Best Beaches in Ireland

Updated On: November 07, 2023

Tyrella Beach, County Down Best Beaches in Ireland

As we start to approach spring and the summer seasons in Ireland, we thought we would share some of the best beaches in Ireland. No doubt that the beauty in Ireland is everywhere, the place is covered in unspoilt coastlines and natural wonders.

Ireland is home to some of the most stunningly magnificent beaches in the world. From stretches of gorgeous coastlines and secluded coves, there’s no need to head abroad for a beach destination. On a sunny day in Ireland, there’s nowhere better to head than the beach. Whether your searching for family friend beaches, surfer beaches or beaches for nature lover Ireland has it all and more.

Check out our list of the best beaches in Ireland that you must visit this year…

Inchydoney Beach - Best Beaches in Ireland
Inchydoney Beach – Best Beaches in Ireland

Inchydoney Beach in Clonakilty, Co Cork

First, on our guide to the best beaches in Ireland is the Blue Flag awarded Inchdoney Beach in Cork. After all, it has been voted by TripAdvisor users as the best beach in Ireland 2019. We can understand why this was rated as the top beach in Ireland with its captivating rolling green fields that connect to the island of Inchydoney.

The beach offers miles and miles of gorgeous sand complete with unspoilt beauty around you. It’s also known as a haven for water lovers providing the perfect environment for surfing.

“A gem of a beach, golden sands on the Wild Atlantic Way, a surfers paradise”  – (TripAdvisor)

There is also the nearby Inchydoney Surf School that is the longest running surf school in Cork. So, if you fancy yourself wanting to learn to surf then nowhere does it better, even great surfers will enjoy the experience they provide.

Inchydoney surf school
Inchydoney surf school

Check out the Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa if your looking to stay in the area, it has twice been awarded as ‘Ireland’s Leading Spa Resort’. The spa will provide the best relaxing environment for your time in the west coast of Cork.

Clonakilty is an award-winning seaside town in cork, along with its beautiful beaches it has a lot to offer those visiting. From water sports and adventure to golf and a place that’s filled with a proud heritage.

Tullan Strand, Bundoran, Donegal

Next up on our guide to the best beaches in Ireland is found in the family-friendly seaside resort of Bundoran. Bundoran is home to two great beaches and we are a bit surprised that neither of them made it on the TripAdvisor’s Top Beaches in Ireland list. But we think these beaches are well- worth mentioning.

Firstly, we have the speculator beach known as Tullan Stand that offers the most awe-inspiring views over Donegal Bay. It’s one of Ireland’s best renown beaches for its surfing conditions. Even considered one of the best surfing beaches in Europe. Any keen surfers out their will want to experience the brilliant Atlantic ocean waves here.

People come from all around the world to surf at this great Donegal beach. The beach is linked to a network of sand dunes and is captivated with a lovely backdrop of the Sligo – Leitrim Mountains.

Tullan Strand stretches over 2km long, offering a relaxing environment to walk along and take in the scenery. It is also within walking distance to the Bundoran Town where you will find a variety of activities, attractions and great places to eat and drink.

Tullan Strand Beach, Bundoran
Tullan Strand Beach, Bundoran (Photo Source: Flickr)

Bundoran’s Fairy Bridges

You could also visit the nearby Wishing Chair and Fairy Bridges, on the Roguey Walk Experience. The Fairy bridges were formed from sea stacks hundreds of years ago and is one of Bundoran’s original tourist attractions.

You must also take a seat in the Wishing Chair that is believed that many famous visitors to the town sat here. Such as poet William Allingham and golfer Christy O’Connor.

Bundoran’s Main Beach

The second beach is Bundoran simple known as the Main Beach one that offers many memories to those regular visitors to the town. It’s also one of Donegal’s 13 Blue Flag awarded beaches. Its located in the centre of the town and is great for family’s staying in the area.

From June to September the beach is lifeguarded and even has a music festival that takes place during the summer. The ever-growing and popular Sea Sessions festival sees artists from all around the world perform in the seaside town.  Making it one of the best places to visit in June, the atmosphere is amazing, and the beaches are stunning.

Portstewart Strand, County Derry

Head to the north of Ireland where you’ll find another one of the best beaches in Ireland. Portstewart beach is recognised for its cleanliness, quality of water and one of the few beaches in Ireland where you can still drive your car onto the beach. This makes it a great beach for families, bring all you need in your car and enjoy the golden shores on offer.

In 2014 Portstewart Stand was awarded with the Seaside Award recognising it as a great family friendly beach. Portstewart Strand was also used as one of the filming locations in Northern Ireland for Game of Thrones.

The beach has often been a popular spot with tourist and locals as it offers a variety of activities. You can enjoy surfing, swimming, scenic walks and even horse riding along the strand. The beach also has incredible views of the north coast along the nature trails.

Portstewart Strand is also home to some of the tallest sand dunes in Ireland and is considered an Area of Special Scientific Interest. It is also a haven for wildflowers and butterflies perfect spot for nature lovers.

It was once ranked 99th on CNN’s World’s 100 Best Beaches. But we definitely think is one of the top 10 best beaches in Ireland that you must visit on your next trip.

Dogs Bay and Gurteen Bay, Connemara

Not only do we think this next beach is one of the best beaches in Ireland but it’s one of the most spectacular beaches in the world. On a summers day, you could possibly mistake this beach for somewhere in the Caribbean.

The unique horseshoe shape of Dogs Bay is what makes it special along with its beautiful white sandy beach. Dogs Bay back onto the Gurteen Bay and together they create a mound that looks out the Atlantic Ocean.

Dogs Bay, Connemara
Dogs Bay, Connemara (Photo Source: Flickr)

Both beaches are made entirely of fragments of seashells that help to give its stunning white colour. It is one of the finest beaches in all of Galway and Ireland. One of those need to experience in real life – to soak up all that’s wonderful about it.

It’s also worthwhile to spend a few days in Connemara where the beaches are found. The place has often been considered the destination for those wanting to experience authentic Ireland. One of the great Irish poets Oscar Wilde one said the place was of ‘Savage Beauty’ and we totally agree.

Murder Hole Beach, Donegal

Don’t let the name of this beach put you off, this is one of the best beaches in Ireland for photographs. Murder Hole has often been considered one of Ireland’s mysterious beaches possibly due to the adventure it takes to reach it.

There is no straight road or signs that lead you to this beach, but many locals are always happy to help you get there. The effort that it takes to get here makes it that extra bit special. Once you arrive at Murder Hole you’ll know why it’s so special as you’re surrounded by small caves and splendid cliffs tops.

 “I’ve been seeing hundreds of beaches around Ireland but this one is the most beautiful and spectacular places.” – (TripAdvisor)

It is a beautiful untouched beach that is one of our personal favourite best beaches in Ireland. It’s a little piece of heaven found in Ireland that you must experience. Check out the incredible drone footage below that really captures all the beauty of Murder Hole!


Keem Beach, Mayo

Next up on our guide to the best beaches in Ireland is located in the lovely County Mayo along the Wild Atlantic West. Keem beach is an impressive rural and sheltered beach that’s located between the cliffs of Benmore and Croaghaun Mountain on Achill Island.

Keem beach has become a very popular place for water sports, such as scuba diving and snorkelling. Its bay is one of the most picturesque bays in the country perfect for amazing photo opportunities.

Achill island where the beach is found also offers a stunningly beautiful cliff top walk that will leave you inspired. It’s also one of the largest islands found in the west of Ireland and not far from popular attractions such as the Cliffs of Moher.

“A place of tranquillity to savour and enjoy” – (TripAdvisor)

There’s no doubt that the Irish coastlines are some of the most impressive in the world and this place is home to some of them. Achill Island is a spectacular spot in Ireland worth exploring.

Tyrella Beach, County Down

Back to the north of Ireland, where you’ll find one of the best beaches in Ireland for families and children. The beach has won many awards from the prestigious Blue Flag, to the Seaside Award and the Green Coast Award.

It offers miles and miles of gorgeous sandy beach and sparkling blue waters that is backed on by mature dunes.

Tyrella Beach, County Down - Best Beaches in Ireland
Tyrella Beach, County Down

“A fine expanse of sandy beach, with safe bathing and a superb backdrop.”  – (TripAdvisor)

We can see why it’s such a favourite with holidaymakers in County Down. Children can play freely on the beach and happily splash around in one of Ireland safest and cleanest beaches. While adults can sit back and take in the natural views on offer of the impressive Mourne Mountains.

That’s the end of our guide to the best beaches in Ireland, north and south. I hope these Irish beaches will help to inspire a holiday to the beautiful emerald island. If you’re searching for more reasons to visit Ireland check out the most famous landmarks in Ireland and fun things to do in Northern Ireland.

If one of your favourite Irish beaches isn’t on our list be sure to let us know, we all love to discover new places!

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