You should want every beach in Ireland you visit to have the coveted ‘Blue flag’. Because essentially it means everything about you visit will be better.
The internationally recognised eco-label awarded to beaches and marinas ensures the beach you’re at meets a rigorous set of high standards for water quality, safety, beach management, information and education. So you can swim, surf, sunbathe and walk the dog confident in the quality of your surroundings for you and your family. But even among these high quality beaches, there are a few that shine brighter.
In 2015 81 beaches and five marinas around the Irish coast were awarded the Blue Flag, which was an increase on the previous years and hopefully a few more will join the ranks in 2016. The work of An Taisce, who operate the Blue Flag, is fantastic but of course it’s up to all of us to do our part and keep these beaches and marine habitats clean for now and future generations. It’s easy really, just make sure you leave only footprints, take your rubbish with you and occasionally do a 2 minute beach clean.
But which beaches are the best of the best? Of course, this can be a pretty subjective, we all have our favourites. But we went ahead and in no particular order had a go at selecting our favourite blue flag beaches around Ireland.
1. Bundoran Co. Donegal
Known as the Surf Capital of Ireland and for good reason! The place is a surfers dreams. Beautiful beaches, excellent waves and numerous surf schools to choose from. When the waves wear you out be sure to retire to the town where you can hit up the pubs and enjoy the lively music.
New to surfing? Check out our newbies guide to surfing.
2. Derrynane Beach Co. Kerry
The Ring of Kerry is hands down one of the most scenic routes in Ireland, and the beaches along her are no different. On a summer’s day Derrynane beach could be mistaken as somewhere in the Mediterranean. Clear waters, golden sand and verdant hills. The place is breathtaking! Where better to go for a walk and bask in her glory.
3. Brittas Bay. South, Co. Wicklow
Sandy beaches, rolling sand dunes, crystal blue sea – this is what summer was made for! As soon as the sun comes out crowds flock from Dublin down to the Garden County to Brittas Bay. It can get a bit crowded but if you get down early and claim your spot. Don’t forget the obligatory 99 or bag of chips from the hut in the carpark!
4. Tragumna, Co. Cork
Just a few minutes drive from the beautiful Skibbereen is Tragumna a small scenic beach located in this picturesque rural hamlet. There a pub on a height over looking the beach and on a beautiful summers evening I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world!
5. Rosses Point, Co. Sligo
Located along the Wild Atlantic Way Rosses Point is a popular seaside resort. There’s some fantastic views over Sligo Bay and it’s the perfect spot for watersports. Be sure to check out the annual Rosses Point Sea Shanty festival one of our must see Maritime festivals of 2016.
6. Whiterocks Portrush, Co. Antrim
The impressive limestones Cliffs of Whiterocks stretch from Curran Strand to Dunluce Castle. The Cliffs have been carved through the centuries by the waves, the numerous caves and arches add to the sense of awe and wonder to the place. The beach is great for walkers, bird spotters and it also great for water sports like surfing.
Think you’re beach is better than our humble selection? Let us know below.
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