With the warmer weather finally upon us, it's almost time to pack your swimsuit, sunscreen, bucket and spade, and get ready to explore some of the most beautiful beaches located right across the country! Whether it’s refreshing sea swims, adrenaline-pumping water sports, or just laying back and soaking up the sun, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to cracking coastal destinations.
From the sheltered cove of Keem Bay on Achill Island to Portmarnock’s sandy shores, read on to check out our top five picks for the best Irish beaches for a sunny day…
Inchydoney Beach, Co. Cork
Located a stone’s throw from the charming village of Clonakilty in West Cork, Inchydoney Beach is adored for its golden sands and Blue Flag waters. The beach is divided into two parts – East and West – with both offering stunning views and an atmosphere the whole family is bound to enjoy.
A popular area for surfing and other water sports, there are a number of surf schools nearby if you fancy testing your skills on the waves. Parking is located on the western side of the beach, but spaces can fill up quickly during peak season – so it’s recommended to drive down early so you can secure your spot!
Banna Strand, Co. Kerry
Banna Strand stretches for a staggering 10km along the Wild Atlantic Way in Co. Kerry. Known for its striking sand dunes, it has long been a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. It’s also accessible for wheelchair users, with free beach wheelchairs available for use between June and September.
The beach is lifeguarded during the summer months, with plenty of facilities including toilets and food trucks on site to keep the family energised. With plenty of nearby accommodation options too, a trip to this scenic area of Kerry is a great staycation option.
Keem Bay, Achill Island, Co. Mayo
For those who prefer a more secluded beach experience, Keem Bay on Achill Island is the perfect spot. This small, horseshoe-shaped beach is nestled between the cliffs, offering shelter from the wind while you enjoy incredible views out towards the Atlantic.
The crystal-clear waters have made it a popular spot for swimming, snorkelling and even spotting dolphins, if you’re lucky! The drive to Keem Bay is an adventure in itself, taking you across the winding roads of Achill Island with its rugged terrain and steep cliffs.
Portmarnock Beach, Co. Dublin
Handily situated within striking distance of Dublin city centre, Portmarnock Beach is a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike. Known as ‘The Velvet Strand’, it boasts 5km of smooth golden sands, and panoramic views out towards the Howth Peninsula and Ireland's Eye.
With lots to see and do in the nearby area, why not try your hand at golf at Portmarnock Golf Club, one of the most well-known clubs in the country? Or, head to nearby Malahide to visit its 800 year old castle and gardens for a fun-filled family day out.
Silver Strand, Co. Donegal
Located in Co. Donegal, Silver Strand is a remote, crescent-shaped beach with fine white sand and crystal clear waters. The surrounding cliffs provide a dramatic backdrop and a sense of seclusion – ideal for a quiet and relaxing summer’s day.
There are a handful of nearby car parking spaces situated on the cliff top. And, if you’re looking for something to eat, the Silver Strand Café offers light bites and drinks, while a little further afield you can find the fishing port of Killybegs with even more amenities.
Before heading off to the beach, make sure you’ve packed everything you’ll need to keep your passengers happy with our guide on the must-have road trip essentials.