The 10 best seaside & coastal towns in Ireland

Ireland is home to some beautiful seaside and coastal towns. Here are ten of the best to enjoy on a sunny day.

There’s nothing better on a sunny day in Ireland than heading to the seaside. Imagine walking down the promenade, ice cream in hand, taking in the beautiful scenery of the Irish coast… ah, bliss! If you’re looking somewhere to head when the sun comes out, here are the ten best seaside and coastal towns in Ireland.

10. Skerries, Co. Dublin – escape the commotion of the city

Skerries is definitely one of the best coastal towns in Ireland.

Just north of Dublin City, you’ll find the beautiful little coastal town of Skerries. Located in Fingal, Skerries was historically a fishing port and today boasts a beautiful harbour with pastel-coloured shop fronts facing the sea.

If you’re visiting Ireland’s capital city, take the short train journey along the scenic north Dublin estuary to escape the commotion of the bustling city in one of the best of Ireland’s coastal towns.

Skerries has plenty to offer visitors to the town, from scenic walks and hikes to sea tours by kayak, kitesurfing, and stand up paddleboarding, as well as plenty of great places to eat and drink.

9. Tramore, Co. Waterford – stroll the picturesque promenade

No Ireland coastal towns list wouldn't be complete without mentioning Tramore.

This seaside village in County Waterford has become one of Ireland’s most popular tourist destinations, and Tramore is without a doubt well worth a visit.

Visitors can enjoy a walk along the picturesque promenade at the heart of the town where you can take in the breathtaking view of the five-kilometres stretch of beaches and sand dunes with the Atlantic stretching out into the distance.

The town is also home to a wide range of leisure activities for the whole family to enjoy, from surfing and horse riding to greyhound racing and theatre. It’s also worth checking out the fantastic Waterford Crystal and Reginald’s Tower.

8. Rosslare, Co. Wexford – one of the best coastal towns in Ireland

Rosslare has to be mentioned as one of the best Ireland coastal towns, set in the sunny south-east.
Credit: 100trains.com

Rosslare has been nicknamed ‘the sunny south-east’, due to its reputation as being the sunniest place in the country. Records have shown that Rosslare has, on average, 300 more hours of sunshine each year than anywhere else in the country!

If that wasn’t already attractive enough, the town is home to a Blue Flag beach where you can relax and enjoy the sunshine. At the same time, the award-winning Rosslare golf club provides scenic views overlooking Wexford Harbour.

7. Youghal, Co. Cork – one of the best of all Ireland coastal towns

Youghal is another of the best of Ireland coastal towns.
youghal.ie

Youghal is the most easterly town in County Cork and is known as a ‘gem’ in Ireland’s Ancient East and. It is truly one of the best coastal towns in Ireland. Located on East Cork’s stunning coastline, this seaport town has something for everyone.

Visitors can enjoy the sandy Blue Flag beaches, historical attractions, including the Clock Gate Tower, and several high-quality restaurants and pubs.

Youghal has a rich history, and the town has been home to many famous residents, including Sir Walter Raleigh. If you’d like to find out more about the history of the town, make sure to take a guided walking tour.

6. Lahinch, Co. Clare – a paradise for surfers

Now best Ireland coastal towns list would be complete without mentioning Lahinch.

Lahinch is a small seaside town on the northwest coast of County Clare. The town is a paradise for surfers as the shape of the resort creates Atlantic breakers. Lahinch beach is suitable for surfers of all abilities.

Even if you aren’t a big fan of surfing, there’s plenty to do in Lahinch. Whether you enjoy watersports like sailing, swimming, and kite surfing, or maybe you’d rather explore the wildlife through fishing or bird watching, you’ll never be bored in Lahinch!

5. Enniscrone, Co. Sligo – another of the best seaside towns in Ireland

One of the top of all Ireland coastal towns is Enniscrone in Co. Sligo.

Enniscrone is a small seaside town in County Sligo. Complete with sandy beaches, campsites, and a golf course, Enniscrone is one of Ireland’s most popular family seaside resorts.

There is plenty to do in Enniscrone, from relaxing in the renowned Enniscrone Seaweed Baths to trying out horseback riding, surfing, or golf.

The ‘Valley of Diamonds’ is a must-see hidden gem along Enniscrone beach. Located near the end of the beach, the valley is a large volcano-like composition nestled amongst the sand dunes.

4. Bangor, Co. Down – one of the best of all of Ireland’s coastal towns

Bangor is another of our top picks for the best seaside towns in Ireland.

Bangor is a large seaside town in County Down, Northern Ireland, which welcomes thousands of visitors every year.

Located on the southern side of Belfast Lough, Bangor is an excellent place for families to visit on a sunny day. Bangor Marina is the largest marina in Northern Ireland. It is also the hub of the town, attracting many boaters all year round.

There is plenty to do in Bangor from the family-friendly Pickie Park, home to a kids play area, pedalo swans, and a mini train track, as well tourist attractions such as the Ulster Heritage Centre and lots of shops and restaurants.

For the perfect end to your day, you can head down to the marina to enjoy the beautiful sunset over the water.

3. Ballybunion, Co. Kerry – full of exquisite beaches

Ballybunion is another of the best seaside towns in Ireland, it can be found in Kerry.

Another of the best coastal towns in Ireland is Ballybunion. It is a coastal town and seaside resort in Co. Kerry on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. 15 km from the town of Listowel, Ballybunion is a gem in the Kingdom of Kerry not to be missed.

The town’s main attractions are, without a doubt, the exquisite beaches it offers, including Men’s Beach and the Ladies Beach whose names date back to the days when men would bathe on one beach and ladies on the other.

Nowadays, both beaches are open to people of all genders and ages, and they attract thousands of visitors to their sandy shores every year.

2. Donegal Town, Co. Donegal – a lively, atmospheric town

Another of the best seaside towns in Ireland is Donegal Town in Donegal.
C: Donegal Gathering

Donegal Town is located in, you guessed it, County Donegal in the north of Ireland. This stunning seaside town lies at the mouth of the River Eske at the foot of the Blue Stack Mountains which are a popular attraction for hill walkers and hikers.

The charming town centre, known as The Diamond, is the hub of Donegal Town as it boasts a lively atmosphere rich in music and culture. Initially built in the 15th century, visitors take in the town’s history by checking out its many attractions, including the Four Masters Memorial obelisk, the ruins of the Franciscan friary, and the Donegal Railway Heritage Centre.

1. Westport, Co. Mayo – our top pick for best seaside towns in Ireland

Westport is one of the best seaside towns in Ireland. Give it a visit!

This picturesque little town, on the edge of an Atlantic inlet next to Clew Bay in County Mayo, is a must-see if you’re visiting Ireland. Westport is in the top percent of Ireland coastal towns and has won numerous awards for its scenery and quality of life. It is famous for its colourful Georgian town centre.

Made up of the stunning Achill Island and historic Westport House, there is plenty to see on a trip to Westport. While you’re here, it’s also worth checking out Croagh Patrick mountain, one of Ireland’s most famous attractions.

Westport is also home to the award-winning Great Western Greenway, one of Ireland’s most-talked-about walking and cycling trails, so it’s a great place to take in some stunning Irish scenery.

There you have it, our top picks for the best seaside towns in Ireland. How many have you visited?

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Siân McQuillan is a student at Queen's University Belfast currently studying a masters degree in media and broadcast Production. When she is not studying or off exploring somewhere new, you will find her expressing her love of writing and visual storytelling by creating content for her online blog and YouTube channel. More than anything else, she loves sharing her travel experiences both abroad and closer to home in Ireland with the hope of inspiring others to visit somewhere new.