Where Are The Best Beaches in Ireland? (24 Beautiful Ireland Beaches)
There are so many beaches in Ireland that it would be impossible to include them all in a single guide.
So, in this guide, we’ll take you to the beaches we think are the best in Ireland, from tourist favorites to hidden gems.
Water safety warning: It is critical to understand water safety when visiting beaches in Ireland.
1. Dog’s Bay (Galway)
Dogs Bay is arguably one of Ireland’s most beautiful beaches. It’s found in Connemara, where the white sand and crystal-clear azure water make it look like something out of Thailand.
The impressive horseshoe-shaped bay is tucked inside a sheltered part of a peninsula and has a 2km stretch of white sand.
It also has a view of another beautiful beach, Gurteen Bay. There is a small parking lot in front, but it fills up quickly on sunny days.
2. Keem Bay (Mayo)
Keem Bay on Achill Island gives you a sense of what to expect from the moment you see it as you drive along the scenic Atlantic Drive.
Keem Bay is a secluded paradise among Achill Island’s Blue Flag beaches. It’s located near Dooagh at the western end of the island.
This beach is one of the most photographed in Ireland, thanks to its turquoise water, grassy cliffs that surround it, and the small building that sits just off the sand.
There’s a frequently-wedged parking lot right in front of it, as well as some public restrooms a little further back. In the clear waters around Keem, you’ll also see basking sharks and dolphins.
3. Silver Strand (Donegal)
Some of Ireland’s best beaches are known as ‘Silver Strands’ (Mayo, Wicklow, Galway, and so on), but we’re heading to Donegal for this one.
This is a quiet little cove with cliffs surrounding it, fine golden sand, and tropical-looking water.
While this is one of Ireland’s most beautiful beaches, it is not accessible to those with limited mobility due to the 174 steps that lead up and down to it.
It gets busy during the summer months, but it’s relatively deserted during the off-season, like many of Ireland’s off-the-beaten-path beaches.
4. Coumeenoole Strand (Kerry)
Coumeenoole Beach is a popular stretch of coastline on the Dingle Peninsula’s western end. The golden sand strip lies beneath towering jagged cliffs and green fields, with stunning views of the Blasket Islands across the Atlantic.
The beach varies in size depending on the tide level, but there is a road that winds down to the western edge that is always accessible.
Parking is available at the top of the cliffs above, and there are a few cafes in Coumeenoole Village. Please keep in mind that, while this is one of Ireland’s most beautiful beaches, the currents are unpredictable, so stay out of the water.
5. Curracloe Beach (Wexford)
Curracloe Beach in County Wexford is one of Ireland’s most recognizable beaches. Yes, scenes from Saving Private Ryan were filmed here (the scene on Omaha Beach).
Curracloe has three entrances: Ballinesker Beach, Colloton’s Gap, and the main Curracloe Car Park.
This beach has soft sand, great surfing (check out the Surf Shack), and plenty of walks (you can ramble along the beach or nip into Curracloe Forest right next to it).
For good reason, many consider this to be one of Ireland’s best beaches.
6. Barleycove Beach (Cork)
Barleycove Beach, located on the remote Mizen Peninsula in West Cork, is another beautiful spot at any time of year.
Barleycove Beach, nestled between rising green hills, is a gently curving golden beach backed by a vast landscape of sand dunes.
Barleycove’s sand dunes were formed as a result of an earthquake in Lisbon in 1755, making it one of the more unusual Irish beaches.
7. Beach of Portsalon (Donegal)
Portsalon Beach on the western side of Lough Swilly is regarded as one of Ireland’s most beautiful beaches (and yes, this was the beach Taylor Swift was apparently sauntering along last year).
It’s tucked away on the Fanad Peninsula, where it has a Blue Flag, beautiful scenery, and a lovely scenic drive down to it.
Portsalon is about 1.5km long and, while it is one of many Irish beaches that get crowded in the summer, it is relatively quiet the rest of the year.
8. Trá Bán (Kerry)
Tra Ban beach is located on Great Blasket Island in Kerry, the largest island off Europe’s westernmost point. As you can see above, the beach here is spectacular.
It’s made even more special by the fact that it’s off the beaten path (you’ll need to take a ferry from Dun Chaoin Pier to get there). You can relax on the sand or go paddling in the clear, calm waters.
Combine its stunning appearance with the fact that it is located on a remote island with breathtaking views of the Dingle Peninsula, and you can see why this is considered one of Ireland’s best beaches.
9. Burrow Beach (Dublin)
Few beaches in Dublin make you feel as if you’re not in Dublin as Burrow Beach in Sutton does (maybe with the exception of the various beach in Howth).
Burrow Beach stretches for about 1.2km and features views of Ireland’s Eye as well as fine, golden sand. On nice days, it’s a very busy beach, and it’s been in the news a lot recently because idiots left it littered after the July heatwave.
There is no dedicated parking nearby, so your best bet is to park at the DART station or take the DART and then walk.
10. Silver Strand (Mayo)
Some of Ireland’s best beaches can be found along the coast around Louisburgh in Mayo (Old Head, Cross Beach, Carrowmore Beach and Carrowniskey).
The stunning Silver Strand, however, is our favorite of the bunch – a little slice of secluded paradise. Keep an eye out for Inishturk and Clare Island as you stroll along the sand.
Please keep in mind that, while this is arguably one of Ireland’s most beautiful beaches, it is remote and there are no lifeguards, so use extreme caution if entering the water.
11. Enniscrone Beach (Sligo)
Enniscrone Beach is located in County Sligo, near the border of North Mayo. It’s one of the less-traveled Irish beaches in this guide, but it’s well worth the trip.
Park in town and then make your way to the entrance near the caravan park. You’ll pass by surf schools (there are some good waves here) and coffee trucks if you need a pick-me-up.
Walking to the right will bring you to the old baths and then to the pier. You can then return to town and grab a bite to eat.
12. St. Helens Bay (Wexford)
St. Helen’s Bay Beach is another hidden gem that is frequently described as one of Ireland’s best beaches.
It’s a short drive from Rosslare Strand and a lot less crowded on nice days (though it still gets crowded!).
From the moment you pull into the parking lot, you’ll get a good look at St. Helen’s. The sand is soft, and there are several trails to choose from (St. Helen’s Trail and Ballytrent Trail).
13. Fanore Beach (Clare)
Fanore Beach is a popular Blue Flag beach in the Burren, located between the bustling towns of Ballyvaughan and Doolin. It has a large parking lot, but it fills up quickly during the summer months on nice days.
During the summer, there are lifeguards on duty, and Aloha Surf School can take you out on the waves.
If you’re driving through the Burren in the off-season, this is a great place to pull over and stretch your legs. During the winter, this part of Clare is very quiet.
14. Banna Strand (Kerry)
Banna Strand is a short drive from Tralee and is one of Ireland’s most popular surfing beaches (keep an eye out for Kingdomwaves Surf School).
Banna is about 10 kilometers long and features towering sand dunes, some of which are 12 meters tall!
When you arrive, grab something tasty from Salty Souls Cafe in the parking lot and then go for a walk – you’ll be treated to stunning views of the Dingle Peninsula.
15. Glassilaun Beach (Galway)
Glassilaun Beach in Galway is remote and unspoiled, located at the mouth of the Killary Fjord about a 30-minute drive from Clifden.
Glassilaun is nestled right below Mweelrea (a challenging hike here if you’re in good shape) and has lovely soft white sand that’s ideal for barefoot walking.
Scubadive Weat offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to get up close and personal with sea life.
16. Silver Strand (Wicklow)
Silver Strand in Wicklow is easily one of Ireland’s best beaches, but getting there is a nightmare.
The real issue here is parking; there used to be paid parking in the nearby caravan park, but we recently learned that this parking is no longer available to non-residents.
There’s also no real trail down to the beach other than the one at the campsite, which is unfortunate. Nonetheless, despite this, it is a beautiful beach. It’s just a shame access is so limited.
17. Dollar Bay Beach (Wexford)
We’re off to the wild Hook Peninsula next to the stunning Dollar Bay Beach. Because it is off-the-beaten-path, it is relatively deserted in the off season, as are many of the Irish beaches mentioned above.
During the summer, however, it and the Hook Peninsula come alive with tourists looking to explore the beautiful Wexford coast.
Booley Bay is another lovely nearby beach that faces the same direction as Dollar Bay and offers similar stunning coastal views.
18. Portstewart Strand (Derry)
The Blue Flag Portstewart Strand is located along the Causeway Coastal Route in Derry. The beach here is about 3.2km long, and as you walk, you’ll get a good view of Mussenden Temple on the cliffs above.
The sand dunes here are over 6,000 years old, and the beach was even used in the filming of Game of Thrones.
Despite the fact that this is one of Ireland’s most beautiful beaches, you can still drive onto the sand, which is an odd novelty.
19. Belmullet’s beaches (Mayo)
The Mullet Peninsula is home to some of Ireland’s best beaches. Few areas of Ireland are as under-appreciated or under-explored by domestic and international visitors.
Elly Bay is one of the more popular beaches in the area. It’s relatively safe and popular with swimmers and surfers.
Belderra Strand, Cross Beach, and Blacksod Beach are some other lovely beaches to stroll along here.
20. Trá na mBó (Waterford)
Trá na mBó is tucked away along the Copper Coast in Waterford, not far from Bunmahon.
Park in town and head to the Bunmahon Beach Viewing Point (as designated by Google Maps). If you continue along the cliff path, you can see this beach from above, and there is also a steep path down to it.
Please pay close attention to the warning signs as you walk, as the cliff is eroding in some places.
21. Boyeeghter Strand (Donegal)
This spectacular ‘hidden’ beach at the northern end of Rosguill Peninsula is known as Murder Hole Beach.
At the beginning of the summer, a brand new parking area and trail opened up here, and you can now walk straight to it (it’s a steep climb!).
Because of the dangerous currents, you can’t swim here, but you can see it from the hills above and walk along the sand when the tide is out.
Photographers regard this as one of the best beaches in Ireland due to its striking appearance.
22. Derrynane Beach (Kerry)
Derrynane Beach, located near Caherdaniel on the Ring of Kerry route, is one of the more impressive beaches on the Wild Atlantic Way.
During the summer, there is a lifeguard service available, but keep in mind that there are dangerous currents in some areas, so extreme caution is advised.
Derrynane is a beautiful beach with turquoise water and breathtaking views. Derrynane House (Daniel O’Connell’s ancestral home) and the Skellig Ring are both nearby.
23. Five Finger Strand (Donegal)
The golden Five Finger Strand is located near the very northern tip of Ireland, on the rugged Inishowen Peninsula, right on the edge of towering sand dunes.
The secluded beach stretches across Trawbreaga Bay’s northern entrance, south of Malin Head. You can now walk along the sand here, but the real magic is at the viewing point.
If you enter Wild Alpaca Way into Google Maps, you’ll arrive at a parking lot with the view shown in the photo on the left. While Five Finger Strand is one of Ireland’s most beautiful beaches, swimming is not permitted due to dangerous undercurrents.
24. Whiterocks (Antrim)
Whiterocks Beach is located in the busy town of Portrush, just off the Causeway Coastal Route.
The spectacular coastline here is dominated by limestone cliffs with hidden caves and turquoise waters. The beach is popular for water sports such as surfing and kayaking, as well as activities such as horseback riding and walking.
Because the sand stretches all the way around the coastline, there’s plenty of space to share with the summer crowds.
What Irish beaches did we overlook?
As we mentioned in the introduction, this guide is jam-packed with our picks for the best beaches in Ireland, and I’m sure we missed some gems.
Do you have a favorite beach that we missed? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!
FAQs about Ireland’s best beaches
Over the years, we’ve received numerous inquiries about everything from the Glenveagh Castle Gardens to the tour.
We’ve included the most frequently asked questions in the section below. If we haven’t answered your question, please leave it in the comments section below.
What is Ireland’s best beach?
The best beaches in Ireland, in our opinion, are Dog’s Bay (Galway), Silver Strand (Donegal), and Keem Bay (Mayo).
Which Irish county has the best beaches?
This is a hotly debated topic on the internet. Waterford, in our opinion, but Kerry, Cork, Donegal, Mayo, and Wexford also have some great Irish beaches!
Is there sand on the beaches in Ireland?
Yes, there are numerous. Most counties have a mix of sandy and stoney beaches to choose from, with sandy beaches being more popular.
Is it possible to swim at beaches in Ireland?
Yes. However, there are many beaches where swimming is prohibited. Do your research to find the best beaches in Ireland for swimming and look for those that have been cleared of dangerous currents.
Topic: Where Are The Best Beaches in Ireland? (24 Beautiful Ireland Beaches)
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By: Travel Pixy