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Slea Head on the Dingle Peninsula | © High Contrast / Wikicommons
Slea Head on the Dingle Peninsula | © High Contrast / Wikicommons

The Best Coastal Destinations In Ireland

Picture of Mary Sheehan
Updated: 9 February 2017
The island of Ireland is surrounded by over 1,450km of coastline. Counties all across Ireland and Northern Ireland are home to breathtaking vistas and views. Here are the best coastal destinations on the island itself.


Curracloe Strand Beach

Curracloe Strand is the longest beach in Ireland. Complete with golden sand, it lies just northeast of the town of Wexford, Ireland. Curracloe Strand and nearby Ballinesker Beach were used in the filming of Saving Private Ryan, due to the similarities between the sandy beaches of Normandy, France. Curracloe Strand is an ideal family getaway, with the perfect landscape for sandcastle building and walks along the shore.

Curracloe Beach, Coolrainey, Co. Wexford, Ireland


Located in the north of County Wicklow, Bray is a busy seaside town with something to do for people of all ages. The coastal town is easy to access via the DART commuter train running from Dublin city. The town of Bray is filled with cafes and seafood restaurants as well as National Sea Life Bray, an adorable aquarium containing sharks and tropical and native fish. For those feeling more adventurous, the cliff walk leading to Bray Head is a pleasant on a nice sunny day.

Bray, Ireland

Bray Cliff Walk | © Mary Sheehan

Bray Cliff Walk | © Mary Sheehan

Inch Beach

Perhaps the most famous beach in Ireland, Inch Beach stretches along three miles of coastline in the West of Ireland. Accessible by public transport from the 276 bus from Bus Eirreann, Inch Beach is a quiet coastal getaway located near popular tourist destination the Ring of Kerry. On clear warm days, surfers enjoy the swells while dolphins and sea otters bask in the bay. Sammy’s Café, located on the beach, is the ideal place to finish the day with a sweet treat.

Inch Beach, Co. Kerry, Ireland

Inch Beach | © Mary Sheehan

Inch Beach | © Mary Sheehan

Cliffs of Moher

The famed Cliffs of Moher are perhaps the most photographed coastal region of Ireland. With beautiful vistas overlooking the sea and rugged cliffs, the Cliffs of Moher are a hotspot for anyone visiting Ireland. Easily accessible from Dublin and from Galway, the Cliffs of Moher provide the ultimate solo or family destination.

Cliffs of Moher, Liscannor, Co. Clare, Ireland

Cliffs of Moher | © Mary Sheehan

Cliffs of Moher | © Mary Sheehan

Rosses Point

Journey up north to Sligo, Ireland and you’ll find the charming village of Rosses Point and its surrounding peninsula. Rosses Point has a lovely walk along the cliffs that is easily accessible and a flat hike appropriate for walkers of all ages. Sligo was home to author William Butler Yeats, who spent his summers at Rosses Point and whose gravestone is a close drive from the pleasant beaches. Rosses Point is also home to the Sligo Yacht Club and the County Sligo Golf Club, which hosts the annual West of Ireland championship.

Rosses Point, Co. Sligo, Ireland

Rosses Point | © Mary Sheehan

Rosses Point | © Mary Sheehan


The largest of the Aran Islands, Inishmore is a perfect getaway from the bustle of Dublin or Galway, with beaches and charming bed and breakfasts. The island itself is a Gaeltacht area, meaning the residents are loyal to speaking the Irish language. Popular tourist destinations include the ruins of the Seven Churches and the Aran Sweater Market for those looking to do some shopping for traditional Irish wools. The island is serviced by Aran Ferries from Rossaveal and Doolin, near Galway city, and from Inishmore Aerodome to Connemara Airport.

Inishmore, County Galway, Ireland

Inishmore | © Mary Sheehan

Inishmore | © Mary Sheehan

Galway City

Situated directly on Galway Bay, Galway city is a quaint Irish getaway with all the excitement of a small city. Walk along the beautiful coastline out to Galway Harbor Lighthouse, and get a lovely view of the ocean and the coastline on a sunny day. Galway City also has excellent pubs in the city center, such as the King’s Head Pub; home to delicious fish and chips. Walk even further along the coast and you’ll find Salthill,  which has Leisureland, an amusement center open all year round.

Galway, County Galway, Ireland

Galway Bay | © Mary Sheehan

Galway Bay | © Mary Sheehan

Giant’s Causeway

Drive up the east coast to enter the separate nation of Northern Ireland, and you’ll find the majestic Giant’s Causeway. The causeway is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as its hexagonal columns and rocks originated from a booming volcanic eruption. Legend states that giant Finn MacCool built the causeway in order to connect the North Channel, to defeat another giant who challenged Gaelic territory.

Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge

Located just a short drive from Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is located in County Antrim near Ballantoy. Aside from the stunning cliffs and ocean views, the main attraction is the 20-meter-long rope bridge over the clear blue waters and rocks 30 meters below. Travelers can get a certificate of their crossing at the conclusion of their stay.

Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Ring of Kerry

Located in gorgeous southwest Ireland, the Ring of Kerry is a major circular shaped tourist route in County Kerry. The Ring of Kerry has a large number of popular tourist destinations along the southwest coast of Ireland, such as Killarney National Park, the Gap of Dunloe and Torc Waterfall. There’s also Skellig Michael, where the final scene of Star Wars: The Force Awakens was filmed. Access to the Ring of Kerry is provided by Bus Eireann via route 280.

Ring of Kerry, County Kerry, Ireland


A seaside town in county Waterford, Tramore is located only 13km away from Waterford City. Tramore is situated on the northwest corner of Tramore Bay, and has fairgrounds, ice cream and a popular promenade along the sand. Tramore also has famous sand dunes that stretch for 5km and overlook the Atlantic Ocean. Tramore is also renowned for being a prime surfing location in Ireland.

Tramore Beach, County Waterford Ireland


Located in magnificent County Kerry, the town of Dingle is the quintessential Irish seaside town. Dingle is the perfect romantic getaway and family vacation, with activities and sights for people of all ages. Families and couples alike will love the ferry out to Dingle Bay to see the friendly Fungie the Dolphin. Fungie is the bay’s only inhabiting bottlenose dolphin who enjoys swimming alongside the boats. Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium also has an impressive assortment of sharks, penguins, reptiles and more.

Dingle, County Kerry, Ireland