Ballybunion beach
Ballybunion beach

10 Beaches That You Should Visit in Ireland

Ireland is not exactly known for 90-degree weather. In fact, it can be quite changeable. But that doesn't mean that you can't make the most of its beautiful coastline.

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Its mild climate is due to the warming influence of the Gulf Stream, which means that practically every season is suitable for a visit.

Visitors to Ireland can avail themselves of its beautiful beaches, where they can swim, surf, kayak, horse ride or simply walk for miles, in some cases.

Here are the 10 beaches that you should visit in Ireland, all of them selected by followers of the popular travel website, TripAdvisor, along with suggestions for attractions that you might want to visit nearby.

TripAdvisor Pick #1: Inchydoney Beach, Clonakilty, Co. Cork

This West Cork beach is actually part of a small island connected to the mainland by two causeways.

It is closest to Clonakilty, a popular County Cork seaside resort.

Inchydoney Beach in Co. Cork. Photo: George Karbus Photography for Failte Ireland.

There is a lot to see and do in Clonakilty, including visiting the West Cork Model Railway Village, a replica of the old West Cork railway that was active during the 1940s.

Another popular attraction is the Michael Collins Heritage Centre and Michael Collins House.

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Collins, a native of Clonakilty, was killed in an ambush in 1922 during the Irish Civil War.

He is known as a revolutionary hero, soldier, and politician who played an important part in carving out Ireland’s history during the crucial period before the Republic of Ireland was formed (minus the Six Counties of Northern Ireland).

TripAdvisor Pick #2: Banna Strand, Tralee, Co. Kerry

Located seven miles northwest of Tralee, this beautiful beach is a walker’s paradise that extends for miles, with views of the Dingle Peninsula, Kerry Head, Maulin Mountain, and the Mucklaghmore Rock.

Banna Strand in Co. Kerry. Photo: Creative Commons.

The beach is popular with surfers and fishing enthusiasts.

Children love this beach as it offers endless hours of sandcastle making and general good fun, including collecting shells and looking for sea creatures in the nearby rock pools.

The 18-hole Tralee Golf Club is nearby.

The course, designed by Arnold Palmer, is considered one of the finest in the world.

An aerial view of the friary in Ardfert, Co. Kerry, founded by St. Brendan. Photo: Eugene_remizov for Getty Images.

The charming village of Ardfert is full of history, but its real claim to fame lies in the fact that St. Brendan the Navigator (believed to have found America before Columbus) established a monastery there.

The monastery was damaged by fire in 1089 and finally destroyed by fire again in 1151.

Ardfert Cathedral was built in its place.

The cathedral has a number of interesting features, including its Romanesque style west doorway constructed in the mid-12th century, pictured below.

The Romanesque-style west doorway, part of the remains of Ardfert Cathedral.
Photo: www.fotosearch.com

Read More: 10 of the Best Affordable Golf Courses & More in Ireland 2024

TripAdvisor Pick #3: Inch Beach, Inch, Co. Kerry

Inch beach, which was one of the filming locations for the 1970s epic drama, “Ryan’s Daughter,” is approximately 4 miles long.

It is situated at Daingean (pronounced “Dthangen”) Bay on the Dingle Peninsula. You can even drive your car right onto the beach.

Inch Beach in Co. Kerry, one of the 10 beaches that you should visit in Ireland. Photo: Banda73 for Getty Images.

Be careful, however, as cars have been known to get stuck in the sand.

There’s a surf school located nearby that operates during the summer season, from May through September.

Private lessons are available. The fee for one person is €110, €120 for 2, and €180 for 3 people. Group lessons are cheaper.

Other water-based activities to enjoy on Inch Beach include kayaking, kite surfing, windsurfing, and hang gliding, to name a few.
For more information on accommodation and things to do in the area, check out the visitor’s guide to the Dingle Peninsula.

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TripAdvisor Pick #4: Strandhill, Co. Sligo

Strandhill is approximately five miles west of Sligo town.

It has the advantage of being close to the town and to some of the county’s well-known attractions, such as Benbulben and Knocknarea.

The beach at Strandhill, one of the 10 beaches that you should visit in Ireland. Photo: Alison Crummy for Failte Ireland.

The beach is popular for surfing and for walking.

Sligo Walks offers a 90-minute looped walk to the ruins of an early Christian church located in Killaspubrone. This particular walk includes the stunning scenery of Sligo Bay and the surrounding area.

The beach at Strandhill is not always safe for swimming due to the dangerous currents and tides.

The town has become quite the spot for foodies.

Some of the more popular eateries include the surf café, Mammy Johnston’s Ice Cream Parlour and Cafe, and the Strand Bar, an institution in the town since 1913.

TripAdvisor Pick #5: Derrynane Beach, Caherdaniel, Co. Kerry

Located on the official Ring of Kerry, Derrynane Beach is a sheltered spot with a natural harbor.

This drone video captures the sub-tropical waters of Derrynane Beach and the surrounding area.

It is two miles from the quaint village of Caherdaniel and close to Derrynane House, the ancestral home of the 19th-century Irish politician Daniel O’Connell.

Take a while to walk around the museum dedicated to his life, as well as the parklands that surround it.

Admission is €5 for adults; €4 for seniors and €3 for children and students. A family ticket costs €13. If you purchase a heritage card, you can tour the house free of charge.

a large house 10 beaches that you should visit in Ireland
Derrynane House and National Park. Photo: George Munday, Tourism Ireland.

If you’re hungry after a long day at Derrynane Beach, why not stop by O’Carroll’s Cove Beach Bar?

The restaurant is a popular spot with tourists. Fresh local seafood is on offer, as well as a variety of other specialties, including stone-baked pizza.

TripAdvisor Pick #6: Coomeenoole Beach, Dingle, Co. Kerry

Located right in the heart of the Dingle Peninsula, this beach is not suitable for swimmers as the currents are strong here, but it is still totally worth visiting.

You’ll get magnificent views of the Blasket Islands and surrounding area from Coomeenoole Beach,

people walking on a beach 10 beaches that you should visit in Ireland
Coumeenole Beach along the Kerry coast. Photo: Sile Ní Mhurchu, Failte Ireland.

While you’re in the area, take the Slea Head Drive, a circular route that begins and ends in the town of Dingle.

The route includes stops at Ventry Bay, the Iron Age Dunbeg Fort, and the beehive huts, similar to those found on Skellig Michael.

Be sure to read this important driving guide from Dingle's tourism office.

TripAdvisor Pick #7: Lahinch Beach, Co. Clare

Lahinch beach, which received the International Blue Flag award in 2018, is a short drive from the Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland’s top tourist attractions. It is an excellent beach for surfing, sea kayaking, and kite surfing.

The Lahinch Golf Course, known in the golfing community as the “St. Andrew’s of Ireland,” is nearby.

Here’s a bird’s eye view of this beautiful spot.

Other nearby attractions include the musical village of Doolin, as well as the Burren, a barren limestone area in the northwest corner of the county that was formed approximately 350 million years ago.

While there’s lots of fun to be had in Lahinch, the most popular spot seems to be Kenny’s Bar on the town’s Main Street.

You’ll find plenty of live music at Kenny’s (it’s famous for its “White Horse” sessions), but you’ll also find great grub.



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TripAdvisor Pick #8: Rossbeigh Beach, Glenbeigh, Co. Kerry

This 6-mile beach is about two miles from the village of Glenbeigh along the Ring of Kerry on the Iveragh Peninsula.

It is a protected area due to the amount of natural wildlife and plants that exist there.

people on horses on the beach 10 beaches that you should visit in Ireland
Horse riding on Rossbeigh beach in Co. Kerry, one of the 10 beaches that you should visit in Ireland. Photo: Failte Ireland.

It is often referred to as “The Jewel in the Ring of Kerry.”

Kayaking is popular on this beach, as is canoeing on the flats of the Caragh River. If thrill-seeking is your thing, expect to experience a level 3 or 4 kayaking experience on the river for over a mile.

The beach is also ideal for horseback riding.

A one-hour, 10-minute trek costs €50 and a 2-hour trek costs €100 with Burke’s Beach Riding.

The ride is a walk and trot only and is suitable for anyone, even the novice rider.

Like other beaches on the Ring of Kerry, there’s a lot to see around Glenbeigh.

white washed cottages 10 beaches that you should visit in Ireland
The Kerry Bog Village Museum in West Kerry. Photo: Joseph Mischyshyn, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14362351

One of the closest attractions to the beach is the Kerry Bog Village Museum, where visitors can experience the culture, customs, and living conditions of people in the area during the late 19th century.

The recreated village consists of thatched cottages that are furnished with authentic antiques.

 

 

TripAdvisor Pick #9: Ladies Beach, Ballybunion, Co. Kerry

This North Kerry beach was, you guessed it, once used by ladies only. There is another beach nearby, called “Men’s Beach.”

The story goes that the local priest ordered the men and women of the parish to bathe separately and walked the length of the beach to make sure they did!

A ruined castle on a cliff above, also known as “Castle Green,” divides the two of them.

Exploring the cliffs and caves at Ladies Beach is a lot of fun.

a large rock in the ocean near a beach 10 beaches that you should visit in Ireland
Virgin's Rock, off Nun's Beach in Ballybunion. Photo: Carsten Kreiger for Tourism Ireland.

Discover the “Nine Daughters Hole,” a blowhole that locals say was named after a chieftain who threw his nine daughters into it after discovering their plot to elope with Viking enemies.

One of the most prominent sights in the area is the Virgin Rock, which is located off neighboring Nun’s Beach.

TripAdvisor Pick #10: Portmarnock Beach, Co. Dublin

Otherwise known as the “Velvet Strand,” this beach is about 8 miles north of Dublin’s city center. Stretching for five miles, you can see the Dublin Mountains and Howth Harbor in the distance.

large beach 10 beaches that you should visit in Ireland
Portmarnock Strand in Co. Dublin, one of the 10 beaches that you should visit in Ireland. Photo: Failte Ireland.

Parallel to the beach is a path that is used frequently by cyclists and walkers.

Are your favorite beaches on the list above? Let me know in the comments section below.

colette

Colette is a County Sligo native who created Ireland on a Budget to provide her readers with money-saving tips on how to get to Ireland and then save even more when they're there. She's a professional copywriter who lives in the New York area with her husband and two children.

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