Purest Shores: Are these Ireland’s best Blue flag beaches?

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.


Blue flag in action A good sign

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.

surfer on bundoran beach

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.

Derrynane beach

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.


Brittas bay beach in the sun

Image: Davida3

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!


Tragumna beach west cork

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!


rosses point sligo

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.


white rock portrush

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.

Keep our coast clean Here’s 5 changes to make a world of difference

About the Author

Ann Robinson
Has a passion for coastal heritage and maritime history. Loves sharing the best of the Irish coast online. Contact me ann@coastmonkey.ie or follow me on Twitter @AnnRobinson22