11 Beaches in Ireland You Simply Can’t Miss

Ireland has some of the best beaches in the world. This article highlights our countdown of 11 beaches in Ireland you need to see before you die.

11. Portsalon Beach, Co. Donegal

portsalon edit

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.

10. Five Fingers Strand, Donegal

Located close to the townland of Lagg, on the Inishowen peninsula, Five Fingers Strand is considered by some as the starting point of the Wild Atlantic Way. Five Fingers Strand is home to some of the highest sand dunes in Europe as well as some stunning views towards the Atlantic to Glashedy Island.

9. Dooey Beach, Donegal

Dooey Beach is nestled in a tiny village close to the Donegal town of Glencolmcille and with crystal clear water and stunning surroundings, the beach could be described as a paradise by many, especially when the weather is kind. And when the sun is shining, Dooey Beach really is something special.

8. Strandhill, Sligo

They say a good place to live is a good place to visit and this couldn’t be any truer when speaking about the community of Strandhill. The seaside village really has it all. Although the water isn’t safe for swimming, due to the strong current, this little place so much more to offer visitors, including surfing, sand dunes and its close proximity to Knocknarea, The Glen, Culleenamore and Killaspugbrone church.

From north to south, Ireland has an abundance of beautiful beaches. For this reason, it is very difficult to narrow all the beautiful beaches down to a small list of just 10. However, we have done our very best to highlight our Top 10 Beaches in Ireland you should visit before you die.

7. Coumeenole Beach, Dunquin, Co. Kerry

Coumeenole Beach, Dingle Peninsula, Co Kerry

Seeing photos of this beautiful place might prompt you to ask whether this magical beach actually exists, however, we can assure you that the beauty is very much real. This place is so beautiful that Lonely Planet once described it as “one of the most beautiful places on earth”, and after visiting, you will have to agree.

Unfortunately, swimming is not recommended here due to strong and unpredictable currents, however, the surrounding cliffs make the perfect place to walk and take photographs of the scenery.

6. Inchydoney Beach, Co. Cork

inchydoney-beach

With its peaceful and spacious sands, this breathtaking beach, located just outside Clonakilty in western Cork has reigned supreme on Ireland’s beach lists among TripAdvisor users for three consecutive years, receiving several coveted Travelers’ Choice Awards.

Revelers are able to relax next to the crystal clear waters and enjoy optimal conditions for surfing. The Virgin Mary’s Bank headland has also been connected to the mainland with a helpful causeway to make life easier for travellers.

5. Keem Beach, Co. Mayo

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Those who visit the village of Dooagh are often captivated by Achill Island’s Keem Bay. Safely nestled in the horseshoe-shaped valley, travellers 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 snorkelling enthusiasts.

4. Dog’s Bay and Gurteen Bay, Co. Galway

Credit: Connemara.net
Credit: Connemara.net

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. Inch Beach, Co. Kerry

Inch beach, Co. Kerry

Located on the Dingle peninsula, this popular surfing beach Inch stretches for three miles, separating the harbours 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 travellers. This cinematic vista was also featured in the classic Hollywood film Ryan’s Daughter.

2. Murlough Beach, Co. Down

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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.

1. Murder Hole Beach, Donegal

Although it is not the most accessible, this private beach on the Rosguill Peninsula is well worth the journey. After a short descent, you will be greeted by beautiful caves and surrounding cliffs. Don’t be discouraged by the sounding of the name though, there is nothing gruesome about this location, which is why it gets the number one spot on this list.