Top 10 Best Beaches in Ireland according to the Lonely Planet 2021

Stretching for 6200km, beachgoers in Ireland are spoiled for choice along our coastline. From quiet coves to great stretches of golden sands - who could choose which section of coastline is better than the next? The Lonely Planet has managed to compile a list, naming the 10 Best Beaches in Ireland! 

In the eyes of an individual, a walker, swimmer or surfer, each destination along our wild coast is a paradise in it's own right but here are the 10 Irish Beaches selected as the 'Best' by the World Famous Travel Guide:

    1. Dog’s Bay & Gurteen Bay, County Galway
    2. Trá Mór, Dunfanaghy, County Donegal
    3. Keem Bay, Achill, County Mayo
    4. Streedagh Strand, County Sligo
    5. Inch Strand, County Kerry
    6. Banna Strand, County Kerry
    7. Trawmore Bay, Achill Island, County Mayo
    8. Ballyquin Beach, Ardmore, County Waterford
    9. Ballymastocker Bay, County Donegal 
    10. Killiney Beach, County Dublin

The only people who could visit any of these seaside paradises in 2021, are those lucky enough to live within 5km of but as restrictions lift, taking a day trip to the best beach in your county is top of so many people's list. 

If you are going to venture out and discover some of the most beautiful beaches across Ireland, then this list is for you - but please check out and adhere to the latest guidance before planning a trip. 

1. Dog’s Bay/Gurteen Bay, County Galway

Connemara is home to so many breathtaking beaches but the twins of the Errisbeg Peninsula, 3km west of Roundstone, are out of this world. Gurteen Bay and Dog’s Bay are separated by a dog-bone-shaped sand spit and unlike other beaches, the sands are dazzling white as they are not formed from rocks but from crushed seashells. When the sun shines, this is the Caribbean of the Wild Atlantic Way!

2. Trá Mór, Dunfanaghy, County Donegal 

 

Simply meaning ‘big beach' in Irish, this secluded gem in the shadow of the Horn Head peninsula is arguably one of the prettiest of big beaches in Ireland. This two-kilometer curve is so isolated and beautiful that you will want to keep it a secret and on most days, you can. 

3. Keem Bay, Achill, County Mayo 

 

Keem Bay is a secluded crescent of golden sand at the end of a cliff-top road on Achill Island. This sheltered rural beach is surrounded by the cliffs of largest island and it is one of the most popular signature discovery point along the Wild Atlantic Way To reach this idyllic spot you must first drive along the spectacular cliff top road. The views you experience just to get there, together with the beaches blue flag status makes it one of most beautiful spots in Europe!

4. Streedagh Strand, County Sligo  

Sligo has a rich selection of fine beaches but the curving, dune-backed Streedagh Strand under the shadow of Benbulben is the preferred choice for those who fancy a swim. The 'shelly' county is better-known for it's surfing beaches; Strandhill and Mullaghmore, but the swimmer’s choice for a sheltered, semi-protected bay is in Steedagh. Occasionally visible, offshore at low tide, are three ships wrecks that ran aground during the Spanish Armada of 1588.

5. Inch Strand, County Kerry 

Extending into Dingle Bay, this 5km-long sand spit is Ireland’s most famous beach since it starred in at least three blockbuster movies. Featured in Ryan’s Daughter (1970), Excalibur (1981) and Far And Away (1992), audiences captured a glimpse of this star beach's expansive beauty. But you need to feel your feet in the sand to really appreciate it and as an added bonus there’s good surf here

6. Banna Strand, County Kerry

One of Ireland’s biggest beaches and thanks to the warming waters of the Gulf Stream a swim is glorious. There are also some stunning views from the 10 metre high dunes where you can take in the glory of Mount Brandon and the Dingle hills.

7. Trawmore Bay, Achill Island, County Mayo

Keel Beach is a 4km-long crescent of golden sand between the villages of Keel and Dookinelly, on Achill Island’s western seaboard. It mix of sand and shingle is a beauty in its own right, and popular among bodyboarders and surfers who test their skills in the Atlantic breakers. Not a recommended beach for swimmers as the currents are very strong. 

8. Ballyquin Beach, Ardmore, County Waterford

Approximately 5km northeast of the popular seaside town of Ardmore, Ballyquin is a wonderfully secluded beach. An arc of stunning white sand gives way at its eastern edge to tidal rock pools. Relatively unfrequented, unlike the much more popular beach in Ardmore itself. The locals come here for morning swims while, in the evenings, it is a good spot for surfing or fishing. 

9. Ballymastocker Bay, County Donegal 

On the western shore of Lough Swilly, Ballymastocker was named the second-most beautiful beach in the world by the British Observer Magazine. Easy to see why as it stretches for almost 2km with wonderful views of the Inishowen Peninsula. 

10. Killiney Beach, County Dublin

In the South Dublin suburb of Killiney, this urban beach is a real treat. The long stony beach is backed by some of the most exclusive addresses in Dublin, with the homes of some celebrities including Bono and Enya, who can enjoy views of the wide arc of the bay. Considered to have a striking resemblance to the Bay of Naples, the beach is popular with swimmers, walkers, and families on a day out. The walk from end to end is one of the nicest in Dublin.

What's your favourite beach in Ireland? Be sure to let us know so we can add it to the Portwest List. For all your beachwear and summer essentials check out our Summer Time Collection by clicking here!