1. Dog’s Bay – Galway
Dog’s Bay is a beautiful beach located in County Galway. Its crescent shaped sand opens out onto a fantastic sheltered bay. It’s popular with swimmers, sunbathers and water-sporters alike. Backed by wonderful sand dunes, there’s always shelter from the wind that often whips around Ireland’s coastline.
2. Keem Bay – Mayo
This blue-flag beach (meaning you can swim there) is known not just for its turquoise, almost tropical coloured water, but also for the incredibly scenic drive to it. Surrounded on three sides by spectacular cliffs, and opening out onto the Atlantic ocean, this small beach is definitely worth a visit if you need a day of rest and relaxation.
3. Fanore – Clare
Surrounded by the famous limestone backdrop of the Burren, Fanore beach is dotted with sand dunes for exploration and a fantastic array of water sports to partake in.
Within driving distance of so many other interesting and worthwhile sights of the Burren, Fanore can be a lovely spot to stop for a picnic and a quick dip in the wild Atlantic ocean.
4. Sandycove – Dublin
Sandycove is a popular beach with families, sunbathers and picnic-ers on a sunny day as they seek refuge on this calming beach. The sloping sands lead down to the refreshing waters where hardened swimmers mix with leisurely paddlers.
5. Ballycastle – Antrim
Along the Antrim Glens and Coastline lies the village of Ballycastle. Here, a traditional beach – perfect for the bucket and spaders – provides a great day out for the family to enjoy the sea air.
6. Barleycove – Cork
Golden sands and vibrant blue waters – Barleycove in Cork is a beach that is rivalled by no other on a sunny day. Perfect for kicking back on a deckchair and watching the waves lap in, this beach offers everything that makes it the perfect family day out. A bridge from the carpark to the beach, walking above the sand dunes, is a highlight of this beach and a feature which sets it apart from the rest.
7. Portstewart – Derry
Popular with surfers, beach-goers and nature enthusiasts alike, the 3km stretch of beach provides plenty of space to people throw down their towels and tuck in to their picnics. The nearby Carrick-a-rede rope bridge is also a popular attraction, often a draw before or after a visit to the beach.
8. East End Beach – Inishbofin
East End Beach on Inishbofin, an island off the coast of Galway, provides excellent views back towards the mainland. A calm and sheltered bay provides the perfect opportunity to take a dip in the Atlantic while watching the fisherman stand peacefully as their fishing lines bob up and down.
9. Lahinch – Clare
Lahinch beach is world-famous with surfers, with waves reaching up to 7m high. The Atlantic-facing beach provides the perfect environment for seasoned surfers and brand new beginners alike. Not just popular with surfers, Lahinch offers a plethora of activities for the whole family, as well as relaxing sands to lounge around on and bring out the picnic hamper.
10. Inch Beach – Kerry
Contradictory to its name, Inch Beach on the Dingle peninsula is a long stretch of sand which is a great spot for surfing of all kind: kite, wind and regular. Perfect for a jog, for building sandcastles or just simply chilling out and enjoy the view into the wild Atlantic ocean, Inch beach is the perfect stop off on your way to enjoy Dingle town.
11. Brittas Bay – Wicklow
This blue flag beach is a popular destination, although you’ll always find space somewhere along its 5km sands. It’s a haven in the summer and gives families the perfect day out at the beach.