Its alternative name, Barnyagappul Strand, derives from the Gaelic Trá Bhearna na gCapall, which means the strand of the gap of the horses and refers to an era when horses were used to transport seaweed from the shore to fertilise local fields.
This secluded dune-backed beach combines a mixture of small pebbles and sand and is home to an abundance of native wildlife.
2. Dugort Beach, Achill Island
Dugort is a historic village where Achill Island’s first hotel, the Achill Mission Hotel, (later the Slievemore Hotel) was established in 1840. Dugort Beach is the smaller of the village’s two beaches and is also known as Pollawaddy Strand. Hardy swimmers take their first dip of the year hear on New Year’s Day.
Located in a wildlife conservation area, it can be rocky at certain tides and is surrounded by lush grassland.
3. Keel Beach, Achill Island
Otherwise known as Trawmore Strand, Keel Beach is a fine sandy beach that stretches over 4KM. Surrounded by hills and rich plant life, it links the village of Keel with Dookinelly and offers great views of the famous Minuan Cliffs at the eastern end of the strand.
This beach is a favourite among water-sports enthusiasts, especially surfers. Strong undersea currents mean that it is only safe to swim at the western (Keel) end of Trawmore Strand, but warning notices clearly indicate the safe bathing areas.
A storm beach behind the sandy beach has been designated a ‘machair’, an area of special scientific interest used on the west coast of Ireland from Galway to Donegal (the only other examples of machair in Europe are in Scotland).
4. Dooega Head, Achill Island
Situated near a fishing village on the south side of Achill Island, Dooega Head is also known as Camport Bay and is a superb beach for swimming.
Camport Bay’s shallow, sheltered beach makes it perfect both for water sports and bathing. Its relatively secluded location means it tends to be less busy than other Blue Flag beaches on Achill, and there are interesting forts and prehistoric sites nearby.
5. Keem Beach, Achill Island
Located west of Keel Village, this quiet seafront area lies in the perfect crescent of Keel bay. Moyteoge Head shelters the beach at the western end, and the cliffs of Benmore at the northwestern end abut the dramatic promontory of Achill Head.
Keem is accessible for cars via a cliff-top road close to a seam of amethyst quartz. Amethyst is a magnificent semiprecious stone prized in folklore as a love charm, a protection against thieves and drunkenness, and as an aide to sleep.
6. Bertra Beach, Louisburgh
Located 12KM west of the town of Westport, Bertra is a windswept beach backed by sand dunes. It is a haven for bird watchers and lies off Clew Bay, an area of scientific interest due to its status as one of the few drowned drumlin landscapes in the world.
7. Mullaghroe Beach
Located 10KM from Belmullet, Mullaghroe Beach is home to many species of birds, sea grasses, and other plant species, due to its pristine dunes and adjacent salt marshes and inlets.
It belongs to the Mullet/Blacksod Bay complex, which features a composite of diverse habitat types, including extensive stretches of dune systems and machair of considerable botanical importance.
8. Old Head Beach, Louisburgh
Old Head Beach lies 16KM west of Westport, with stunning views of Croagh Patrick. Sandy cliffs and adjacent woodlands provide shelter from Atlantic winds.
Lifeguards patrol the beach at times specified on the information board. Access ramps and disabled toilets are also available.
9. Mulranny Beach
Mulranny Beach is a popular beach situated near Westport, southwest of the village of the same name. This is wonderfully sandy beach that is a favourite among surfers and ideal for summer picnics. Its salt marshes are home to a variety of interesting bird life.
10. Carramore Beach, Louisburgh
Carrowmore is a scientifically significant, so-called machair beach set among an outcrop of rocks off Clew Bay. Backed by sand dunes, it offers a wide expanse of sandy shoreline.
The beach lies 25KM west of Westport and IKM from the picturesque town of Louisburgh.
11. Elly Bay Beach, Belmullet
Elly Bay Beach, on the Mullet Peninsula, is a popular beach about 9KM south of Belmullet town.
A sandy beach sheltered by dramatic cliffs, it is a perfect destination for a summer’s day out and is of particular interest to bird watchers.
12. Ross Strand, Killala
Ross Strand lies about 5KM north of Killala, on Killala Bay. Killala Bay is an extensive estuary whose mudflats provide rich feeding for wading birds, so Ross Strand is a great spot for bird watchers.
The adjacent lush woodlands mean it also supports a diverse range of native plant and animal life. Lifeguards patrol the beach in July and August.
13. Clare Island
Clare Island has a wonderful sandy beach that is accessible to visitors via ferry from Roonagh Pier, about 10KM from Louisburgh. The beach lies just beyond the pier and, given that the population of the island is only about 250, it is usually blissfully peaceful.
Lifeguards do not patrol the beach, but lifebuoys are provided on the beach. Bicycles can be rented nearby, with hotel and pub facilities within walking distance.
The Irish version of Sligo translates to “place of shells,” an indication of the county’s seaside attractions. Dramatic panoramas of rugged cliffs and promontories, together with miles of beautiful beaches make Sligo a coastal paradise.
Awarded a Blue Flag in 2011, Enniscrone is a lively seaside resort with a stunning beach that is almost 5KM long. Visitors can also enjoy the world-famous seaweed baths, a playground and amusement park for children, and abundant angling opportunities. Situated near the county border with Mayo, just 10KM from Ballina and 56KM from Sligo, Enniscrone is the ideal base for exploring Sligo and Mayo
Mullaghmore Beach is a sandy beach just 25km from Sligo town via the N15.
Set against a backdrop of low sand dunes, this is a perfect beach for families as it is very safe and has life guards on duty daily during the bathing season.
Strandhill is a byword among surfers for quality waves. Situated at a quiet holiday resort and seaside village about 11KM from Sligo town, Strandhill is battered by wild Atlantic waves that are perfect for surfing but not suitable for swimming. Swimming is actually prohibited at Strandhill beach due to the powerful currents.