When it comes to beach season, many of us are on the lookout for budget flights to Tenerife or last-minute deals to Greece – but why not enjoy some sun, sea and sand on your doorstep? From sweeping bays to sandy coves, Ireland is home to some of the nicest beaches around and we’ve compiled a list of our favourites to help you get the most from the fleeting sunshine.
Brittas Bay, Co. Wicklow
Images by pococailin and nadine.smi
A short journey from Dublin’s Southside, Brittas Bay is a picturesque 5km-stretch of silver beach, edged by 100 hectares of dunes. The beach itself is actually split into two parts: North and South. While both are popular with day-trippers, the South beach boasts a coveted Blue Flag.
Inch Beach, Co. Kerry
Images by Samantha Grönblad and Kenneth Ephraim Surat
One of the most beautiful natural wonders in the country, if not Europe, Inch is a seemingly endless expanse of beach. Found on the stunning Dingle Peninsula, Inch Beach treats sun-worshippers to a stunning view of the surrounding mountains – and occasionally a bit of good weather.
Inchydoney Beach – Clonakilty, Co. Cork
Images by hollielim and k1tchentable
Recently voted Ireland’s favourite beach, Inchydoney is a wide stretch of sand, backed by dunes. Found in a natural bay, the beach offers beautiful views of the surrounding green scenery and rolling hills. At low tide, you’ll find plenty of dog walkers and families making the most of the sea air.
Bettystown, Co. Meath
Images by shanzerbbz and Helen Moriarty-Farrelly
A long, narrow strip of sand hugging the coast, Bettystown beach is one of the most famous in Ireland. The famous Tara Brooch was reportedly found by a peasant woman buried beneath the sand in 1850, though today the area is better known for its annual horse race – one of the only beach meetings in the world.
Trá Bán – Great Blasket, Co. Kerry
Images by tomabenteuer
One of the most secluded beaches in Ireland is found on Great Blasket Island. In fact, you’re more likely to find a pod of frolicking seals here than a crowd of sun-seekers. The beach’s incredibly isolated setting makes for an unforgettable visit – enjoy the unspoilt views, the golden sands and the crumbling ruins of former cottages.
Ballybunion, Co. Kerry
Images Karen Quirke and Kerry Kissane
Surrounded by dramatic high cliffs, Ballybunion beach occupies one of the most romantic settings in Ireland. The two halves of the beach were traditionally known as the Men’s Beach and the Ladies Beach, though this custom has thankfully not been observed for centuries, leaving everyone free to enjoy this beautiful spot.
Kinnagoe Bay, Co. Donegal
Images by Shea o Doherty and Elaine & Dave
Found in the far North of Ireland, Kinnagoe Bay is a bit of a hidden gem. Despite being overlooked by plenty of Best Beach lists, Kinnagoe Bay offers visitors a beautiful stretch of fine white beach, clinging to the base of the high-climbing cliffs. Accessed via a winding road, you’ll enjoy some spectacular views on the way down.
Dog’s Bay, Co. Galway
Images by Cecile D and Conor Saunders
Yes, we’re sure this is Ireland. Despite boasting the kind of beautiful white sand and crystal-clear blue waters you’d expect in the Caribbean, Dog’s Bay is found in our very own County Galway. So forget about jetting off to The Bahamas, just pack up the car and hope for some sunshine…
Silverstrand, Co. Wicklow
Image by mmmaaeevvvee
Another easy journey from Dublin, Silverstrand beach in County Wicklow is a great destination for some sun, sea and sand. Found in a naturally sheltered bay, the area is popular with families thanks to its safe swimming and golden sands. Are you brave enough to take a dip?