Best Beaches in Ireland – Where Coastal Beauty Meets Tranquility

Top 10 Best Beaches in Ireland


Best Beaches in Ireland



Keem Bay

Achill Island, County Mayo


Inch Strand

County Kerry


Banna Strand

County Kerry


Trawmore Bay

Achill Island, County Mayo


Dog’s Bay and Gurteen Bay

County Galway


Trá Mór in Dunfanaghy

County Donegal


Ballyquin near Ardmore

County Waterford


Streedagh Strand

County Sligo


Killiney Beach

County Dublin


Ballymastocker Bay

County Donegal

Best Beaches in Ireland

“Ireland’s coastline is a hidden gem, stretching for over 6,200 kilometers (3,852 miles), adorned with some of the most picturesque and diverse beaches. From secluded coves known only to a few to expansive golden strands that captivate all who visit, Ireland’s coast offers a beachgoer’s paradise. While some of the best beaches are found on the wild western coast, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the land, each beach carries its own unique charm and allure. Join us on a journey to discover the top beaches in Ireland, where you can experience the beauty and tranquility of these coastal treasures.


1. Keem Bay

Keem Bay

Keem Bay is a true jewel nestled on the western edge of Achill Island in County Mayo. Often regarded as one of the most renowned beaches in Ireland, it boasts a secluded crescent of golden sand framed by rugged cliffs, including the imposing Croaghaun Cliffs, the highest sea cliffs in Ireland. To access the beach, visitors must navigate a steep footpath, which only adds to the sense of adventure. Keem Bay’s Blue Flag status signifies its environmental excellence. On sunny summer days, the soft sands and crystal-clear waters create a tropical-like paradise, making it a fantastic spot for swimming and sunbathing. The surrounding cliffs offer breathtaking vistas of the Atlantic, making Keem Bay a favorite among nature enthusiasts and photographers.

2. Inch Strand

Inch Strand

Inch Strand, located in County Kerry, is an iconic Irish beach known for its stunning beauty and cinematic history. Stretching 5 kilometers (3 miles) along the Dingle Bay, it has served as the backdrop for several blockbuster films. With its west-facing orientation, Inch Strand is also a popular destination for surfers, with local surf schools offering lessons during the summer months. The beach is not only famous for its surf but also for birdwatching, as it attracts a variety of bird species. Inch Strand provides visitors with an ideal setting for a leisurely walk along the shoreline and a refreshing swim in the Atlantic waters.

3.  Banna Strand

Banna Strand

Banna Strand, located about 13 kilometers (8 miles) northwest of Tralee in County Kerry, is a beloved local gem. It ranks among Ireland’s largest beaches, with a stretch of 6 kilometers (3.7 miles). Thanks to the warming influence of the Gulf Stream, the water here is relatively pleasant, especially in the glorious September days when the sea has been warmed by summer. Even if you don’t plan to swim, the beach offers spectacular views from its 10-meter-high (33-foot) dunes. Look southwest, and you’ll be treated to vistas of Mt. Brandon and the Dingle Hills. Banna Strand is cherished by both locals and those from surrounding areas, making it a popular destination for a relaxing beach stroll.

4. Trawmore Bay

Trawmore Bay

Trawmore Bay, situated on Achill Island’s western seaboard, is a captivating Blue Flag beach known for its 4-kilometer-long (2.5-mile) crescent of golden sand. It lies between the villages of Keel and Dookinelly and is a favorite spot for bodyboarders and surfers who relish the challenge of the Atlantic’s waves. Swimmers are advised to stick to the western (Keel) end due to strong currents in other areas. Trawmore Bay is not only a popular beach but also one of the most photographed in Ireland. The Minaun Cliffs at the beach’s eastern end, rising to a height of 466 meters (1,528 feet), offer a perfect vantage point for capturing the beach’s beauty. Achill Tourism provides valuable information on activities and services available on the island, making Trawmore Bay an accessible and enjoyable destination for all.

5. Dog’s Bay and Gurteen Bay

Dog's Bay and Gurteen Bay

Dog’s Bay and Gurteen Bay are two stunning beaches located near Roundstone in County Galway, Ireland. These neighboring beaches are renowned for their natural beauty, fine golden sands, and crystal-clear waters. Dog’s Bay is often considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland, with its unique crescent shape and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Gurteen Bay, just a short walk from Dog’s Bay, complements its neighbor with equally picturesque vistas. Both beaches are backed by low sand dunes, and the turquoise waters make them ideal for swimming, kayaking, and windsurfing. The sheltered location of these beaches makes them perfect for families and water sports enthusiasts alike.

The area around Dog’s Bay and Gurteen Bay is also known for its diverse birdlife and scenic walking trails. Birdwatchers can spot various seabirds and waders along the shorelines, while hikers can explore the nearby hills and enjoy panoramic views of the Connemara region. These beaches are not only a haven for nature lovers but also offer a sense of tranquility and relaxation. Whether you’re sunbathing on the soft sand or taking in the stunning sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean, Dog’s Bay and Gurteen Bay provide an unforgettable experience for visitors to the west coast of Ireland.

6. Trá Mór in Dunfanaghy

Trá Mór in Dunfanaghy

Trá Mór, located in the charming village of Dunfanaghy in County Donegal, is a beautiful sandy beach that captures the essence of Ireland’s rugged coastline. With its expansive shoreline, backed by rolling sand dunes and framed by the lush landscapes of Horn Head and Sheephaven Bay, Trá Mór is a true gem of the Wild Atlantic Way. The beach is known for its serene atmosphere and stunning natural surroundings, making it a favorite spot for beachgoers and nature enthusiasts. It’s an ideal place for a leisurely stroll, picnicking, or simply enjoying the peace and tranquility of the North Donegal coast.

Trá Mór is not only a place of scenic beauty but also a hub for water sports enthusiasts. The clear waters of Sheephaven Bay offer excellent opportunities for activities like swimming, kayaking, and windsurfing. The beach also serves as a starting point for exploring the nearby Horn Head Peninsula, which boasts dramatic cliffs and breathtaking coastal scenery. The village of Dunfanaghy itself is a quaint and welcoming destination, offering a range of amenities, including cafes, pubs, and art galleries, making it a perfect base for exploring Trá Mór and the surrounding attractions. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventure or a tranquil escape, Trá Mór in Dunfanaghy is a must-visit destination along Ireland’s northwest coast.

7. Ballyquin near Ardmore

Ballyquin near Ardmore

Ballyquin is a picturesque coastal area located near Ardmore in County Waterford, Ireland. This serene village is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and its close proximity to the charming seaside town of Ardmore. Visitors to Ballyquin can expect to be greeted by rugged cliffs, pristine beaches, and breathtaking sea views. The area is a haven for nature enthusiasts and hikers, offering various walking trails that meander along the coastline, providing opportunities to witness the diverse flora and fauna of the region.

One of the standout features of Ballyquin is its striking Martello tower, which dates back to the 19th century and was constructed as a defensive fortification during the Napoleonic Wars. This historic structure adds a unique element to the landscape and is a popular spot for photographers and history buffs alike. Ballyquin near Ardmore is a hidden gem that offers tranquility and a sense of escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking a peaceful getaway in the heart of Ireland’s coastal beauty.

8. Streedagh Strand

Streedagh Strand

Streedagh Strand is a stunning beach located in County Sligo, on the northwest coast of Ireland. This picturesque strand is known for its long stretches of golden sand, backed by rolling sand dunes and surrounded by the dramatic backdrop of the Dartry Mountains. One of the unique aspects of Streedagh Strand is its rich historical significance. It was here, in 1588, that several Spanish Armada ships were wrecked during a violent storm. Today, the beach is often referred to as “The Beach of the Three Saints” due to the connection with these shipwrecks and the belief that the bodies of three Spanish Armada soldiers were found here.

Streedagh Strand is a popular destination for beachgoers, surfers, and nature enthusiasts. The vast expanse of sand offers plenty of space for relaxation and beach activities, and the rolling waves make it an excellent spot for surfing. Nature lovers can explore the dunes and the nearby estuaries, which are home to a variety of bird species. The area’s historical significance, combined with its natural beauty, makes Streedagh Strand a unique and captivating destination for visitors looking to immerse themselves in Ireland’s rich coastal heritage.

9. Killiney Beach

Killiney Beach

Killiney Beach is a picturesque coastal gem located in County Dublin, Ireland. Nestled between the charming towns of Killiney and Dalkey, this beach is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and tranquil atmosphere. Stretching along the eastern coast of Ireland, Killiney Beach boasts golden sands that gently meet the crystal-clear waters of the Irish Sea. The backdrop is equally enchanting, with lush green hills and cliffs providing a dramatic contrast to the serene beachfront. This combination of natural elements makes Killiney Beach a popular destination for both locals and tourists seeking a peaceful escape from the bustling city of Dublin, which is just a short drive away.

In addition to its natural beauty, Killiney Beach offers a range of recreational activities for visitors. From leisurely walks along the shoreline to swimming and picnicking, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the beach. The surrounding area is also home to some notable landmarks, including the historic Killiney Hill Park, which offers panoramic views of Dublin Bay and the Wicklow Mountains. Whether you’re looking to relax on the sand, take in breathtaking views, or explore the nearby attractions, Killiney Beach has something for everyone, making it a must-visit destination for those traveling to Ireland.

10. Ballymastocker Bay

Ballymastocker Bay

Ballymastocker Bay is a coastal haven located in County Donegal, in the northwest of Ireland. Known for its pristine, crescent-shaped beach, this bay is often considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Its fine, white sands extend for nearly 2 miles along the shores of Lough Swilly, providing a perfect setting for leisurely strolls, sunbathing, and water activities. The bay is surrounded by rugged hills and cliffs, creating a breathtaking backdrop that adds to its charm. The crystal-clear waters of Ballymastocker Bay are inviting for swimming and water sports, while the nearby Knockalla Coast Road offers panoramic views of the bay and the surrounding countryside.

Ballymastocker Bay has gained international recognition for its natural beauty and has been featured in numerous travel magazines and lists of top beaches. It’s not just a summer destination; the bay’s dramatic scenery makes it an appealing spot for photographers and nature enthusiasts year-round. Additionally, the nearby town of Portsalon offers amenities such as restaurants, accommodations, and a golf course, making it convenient for visitors to enjoy an extended stay in this idyllic corner of Ireland. Ballymastocker Bay’s unspoiled beauty and serene atmosphere make it a hidden gem that captures the essence of Ireland’s rugged coastal landscapes.

Which Beaches in Ireland are Ideal for Water Sports Enthusiasts?

Ireland may not be the first destination that comes to mind for water sports, but it offers a surprisingly vibrant scene for enthusiasts. With its rugged coastline and a variety of coastal conditions, there are several beaches around the country that cater to water sports enthusiasts, from surfers and kiteboarders to kayakers and windsurfers. Here are some of the top beaches in Ireland for water sports:

1. Lahinch Beach, County Clare:

Lahinch Beach, located on the west coast of Ireland, is a mecca for surfers. It’s renowned for its consistent waves, making it an excellent spot for both beginners and experienced surfers. The town of Lahinch also has a vibrant surf culture, with numerous surf schools and rental shops.

2. Inchydoney Beach, County Cork:

Inchydoney Beach, situated near Clonakilty in County Cork, is famous for its long sandy shores and consistent swell. It’s a popular spot for both surfing and bodyboarding. The beach offers great conditions for beginners and is known for its stunning scenery.

3. Achill Island, County Mayo:

Achill Island boasts several beaches, each offering unique water sports opportunities. Keel Beach is a top spot for surfing and windsurfing due to its Atlantic-facing location and strong winds. Dugort Beach is favored by kayakers and stand-up paddleboarders for its calmer waters.

4. Brandon Bay, County Kerry:

Brandon Bay on the Dingle Peninsula is one of the best places for kitesurfing and windsurfing in Ireland. The consistent winds and vast bay provide ideal conditions for these sports. The beach is surrounded by the dramatic beauty of the Kerry mountains.

5. Portrush, County Antrim:

Portrush, on the north coast of Northern Ireland, offers a range of water sports activities. White Rocks Beach is known for its bodyboarding and paddleboarding, while nearby Whiterocks Beach and Portrush East Strand are popular with surfers.

6. Rossnowlagh Beach, County Donegal:

Rossnowlagh Beach in County Donegal is another renowned surf destination. It offers consistent waves and a relaxed atmosphere. Surf schools and rental shops can be found nearby to accommodate visitors of all skill levels.

These are just a few examples of the many beaches in Ireland that cater to water sports enthusiasts. Whether you’re into surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, or other water activities, Ireland’s coastline offers a diverse range of options to suit your preferences and skill level. Just remember to check the local conditions and safety guidelines before hitting the waves.

Disclaimer: The above information is for general informational purposes only. All information on the Site is provided in good faith, however we make no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability or completeness of any information on the Site.

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