Top 5 outdoor swimming spots in Ireland

With summer only a few months away there will be many opportunities to enjoy an aquatic pursuit in one of the many outdoor swimming spots in Ireland.  

Is there anything better than basking in the sun and taking a leisurely swim to cool down on a hot summer’s day? There are many places in Ireland where you can do both as there are a wide variety of outdoor swimming spots scattered across the country.

In this article, we will list what we think are the top five outdoor swimming spots in Ireland to enjoy.

5. Pollock Holes, Kilkee, Co. Clare – swim in crystal clear waters

Pollock holes are natural swimming spots, a great place to take a refreshing dip!

The Pollock Holes in Kilkee are made up of an extensive network of pools which are based in a breathtaking setting and whose water is completely crystal clear. The Pollock Holes are very popular with locals and as such, it isn’t too hard to find them as it is only a short walk from Kilkee Beach. If you are ever in doubt, all you need to do is follow the crowds that will be sure to be heading there. 

It’s said that the best time to visit the Pollock Holes is within two hours of the low tide, this is recommended as the best time because all that will remain will be the pools themselves.

4. Annagh Bay, Achill Island, Co. Mayo – hidden sea-swimming spot

Annagh Bay is one of the most amazing outdoor swimming spots in Ireland.
Credit: @paddysireland / Instagram

This stunning sea swimming spot in Annagh Bay is a hidden one that you will have to work for. To reach the swimming spot in Annagh Bay, you will have to undertake an hour and a half hike over the hill from Lough Acorrymore. 

The effort that it takes to reach the hidden sea swimming spot at Annagh Bay, however, is undoubtedly worth it as when you do you will be rewarded with a place that is both isolated and beautiful with stunning white sand and turquoise waters.

3. Badger’s Cove, Dunmore East, Co. Waterford – haven for sea-swimming enthusiasts

Another of the best outdoor swimming spots in Ireland is the Badger's Cove in County Waterford.
Credit: @binx_ / Instagram

There are a variety of bathing spots in Dunmore East to enjoy, and there are even individual coves for both women and men to relax in. Out of all the bays in Dunmore East, Badger’s Cove is regarded the best.

Badger’s Cove can be accessed by ascending some steep steps which will lead you into a cosy, secluded cove with the beautiful background scenery of impressive cliffs and an expansive cave.  

Badger’s Cove is a rock-diver’s dream for the more adventurous of swimmers as many rocks are ranging in different heights just waiting to be leapt from.

2. Cummeenoughter Lake, Carrauntoohil, Co. Kerry – Ireland’s highest swimming spot

A chilly lake to take a dip in but one of the greatest outdoor swimming spots in Ireland, especially with that view.
Credit: @garymccabe50 / Instagram

The Cummeenoughter Lake on Carrauntoohil is 707 metres above sea level, officially making it Ireland’s highest lake. However, as it is so high, this inadvertently means it may also be one of Ireland’s coldest lakes too, but if you are looking for a refreshing swim then you are certainly in luck! 

As the lake is so high to reach you will be required to climb up to it through the routes called ‘Step of the Goat’ and up ‘Brother O’Shea’s Gully’. Cold or not, the swim is still definitely worth doing as you will be able to soak in the dramatic surroundings of the beautiful mountains which dot the landscape. 

1. The Forty Foot, Sandycove, Co. Dublin – Dublin’s famous swimming spot

The Forty Foot is one of the most famous outdoor swimming spots in Ireland, people swim in it all the time.

The Forty Foot in Sandycove is one of the most famous swimming spots in all of Ireland. The Forty Foot attracts enormous crowds all year round no matter the weather or the time as people are known to dive from these rocks from as early as 4.30 am and as late as 11 pm on summer nights. Unlike some of the other spots on our list, this particular swimming spot can be reached with ease by walking, car, bus, Dart, or on a bike. 

So, there you have our definitive list of the top 5 outdoor swimming spots in Ireland. So what are you waiting for? Dive on in!

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Conor Wickham is a writer from County Wexford with a keen interest in discovering everything Ireland has to offer. From sleeping in tree houses in the Ox Mountains to staying in shepherd huts in Donegal, Conor has experienced it. With a degree in Marketing & Advertising with Online Media, Conor has used his love of writing to guide his career path and has worked as a Website Content Writer/SEO Specialist in the past. When not exploring Ireland and finding out its secrets, Conor can usually be found hiking or working on his long awaited (long awaited by him at least!) supernatural thriller novel series.