Ballinskelligs Beach is hard to beat, and we always find ourselves drawn to its immaculate sands.
This Blue Flag beach has plenty to offer visitors looking for everything from kayaking to breath-taking views.
Below, you’ll find info on parking, swimming and what to do while you’re there.
Some quick need-to-knows about Ballinskelligs Beach
Although a visit to Ballinskelligs Beach is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
There’s a good-sized, paved car park right at the edge of the beach (here on Google Maps). It boasts a lovely little cafe, toilets, space for around 50-vehicles, a handy one-way system, and running water for washing.
Ballinskelligs Beach is a fantastic beach for a swim. Internationally recognised as a Blue Flag beach, it ensures top water quality, and the fairly sheltered bay enjoys a full-time lifeguard service throughout July and August. In fact, you can even find free swimming and life-saving lessons from the nearby Ballinskelligs Pier.
4. Part of the Ring of Skellig
Ballinskelligs Beach is conveniently located on the epic Ring of Skellig road route. This short extension to the larger Ring of Kerry boasts some incredible, raw scenery and wild landscapes, and it’s well worth checking out.
About Ballinskelligs Beach
Ballinskelligs Beach is one of the twelve Blue Flag beaches in Kerry, earning the distinction in 1990. The smooth, golden sands stretch in an arc for just over a kilometre, while the crystal clear, blue waters lap gently at the shore.
It’s ideal for swimming, with a full lifeguard service in operation during July and August, be sure to check the signs in the car park for the exact times.
Things to do
If you’re needing lessons, you can find free swimming lessons at Ballinskelligs Pier every now and then, and you can be sure that the waters are shallow, calm, and safe.
As well as swimming, it’s a great beach for building sandcastles, strolling along the coast, and simply sunbathing and enjoying the beautiful local scenery.
Other popular activities include kayaking and windsurfing, and you can normally rent the necessary equipment in town.
Bordered by medieval ruins
The ruined Mc Carthy’s, or Ballinskelligs, Castle overlooks the beach, sitting on a thin spit of rock that juts out to sea. Dating as far back as the 15th-century, the castle was once used to defend the mainland from pirates.
Meanwhile, the 12th-century Ballinskelligs Abbey separates the beach from Ballinskelligs Pier, providing curious explorers with plenty of medieval sights to enjoy. The crumbling ruins and ancient graves look out over the bay.
Things to do see near Ballinskelligs Beach
One of the beauties of the beach here is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best places to visit in Kerry.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Ballinskelligs Beach.
1. Ballinskelligs Castle (5-minute walk)
Ballinskelligs Castle provides a stunning backdrop to the beach, but it’s well worth getting up close for a better look. While many of the impressive stone walls have crumbled, several still stand, and once you get inside, you’ll find that the ancient stairways are for the most part, still intact, allowing you to enjoy some great views from the top.
2. Coomanaspig Pass (20-minute drive)
Following the Ring of Skellig towards Portmagee will take you on a stunning drive through Coomanaspig Pass. The windy road hairpins up from St. Finian’s Bay, offering amazing views back over the landscape and sea. As you reach the highest point, you’ll be rewarded with incredible panoramic views over Valentia Island and Dingle Bay.
3. Kerry Cliffs (20-minute drive)
Soon after the Coomanaspig Pass, you’ll come across the Kerry Cliffs. These spectacular, rugged clifftops stand more than 300 metres over the wild Atlantic Ocean, offering amazing views out to the ocean. A nice hike out to the viewing point will reveal unrivalled cliff top scenery, with views of the nearby Puffin Island, and in the distance, the jagged rocks of Skellig Michael.
4. Valentia Island (25-minute drive)
The beautiful Valentia Island is attached to the mainland by a bridge from Portmagee. Take a short detour from the Ring of Skellig and be sure to check out this gorgeous isle, dotted with ancient ruins, quaint villages, prehistoric wonders, and much more. There’s a looped road on the island, or you can take the ferry back to the mainland from the Knight’s Town.
FAQs about the beach in Ballinskelligs
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Where do you park?’ to ‘Are there lifeguards?’.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
How long is Ballinskelligs Beach?
The beach here stretches for around 1km and treats you to glorious views from the get-go (keep an eye out for the castle and the Skelligs).
Can you swim at Ballinskelligs?
This is a Blue Flag Beach and there’s a lifeguard service during the summer, however, care is still needed when entering the water.