10 of the most beautiful Irish beaches

10 of the most beautiful Irish beaches

Similar to the Scottish coast, Ireland’s coastline is rugged and unspoilt, rich with wildlife and strewn with beautiful Irish beaches and sandy coves.

From hidden coves to a multitude of Blue Flag beaches, there’s something for every beach goer on the Emerald Isle. And whilst Ireland may not have the weather for it all year round, visiting one of these Irish beaches on a fine summer’s day will trump the majority of exotic located beaches. In fact, Ireland has so many beautiful beaches it is almost impossible to pick just ten. So, without further ado, here’s a roundup of ten Irish beaches for you to make a start:

1. Inchydoney Beach, County Cork

Connected to the mainland by two causeways, Inchydoney Beach is situated on a small island off West Cork, near the town of Clonakilty. Frequently ranked the best beach in Ireland, this Blue Flag bay is one of the most popular tourist destinations during the summer. Smooth golden sands and turquoise waters are flanked by lush green fields, creating stunning vistas as far as the eye can see. The beach is popular with surfers and thanks to the resident surf school, it is the ideal location for both beginners and experienced surfers.

2. Keem Bay, County Mayo

Enclosed by velveteen green cliffs, Keem Bay is situated on a sheltered strand on the West Atlantic Way. The most admired seascape on Achill Island, the horseshoe-shaped Blue Flag beach and crystal-clear waters attract scuba divers, snorkellers, kayakers and wildlife watchers. Formerly a basking shark fishery, the area is a hotspot for wildlife. And if you time your visit right, you might be lucky enough to see the large plankton feeding sharks, dolphins, seals and a wide variety of fish.

3. Dog’s Bay and Gurteen Bay, County Galway

Easily mistaken for beaches in the Caribbean, the white crescent shaped bays form an almost mirror image of each other. The white sand here is not comprised of traditional limestone but is made entirely from fragments of seashells which give it its pure white colour. Popular with families, the waters are considered very safe as the beach is protected from waves and is without any major currents.


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4. Brittas Bay, County Wicklow

Brittas Bay is a 4km stretch of powdery sand beach backed by sloping sand dunes. Very popular with Dubliners, it is one of the most frequented beaches during the summer. The dunes are a Special Area of Conservation, home to various wildlife including some rare species of coastal plant life. Visitors to Brittas Bay can also enjoy surfing, horse-riding or play golf in the nearby golf course.

5. Portsalon Beach, County Donegal

Also known as Ballymastocker Bay, Portsalon Beach is a truly spectacular Blue Flag beach. Backed by rolling green hills, the golden sands stretch for over a mile from the Knockalla Hills to the little harbour town of Portsalon. For the best views of the beach and its surroundings, head to the nearby Knockalla Hills or the Knockalla coastal drive.


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6. Whiterocks Beach, Country Antrim

Situated just off the Causeway Coastal Route, white limestone cliffs serve as a backdrop to this stunning beach. The unique limestone rock formations feature spectacular caves and arches, including Shelagh’s Head, the Wishing Arch, Elephant Rock and Lion’s Paw. Popular all year round, the Blue Flag awarded beach is a magnet for water sports enthusiasts, especially surfers. And with a beautiful coast for miles, there’s plenty of room to share with the summer crowds.

7. Inch Beach, County Kerry

This 5km long sandy beach is one of the most famous beaches in Ireland after featuring in many blockbuster movies, such as the 1970 film Ryan’s Daughter. A great place for walking, swimming, surfing or other water-sports, the crashing waves and fresh sea air is the perfect place to blow away the cobwebs.


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8. Silver Strand, County Donegal

Silver Strand is a horse-shoe shaped beach located at Malin Beg. Considered one of the best beaches in Donegal, this beautiful Irish beach attracts thousands of visitors each year as a result. Enclosed by green cliffs, the white sandy beach, transparent waters and beautiful surroundings make for the most scenic day out.


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9. Banna Strand, County Kerry

Banna Strand, also known as Banna Beach, is part of a 10km stretch of sandy beach. Featuring sand dunes along its entire length, the strand stretches from Ballyheigue Beach at the Blackrock in the north to Barrow Beach in the south. The area is popular with walkers and provides stunning views of the mountains of the Dingle Peninsula on the southwest horizon.


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10. Murder Hole Beach, Country Donegal

Boyeeghter Strand or Boyeeghter Bay, known as Murder Hole Beach, is situated at Melmore Head. Despite its disturbing nick name, this beach is one of the most unique beaches in Ireland, so it is definitely worthy of a visit. Equipped with cliffs, hills, sand dunes and small caves, the beach is perfect for an adventurous day out. The waters here can be dangerous, and the currents are unpredictable, therefore swimming is not recommended here.


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