1. Maghera, Donegal
Drive along the long estuary, past the Assarancagh waterfall dropping from the hill, and park up by the gate. Tramp over a couple of grassy dunes, and down to the beach. It’s got rocks, it’s got caves, it’s got a whole goddamn lagoon for swimming in. It’s *glorious*.
2. Dog’s Bay, Connemara
Connemara is dotted with beautiful little beaches, but not many of them are as gloriously white and wonderful as Dog’s Bay. It’s also just a short walk from Roundstone.
3. Coumeenole, Dingle Peninsula
Right at the end of the peninsula, pushing up against Slea Head, is little Coumeenole beach. Tourists come here because it’s where parts of Ryan’s Daughter were filmed. Smart people come here because it’s one of the most stunningly beautiful spots in the country.
4. Inchydoney, Clonakilty
Repeatedly named the best beach in the country by TripAdvisor, and who’s to argue with them? Stunning.
5. Derrynane, Kerry
6. Annestown, Waterford
Tucked away between Dungarvan and Tramore, this is a secluded spot with a very shallow slope = the best paddling of your LIFE.
7. Keem Bay, Achill
Pretty much literally the end of the road. All the way along from the bright lights of Dooagh lies Keem, a perfect horseshoe bay facing east and sheltered from the worst of the Atlantic weather. Idyllic.
8. Myrtleville, Cork
There are several beautiful beaches within shouting distance of Myrtleville. There’s also this great pub. Get in.
9. Curracloe strand, Wexford
Curracloe only got a modern electricity grid when Steven Spielberg decided to film Saving Private Ryan on the beach here. But it’s a favourite of thousands of holidaymakers every summer, and it’s not hard to see why.
10. Inch, Kerry
You’ve seen this beach in every single Discover Ireland ad since about 1987. There is a good reason for that.
11. Enniscrone, Sligo
The kind of long, stretching strand that Ireland does better than practically anywhere else in the world. A long walk along the beach with a pint at the end of it? BRB.
12. Banna Strand, Kerry
Kerry seems to have more than its fair share of Ireland’s beautiful beaches. Here is yet another: Banna beach in Tralee bay, just the other side of the tall dunes, looking out toward the Dingle peninsula. Fine.
*Dog not included.
13. Garnish beach, Beara peninsula
Perched out on the edge of Ireland at the end of the Beara peninsula, one of the country’s most westerly spots, it’s a long way to Garnish beach from almost anywhere. But that’s part of what makes it so special.
14. Donabate, north Dublin
There are beaches all along the Dublin coastline, but this is one of the best. A little out of the city and stretching north from Malahide village, on a sunny day Donabate is something.
15. Kilmurvey, Inis Mór
Halfway along the length of Inis Mor is Kilmurvey beach, a natural inlet carved out of the island and looking north toward Connemara. It’s a beach as beaches were meant to be.
16. Rossnowlagh, Donegal
Rossnowlagh means ‘heavenly headland’. Does it live up to its name? Well, it’s three kilometres of sand looking west to the Atlantic, with some of the best surf in Europe funnelled in by Donegal Bay. Did we mention you can also drink a pint while you look at it?