As the weather gets cold toward the end of the year, a beach destination sounds really appealing. Though Ireland may not be the first place to come to mind for an ocean getaway, its high-rated beaches offer tranquility and beauty at its finest. We’ve taken the top 10 Irish Beaches and broken them down for you. Most of them are deemed blue flag beaches, meaning they’ve met stringent standards set by the Foundation for Environmental Education and European Union. Dip your toes in their lovely sand or smooth waters, and you’ll see for yourself.
10. The Velvet Strand
Spanning 5 miles long, The Velvet Strand is located in Portmarnock, North Dublin. Walk along its sandy beach, and you’ll find striking views of the Dublin Mountains in the distance. This is the perfect beach for sandcastles, picnics, taking a dip or just catching some rays on the shore. If you desire exercise with a beautiful view, you can go for a run on the beach path that leads to Malahide. There’s a little something for everyone at this gem near Ireland’s capital.
Salthill Beach is made up of several small beaches divided by outcrops. Their shore terrain of the beaches ranges from sandy to filled with pebbles. Deemed as a blue flag beach, this popular location is in the Galway City area and overlooks Galway Bay.
8. Kilmurvey Beach
On the coast of the largest of the Aran Islands, Inish Mór, you’ll find the luscious, sandy beach of Kilmurvey. From its turquoise water to the majestic scenery of Connemara in the distance, it’s not hard to understand why this destination is so popular. The area is home to a diverse population of rare plant species and bird life. Kilronan Village is just a 20-minute bike ride away from Kilmurvey Beach; making it the perfect seaside destination before grabbing a traditional Irish dinner.
7. Banna Strand
Clouds merging with Dingle Peninsula peaks, Wild Atlantic Way waves crashing onto shore – this is just part of what makes Banna Strand so special. Walk along its sandy beach, and you’ll notice sand dunes as tall as 40 feet in height. History buffs will enjoy the memorial to Roger Casement who was captured on Banna Strand while landing arms from the German vessel the “Aud”. Its beautiful scenery and soothing environment make this blue flag beach high on everyone’s ‘must-see’ list.
6. Curracloe Beach
Famous for its soft, fine sand, Curracloe Beach is a sunbather and nature-lovers paradise. A number of large dunes surround its area, and they are held together by wild green marram grass. It was also a filming location for scenes in the movies ‘Saving Private Ryan’ and ‘Brooklyn’. This blue flag beach is seven miles long and is located 2km from Curracloe Village.
5. Rossbeigh Beach
Stretching seven kilometers, the blue-flag-deemed Rossbeigh Beach lies on the outskirts of Glenbeigh Village. Visitors from all over head there for swimming, windsurfing, horseback riding, fishing, sailing, and other water activities. Even if those don’t sound like fun, you can’t beat the incredible scenery across to Inch Beach and the Dingle Mountains.
4. Lahinch Beach
Thousands of surfers and other watersport lovers visit Lahinch Beach each year. Its western Ireland location ensures crashing waves and a strong tide from the Wild Atlantic Way. The beach stretches for 1.6 km on Liscannor Bay in County Clare and is crescent-shaped. It’s not a far drive from other hot spots like the Cliffs of Moher.
3. Inch Beach
Yet another popular surfing and swimming destination is Inch Beach. It exists as a long sand spit that spans into the sea between Dingle Harbour and Castlemaine Harbour. This blue flag beach is a great spot to catch some rays (and a wave or two) while traveling around the Dingle Peninsula.
2. Derrynane Beach
Derrynane is one of the most pristine beaches in the world, and it’s a great hallway stop while you travel around Ireland’s Ring of Kerry. It’s a great place to sink your toes in the sand, close your eyes and listen to the rhythmic pattern of the tide going in and out. If you’re feeling more adventurous, Derrynane is also a great beach for windsurfing and sailing. Just a mile away is the Village of Caherdaniel in County Kerry, named after Irish Hero Daniel O’Connell.
1. Inchydoney Beach
A small island connected to the mainland by two causeways, Inchydoney is considered one of the most family-friendly beaches in Ireland. If you’re visiting Cork City, you’ll want to fit in a stop to Inchydoney, as they are not far from each other. It’s also located just a few kilometers from the town of Clonakilty. With striking dunes, pristine sand and gorgeous water, it’s no wonder this beach was awarded a blue flag in 2016. Inchydoney offers all you could want in a beach – relaxation, beauty, wildlife and even a surfing school for beginners. We’re confident to say a visit here or any of the other beaches previously listed will make all other seaside destinations seem mediocre at best.