Ireland’s coastline stretches over great pristine expanses, giving the country a reputation for some of the best beaches in the world. Sunbathing may not be an option for much of the year, but that should not stop you from enjoying some of the beaches listed below.
The Blue Flag beach at Inchydoney Island, just a few miles from Clonakilty, is one of West 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. For accommodation nearby, check out GoIreland’s list of hotels in Clonakilty.
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.
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.
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. If you wish to stay in the area, GoIreland.com offers some superb Lahinch hotels at discount rates.
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.
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.
Balbriggan is a a safe, sandy beach with full life-guard service during the summer months. Just two minutes from the town centre and train station, it offers coastal walks with panoramic views. A unique large colony of seals inhabit the coastline at Hampton and can regularly be seen around the harbour. If you wish to book accommodation, check out some quality Balbriggan hotels on offer from GoIreland.com.
One of the best in the South East, Duncannon Beach has held the EU Blue Flag of excellence since 1987. The beach is a golden mile of sand with lifeguard(s) on hand to help ensure a safe and happy visit.
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. Check out GoIreland’s list of hotels in Youghal if you are looking for accommodation in the area.
Bundoran Beach is a Blue Flag beach located approximately 250m north of Bundoran’s main street, adjacent to Waterworld and the funfair.
Bundoran is a sandy beach facing Donegal Bay and the Atlantic. The beach is bounded on the north and south by rocks and on the east by the promenade roadway.
Lifeguards patrol the beach from June to August. If you wish to reserve accommodation, check out GoIreland’s offering of hotels in Bundoran.