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The Top 10 Beaches of Ireland ( You will be surprised )

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The Top 10 Beaches of Ireland

Going to the beach is not something visitors associate with Ireland as most of us just think of Ireland as the country of perpertual rain.

but surprise, surprise, Ireland has some of the best and certainly some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Below are the best beaches in Ireland 

Here are Top 10 beaches in Ireland to visit.

1. Inch Beach, Inch, Dingle, Co Kerry

2. Inchydoney Beach, Clonakilty, Co Cork

3. Dog’s Bay Beach, Roundstone, Co Galway

4. Barleycove Beach, Schull, Co Cork

5. Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Co Kerry

6. Maghera Beach and Caves, Ardara, Co Donegal

7. Silver Strand Beach, Malin Beg, Co Donegal

8. Derrynane Beach, Caherdaniel, Co Kerry

9. Strandhill Beach, Strandhill, Co Sligo

10. Banna Strand, Tralee, Co Kerry



Inch Beach, Inch, Dingle, Co Kerry

Rising behind Inch are the amazing Slieve Mish Mountains which form the backbone of the Dingle Peninsula.

The Top 10 Beaches of Ireland

Inch beach is a wild and windswept dune system that  reaches out into Dingle Bay towards Rossbeigh Beach on the Iveragh Peninsula. 

Swimmers, surfers and anglers frequent Inc beach and there are lifeguards on patrol during the summer season and local surf schools provide lessons, water sports equipment and wetsuit hire on the beach.


Inc beach is part of the fantastic Dingle Peninsula 

"The Dingle Peninsula welcomes you, our visiting community to a most wonderful stay. We have worked hard to make a safe destination for you to have a fabulous summer holiday. We ask you in turn to be mindful of our community by practicing safe social distancing, safe coughing etiquette, washing your hands regularly and wearing your mask. We hope you enjoy all that the Dingle Peninsula has to offer. Stay safe, stay happy. Ag súil le fáilte a chur romhaibh."

The Dingle Peninsula or Corca Dhuibhne, stretches 30 miles (48 kilometres) into the Atlantic Ocean on the south-west coast on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. The peninsula is dominated by the range of mountains that form its spine, running from the Slieve Mish range to the Conor Pass and  Mount Brandon, Ireland’s second highest peak. The magnificent coastline consists of steep sea-cliffs such as Slea Head, dramatic headlands broken by sandy beaches, with the award-winning beach at Inch in the south and the tombolo of Maharees to the north.

The Blasket Islands lie to the west and the peninsula is dotted with lovely villages that each offer their own unique Sense of Place………

Spend time in a place rich in tradition, literature and culture, where native Gaelic (Irish language) prospers alongside modern languages, where the perfect harmony created by nature restores the spirit, where you can relax and savour the scenery, the flora and fauna, the art & photography, craft trails, the culture, the archaeology, the local food, craft distillery and breweries, or just meet the people – the choice is yours!

Dingle Peninsula has many historical and current links with the USA.

 Irish immigration to New England reached a peak in the mid-19th century, when the Irish potato famine of the 1840's created widespread loss of life and terrible hardship for countless families. Seeking new opportunity, they left Ireland - and County Kerry and its rocky Dingle Peninsula in particular - in huge waves, landing in ports up and down the American eastern seaboard. Thousands found what they were looking for in Western Mass.

In West Springfield, Irish culture, particularly on the Dingle Peninsula, is celebrated during The Big E. Throughout the 17 day festival, also known as New England's State Fair, Dingle merchants are on-hand to sell their wares and promote this magnificent destination. 



Inchydoney Beach, Clonakilty, Co Cork

Inchydoney  (from Irish: Inse Duine)[1] (often misspelled Inchadoney)[2] is a small island off West Cork, Ireland, connected to the mainland by two causeways. The nearest town is Clonakilty. It has a Blue Flag beach.[3]

The Top 10 Beaches of Ireland

It is a popular tourist destination. There are two beaches, one either side of the Virgin Mary headland. In Summer there is a lifeguard station on the headland for three months.

Inchydoney Blue Flag Beach near Clonakilty in West Cork is a Wild Atlantic Way Discovery Point. Inchydoney Beach has often been named Ireland’s favourite beach by international tourists on TripAdvisor, most recently in 2019 and described as “glorious and unspoiled”.

The beach is popular with surfers and considered suitable for beginners. There is a surf school at the beach with board and wetsuit hire.

There are lifeguards on duty in the summer months. There is a public car park and toilets and access via ramps and steps.


Dog’s Bay Beach, Roundstone, Co Galway

Just a short drive from Roundstone village lies Dogs Bay, one of the most spectacularly beautiful beaches in the world.

Dogs Bay is a horseshoe shaped bay with more than a mile long stretch of white sandy beach. It backs on to Gurteen Bay, and together they form a tombolo which juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. Similar to Gurteen Bay, the sand is not comprised of traditional limestone but rather made entirely of fragments of seashells which give it a pure white colour.

The Top 10 Beaches of Ireland

Dog’s Bay faces due west. It is a stunning beach with its bright white sands and crystal blue water. Since 1991 the dunes separating Gurteen Beach from Dog’s Bay have been the focus of intensive efforts to plant Marram Grass to stem coastal erosion. Visitors are requested to respect the signs restricting access to the dunes. The wild headland which stretches out into the Atlantic between the two beaches is an area of great beauty and is a fantastic walk where you will be surrounded by water on three sides.

Both beaches are well sheltered from currents and are considered safe for swimming and other water sports such as windsurfing and kitesurfing.


Image credits:

Piotr Dybowski/Failte Ireland

Irene King


Barleycove Beach, Schull, Co Cork

Barleycove is a large beach backed by sand dunes, which were thrown up in the tidal wave which swept Europe after the earthquake in Lisbon in 1755.

The Top 10 Beaches of Ireland

Today the dunes have been partially eroded but are protected like much of the coastal area here as European designated Special Areas of Conservation. The car-park access road runs along a narrow causeway bisecting Lissagriffin Lakes. At the north end of this causeway there is a narrow bridge, where you can turn left for Mizen Head or right back to Goleen village.


Coumeenoole Beach, Dingle, Co Kerry

Small, secluded beach with jagged cliffs & strong currents, plus views of the Blasket Islands.

The Top 10 Beaches of Ireland

Address: Coumeenoole North, Co. Kerry, Ireland


Maghera Beach and Caves, Ardara, Co Donegal

Our walk begins on a path that winds through immense white sand dunes and first brings us to the magnificent Maghera beach.

The Top 10 Beaches of Ireland

As soon as we arrive on the beach, we notice that the tide is rather low and that we will have the pleasure of exploring some caves. These are to the left of the beach.

It seems that there are more than twenty caves as well as several arches and tunnels. The vast majority of them can be visited by kayak.

We have entered one of these. A long tunnel leads us into the dark. We can stand inside this tunnel.

As we had not brought our lamps, we knew that it was not possible to continue exploring in this total darkness.

We walked on the beach along the cliffs. Some sections are really stunning in their shape and coloring.


Silver Strand Beach, Malin Beg, Co Donegal

The Top 10 Beaches of Ireland

The Silver Strand is a horse-shoe shaped beach situated at Malin Beg, near Glencolmcille, in south-west County Donegal, Ireland. Wikipedia


Derrynane Beach, Caherdaniel, Co Kerry

This is a very beautiful and extensive sandy beach in Derrynane Bay.  It is quite close to Derrynane House. Follow directions for Derrynane House and you will then see signs for Derrynane Beach. The village of Caherdaniel is located two miles to the north west of the beach and is on the Ring of Kerry. 

The Top 10 Beaches of Ireland


Strandhill Beach, Strandhill, Co Sligo


The Top 10 Beaches of Ireland

Strandhill is a vibrant seaside village and holiday resort located on the R292 – it is roughly 7 miles form Sligo town. With its wild Atlantic waves is also a very popular spot for surfers throughout the year. It is said that it is one of the best places in Europe to surf! Along the seafront, you will find Shells Cafe, Voya Seaweed Baths, Surf Clubs, The Strand Bar. Close by, you will find Strandhill Golf Course, Sligo Airport, Sligo Enterprise & Technology Centre, and more restaurants and pubs. Surf lessons are available throughout the year with the local surf shops, and when there is no surf, there is stand up paddling!

Please note: Due to the very strong currents swimming is forbidden at Strandhill beach.


Banna Strand, Tralee, Co Kerry

Banna Beach is 7 miles north west of Tralee. It's a beautiful Blue Flag beach that extends for miles.  This is a walkers paradise with views of the mountains of the Dingle Peninsula on the southwest horizon, Kerry Head and the Maulin Mountain to the northwest and straight out to sea you can see Mucklaghmore Rock. The sand dunes here are a designated conservation area with rare plants and animals. It's is a popular surfing spot with surfing lessons and summer camps.

The Top 10 Beaches of Ireland

Shore Fishing is excellent here, north of Banna Beach is the Black Rock and Carrahane known as “an Poll Gorm” are recommended fishing spots.  There is a 9 hole golf course at the  Ardfert Golf Centre  and the 18 hole Tralee Golf Club is nearby.  The picturesque heritage village of Ardfert is full of history and architecture with Ardfert Cathedral and Friary. You can stay in local B&Bs and the Banna Beach Hotel.

Children will love the endless stretch of beach, perfect for sandcastles with seashells and rock pools to explore while the sand dunes have shelter to enjoy picnics by the shore.  Banna Beach is an ideal day trip from Tralee, Fenit or Ballyheigue.

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