Imagine strolls along the promenade, a scattering of welcoming shops and cafes, and the tang of salty seawater in the air – an Irish seaside town is a haven in a world of hustle and bustle.
With Summer in full swing, it would be rude not to make the most of the warmer months and enjoy a beach day, so we’ve rounded up the top 10 most beautiful seaside towns in Ireland. Don’t forget the bucket and spade!
10. Skerries, Co. Dublin
Located in Fingal, Skerries is a major fishing spot in County Dublin and boasts a beautiful harbour with pastel coloured shop fronts and houses facing the waterfront.
Skerries has won several awards for its scenery, in particular the stunning views of neighbouring islands which can be seen from the sandy beaches, and the long-standing lighthouse on Rockabill Island.
The draw of Skerries goes beyond its aesthetics – each year it hosts the annual Skerries 100 Motorcycle races, bringing together motorcycle fanatics from all over the country and further beyond.
9. Tramore, Co. Waterford
Once a sleepy fishing village, Tramore has flourished as one of the most popular seaside towns in the country.
The picturesque promenade is the heart of the town, offering visitors a 5km stretch of beaches and sand dunes, accompanied by breathtaking views of the Atlantic and an amusement park during the Summer months.
One of the most attractive features of the town is surely the breathtaking Gothic church which overlooks the town – make sure to bring your camera to capture its beautifully haunting architecture.
8. Rosslare, Co. Wexford
Known locally as “the sunny south-east”, Rosslare is officially the sunniest spot in the country – records show the seaside town gets an average of 300 hours more sunshine than any other spot in the country each year!
The sun is not the only attractive aspect of Rosslare – the beach has been awarded with a blue flag so is perfect for those brave enough to go for a swim. Rosslare golf club is also a major feature of the town, with golfers having the opportunity to play in an award-winning club overlooking Wexford Harbour.
7. Youghal, Co. Cork
Youghal is a seaport town located on East Cork’s stunning coastline. Youghal is rich in amenities and truly has something for everyone – it has sandy blue flag beaches, historical attractions such as the Clock Gate Tower, and high-quality restaurants and pubs.
Youghal is a great spot for a night out, with locals having a famous saying – if you can’t pull in Youghal, you can’t pull at all. So why not hit The Quay’s nightclub and see if there’s any truth in the claim?
6. Lahinch, Co. Clare
Boasting an ideal location right on Liscannor Bay, Lahinch is paradise for surfers. Lahinch beach is suitable for surfers of all abilities, with beginners being encouraged towards the gentler waves at the North side of the beach.
Lahinch is more than a simple surf town – it is a welcoming and lively location with pubs, restaurants and a fully-fledged entertainment centre on the promenade which has a swimming pool and playground, making it an idyllic spot for families.
5. Enniscrone, Co. Sligo
Complete with sandy beaches, camping facilities, and seaside walking opportunities, the small Sligo town is certainly one of the most beautiful in the country.
“The Valley of Diamonds” is a hidden gem that can be found on the beach and is a truly gorgeous sight to behold.
Located near the end of the beach, the valley is a large volcano-like composition nestled amongst the sand dunes. Ensure you bring your phone to explore the elusive valley – a quick snap of the sandy monument is definitely Instagram worthy!
4. Bangor, Co. Down
The large seaside town in the province of Ulster is a warm, friendly town which welcomes visitors from all over the country and further afield.
The Bangor Marina is the beating heart of the town and is in fact the largest Marina in Northern Ireland, attracting many boaters all year round.
There are many amenities a stone’s throw away from the postcard-picture marina, with the town having an array of shops, restaurants, sports facilities and tourist attractions such as the Ulster Heritage centre.
The Marina itself is a thing of beauty, and watching the sunset over the harbour is a peaceful and unforgettable experience.
3. Ballybunion, Co. Kerry
Kerry is unarguably one of the most beautiful locations in the country, and the seaside town of Ballybunion more than holds its own in The Kingdom.
The beaches of Ballybunion are exquisite, with the two main beaches being the Men’s Beach and the Ladies Beach. These names stem back to the days when men would bathe on one beach and ladies on the other.
However, nowadays both beaches are open to people of all genders and ages who wish to soak up the sun and the sights. Ballybunion is also home to an impressive and popular golf course and is great craic on a night out, with pubs bustling with friendly locals and visitors on a warm Summer night.
2. Donegal Town, Co. Donegal
Sharing a name with its county, no countdown of seaside towns is complete without mentioning Donegal. The town is located on Donegal Bay and lies in the shadows of the Blue Stack Mountains, which is a prime location for hikers and hill walkers.
Donegal is rich in historical sites, from ancient ringforts to Saint Patrick’s Church of the Four Masters.
The town centre is fondly known as “The Diamond” and is a lively spot rich in music and culture, with many venues being advocates for traditional Irish music displays. Donegal Bay is also one of the major surf spots of Ireland, where surfers can catch waves in the beautiful surroundings of the town.
1. Westport, Co. Mayo
Located on Clew Bay, Westport is a dazzling and charming seaside town. The town has won several awards for its scenery and quality of life, and it is simple to understand why.
It is made up of the stunning Achill Island and the historical Westport House which has become a huge attraction for tourists wanting to immerse themselves in the manor’s fascinating history.
Of course, we must mention Croagh Patrick, which is one of Ireland’s most famous sites. The mountain is a place of pilgrimage and attracts thousands of visitors each year whom wish to take on the challenge of the mountain.
Croagh Patrick provides a uniquely beautiful backdrop to the town and gives Westport the edge over the other competitors on the list. If you have just one beach day this year, make sure it is in Westport – trust us, you won’t regret it.