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The Five Best Beaches in Ireland

The Five Best Beaches in Ireland

Recently updated on May 23rd, 2024 at 11:05 am

Where to go for the best beach experiences on the Emerald Isle 

Benefits of being an island: Plenty of coastline and beaches in every direction. We’ve rounded up the top picks for the best beaches in Ireland. Just because it’s the end of summer doesn’t mean it’s the end of beach days. Whether you’re wanting to relax on the sand and jump in the sea, or want to walk the shoreline in sweater weather, this is where you need be if you see yourself visiting beautiful beaches in Ireland

5. Britta’s Bay Beach, Co. Wicklow

A person riding a surfboard on a wave in the ocean
Photographer/Creator: Celtic Routes

Only an hour’s drive from Dublin, this popular and beautiful beach offers green hills, sand dunes, gentle waves for sunny days and is over 5 kilometers in length so perfect for those wanting to get in a long walk along the shore. Ideal for day trippers from Dublin or those on their way to Ireland’s South coast looking to get some sun and sand on the way through Wicklow.

4. Barley Cove, Co. Cork

A couple of people with surfboards walking on a beach
Creating Agency: Tourism Ireland, Photographer/Creator: Joshua McMichael

Dipping down between two large hills on the County Cork shore is the lovelyBarley Cove Bay beachNot just a pretty place for a day with friendsor the fam, Barley Cove and its extensive dunes are also a Special Area of Conservation because of the variety of wildlife and habitats located there. 

3. Silver Strand, Co. Mayo

A person walking up a hill towards a body of wate
Creating Agency: Fáilte Ireland, Photographer/Creator: Gareth Wray Photography

Green Coast Award? Check. Clean environment, excellent water quality? Check.  Classic sand dune, waving grasses and unforgettable sunsets? Check, checkLocated at the mouth of Killary Fjord, number three on our best beaches in Ireland list is Silver Strand. This large and spectacularly breathtaking beach close to Galwaylooks out over the Atlantic towards the isles ofInishturk and Inishbofin. Shallow waters and gentle tides make it ideal for a family swim day in the waves. 

2. Keem Beach on Achill Island

A sandy beach with rocks and a body of water
Creating Agency: Tourism Ireland, Photographer/Creator: Gareth McCormack

Rugged and romantic, this beach is on Achill Island off Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. Tucked into the base of cliffs, with rocky outcroppings along its coast, Keem Bay beach is not only beautiful, classic and rural, it is popular for water sports such as surfing and during warmer months is a good spot for swimming.

1. Dogs Bay, Co. Galway

Creating Agency: Tourism Ireland, Photographer/Creator: Gareth McCormack

The best beach in Ireland isn’t for the dogs, no matter what the name might suggest. The best beach in Ireland, based on the opinions of our locals, is Dogs Bay. The horseshoe shape of this beach makes for gentle waters splashing up on its shining white sands. Ideal for swimming, windsurfing and kitesurfing, Dogs Bay is perhaps the best beach in Ireland because of it naturally protective land features. Not just a pretty place, this beach is also important due to its ecological, geological and archaeological features including the sand, made of miniscule crushed shells not rock, and the grasses, only found in this region and some parts of Scotland.

Brittany Hanson

Brittany Hanson

Brittany Hanson has been professionally writing for news, academia public relations and institutional outreach since 2007. Now, she's dedicated to bringing readers interesting, fun and helpful information to help them on their journeys. Loves: running, reading, California's central coast, London's mass transit systems and any moderate to very-good animal.

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