5. Keem Beach, Co. Mayo
Those who visit the village of Dooagh are often captivated by Achill Island’s Keem Bay. Safely nestled in the horseshoe shaped valley, travelers can explore Keem Beach’s uniquely beautiful cove, which is surrounding by jaw dropping cliffs.
This area is only accessible by a Croaghaun mountain road, which is well known for its high altitude sea cliffs, which are the tallest in Ireland. Keem Beach used to be home to a basking shark fishery and while many trek to this secluded strand on the spectacularly scenic strand for the majestic view, it is also a popular destination for scuba divers and snorkeling enthusiasts.
4. Dog’s Bay and Gurteen Bay, Connemara
These two amazing white sand crescents almost look like a mirror image of each other when viewed from above, with just a few hundred metres of flat green headland keeping them apart. The sand here is part of the appeal, consisting of shells from sea creatures or foraminifera, which gives the sand its dazzlingly white colour.
The beaches are some of the safest in the area, protected from waves and without any major currents to be cautious about. The only thing you may need to fear is the temperature of the water – in January and February the weather in this part of Ireland can be pretty unbearable, with temperatures as low as 2°C. While there are no facilities by the beach, there is a decent supermarket in the village of Roundstone, just three miles away.
3. Portsalon Beach, Co. Donegal
Portsalon Beach is a beautiful sandy beach on the shores of Lough Swilly. It gently slopes towards the Atlantic ocean and is located in a Natural Heritage Area. This beach is truly magnificent when viewed from above. The beach at Portsalon can be reached by travelling north east in the R246 from Carrowkeel to Portsalon. It is widely-recognised as one of Donegal’s finest beaches and indeed, one of Ireland’s top beaches.
2. Inch Beach, Co. Kerry
Located on the Dingle peninsula, this popular surfing beach Inch stretches for three miles, separating the harbors of Dingle and Castlemaine. Inch also provides unsuspecting tourists who are approaching the peninsula from the eastern side are with some of the most fabulous views that they will ever come across.
In addition to the silent majesty of the Slieve Mish Mountains, Inch provides a breathtaking setting for Ireland travelers. This cinematic vista was also featured in the classic Hollywood film Ryan’s Daughter.
1. Murlough Beach, Co. Down
Murlough Beach comprises of a wide flat sandy beach with a 2 m wide pebble ridge above high water mark. The beach is backed by an ancient sand dune system throughout its 6 km length. A large area of the dunes is designated as a National Nature Reserve. The Nature Reserve is a fragile 6,000 year old sand dune system. It is an excellent area for walking and bird watching due to its location at the edge of Dundrum Bay and the Mourne Mountains. The spectacular scenery makes it one of Ireland’s greatest beaches.