Hidden Beaches to Visit in Ireland
Although Ireland can’t brag about having the sun and warm waters of the Caribbean, its miles of shoreline more than make up for this shortcoming, offering breathtaking views and an incredibly variety of landscapes that range from vast dune beaches to intimate coves guarded by grandiose cliffs. There are plenty of hidden beaches full of charm waiting for those who dare to get off the beaten track...
Five secret gems in Ireland for enjoying the sea
1. Murder Hole, Co Donegal
Don’t let its name scare you! Murder Hole is one of the most beautiful hidden beaches in Ireland. This beach is not accessible by road, so you’ll have to go on a relatively short hike across the countryside and down the hill to skirt the cliffs. But once you arrive, you’ll find that the hard work was well worth it.
A stretch of golden sand awaits you, surrounded by cliffs overlooking a small rocky island that’ll become the icing on the cake if you want to take some incredible photos, especially at sunset when all the colours change. The beach is dotted with small sea caves, which you can explore when the tides go out. In fact, during high tide, the beach splits in two and the waves can come from both sides, so you should be extremely careful. You shouldn’t swim at this beach because it has a dangerous undertow, but you can still have a picnic on the sand and enjoy the views until the tide comes back in.
2. Silver Strand, Co Mayo
This remote beach has all the charm you can imagine when it comes to unspoiled nature. It’s located at the mouth of the Killary Fjord, about 25 kilometres south of Louisburgh. It’s ideal for families, since its rocky hills and tall sand dunes make for a very enjoyable hideaway. You can even go for a swim here, as it has clear and shallow waters that are great for snorkelling, with sand that turns practically white in the sun and will make it hard for you to resist laying down your towel for a rest.
The beach faces Inishturk and Inishbofin, while the south offers great views of the Connaught landscape. If you want to have a magical day, then just wait until sunset. You’ll be able to enjoy a unique show of orange and red tones that rise up over the Atlantic with the islands as a backdrop.
3. Ballyteige Burrow, Co Wexford
Located west of Kilmore Quay, a picturesque fishing village, you may have already visited the east side of this beach, but it’s worth going off the beaten track to explore this small wild paradise that is part of one of the most impressive dune systems in Ireland.
If you head to the other end, you can completely disconnect from civilisation. Best of all, you can walk along the beach or on the dunes as far as your body can take you. This area has been declared a national nature reserve and is home to many species. In fact, in spring and summer, you can even find wild orchids. If you climb the dunes, you can enjoy a spectacular panoramic view of the entire area, including the Saltee Islands, Ballyteige, Kilmore Quay and even the Hook Lighthouse, one of the oldest lighthouses in the world that’s still operational.
4. Cliffoney Beach, Co Sligo
If you like to surf and you want to have the waves all for yourself, this beach is perfect. This hidden gem is just a short drive from town, located very close to the popular Mullaghmore surf spot, although it's far less crowded. Its waves aren’t very big, but they can be fun. However, this area has strong tides, so be careful if you decide to go for a swim.
Although this beach isn’t very large, what it lacks in length it makes up for in width, extending as far as the eye can see. In addition to calmly sunbathing on the sand, you can go fishing on the shore or even go horseback riding – a truly unique experience, especially at sunset.
5. Annagh Bay, Co Mayo
This beach is one of the most remote places on Achill Island. Located on the north coast, it's protected by a steep valley, so it's only accessible by walking along the hills. As you follow the trail of sheep up and down the hillside, at one point, you’ll be taken aback by the electrifying blue of the Atlantic Ocean.
When you arrive, don’t miss out on going for a swim, because in addition to the small beach of sand and rocks, you’ll also find a peaceful freshwater lake. This is actually the lowest lake in Ireland, separated from the sea by lush green grass. The views, of course, are truly special. And the feeling of being completely isolated from the outside world is like none other.
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