There are some glorious beaches in Ballybunion.
In fact, we’d argue that Ballybunion is home to some of the best beaches Kerry has to offer.
In total, these picturesque beaches (Men’s Beach, Ladies Beach and Nun’s Beach) span over 4km of sparkling sand and clean water.
Below, you’ll find info on everything from parking and swimming to what to look out for.
Some quick need-to-knows about Ballybunion’s Beaches
A visit to Ballybunion Beach requires you understand the lay of the land first, as there are several beaches here. Take 20 seconds to read the points below:
1. There’s several
When visiting the beach in Ballybunion, you have a couple of options when deciding on which patch of sand you would like to spend your day. Men’s Beach is the largest, followed by Ladies Beach and then there is the much less accessible but incredibly scenic Nun’s Beach.
Ballybunion is a small village and popular tourist destination so parking can be scarce on a sunny day. There is a carpark above Men’s Beach (here on Google Maps) as well as limited spaces available above Ladies Beach (here on Google Maps). During the summer months, the council sometimes offers parking spaces at Tinteán Theatre so be on the lookout for local signage directing you to parking.
Men’s Beach and Ladies Beach are popular swimming spots, especially during the summer months but you will find locals out in the water year round. Life guards are positioned on both beaches from June through August but swimmers should only enter the water if they are capable swimmers and the conditions are safe for swimming.
Ballybunion is a surfing destination in Kerry, especially for learner and beginner surfers. Conditions vary from day to day, but the waves along the strand are generally a great size to learn and practice on. Surfing lessons are available on Men’s Beach from Ballybunion Surf School where advanced surfers can also rent boards and wetsuits.
Men’s Beach and Ladies Beach
When people talk about the beaches in Ballybunion, they are most likely referring to Men’s Beach and Ladies Beach.
Sometimes referred to as North Beach and South Beach or even just Ballybunion Beach, these two beaches are among the best Kerry has to offer.
The beaches are separated by a rocky outcrop with the ruins of Ballybunion Castle perched on top. At low tide, it is possible to safely walk around this cliff and the beaches are essentially connected.
Men’s Beach and Ladies Beach have all the amenities you need to spend the day by the sea including toilets, bins, near by coffee shops and even life guards during the summer months.
Nun’s Beach is located in a secluded cove just north of Ladies Beach. This spectacular beach is named for the nuns who used to swim here away from the prying eyes of the general public.
Today, this beach is open to everyone… if you can get to it. It is most easily accessed by boat but there is also a steep path down the cliffside that should be attempted with care as the loose cliff can be treacherous.
If you are able to safely make the climb down (note: we can’t recommend you do so, so you enter at your own risk), the beach is pristine with caves to explore at low tide.
UPDATE: We’ve had a message to say that Nun’s Beach is cordoned off with a barrier, so you’re best off admiring it from above.
Things to do near the beaches in Ballybunion
One of the beauties of Ballybunion Beach 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 Ballybunion Beach (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. Food in the town
Nothing builds up an appetite quite like spending time in the ocean. Head over to The Coast Cafe for a coffee and pastry or visit Namir’s Restaurant & Wine Bar for some local fish and chips. If you are looking for a fancy night out, head over to Strollers Bistro where you can enjoy a gourmet meal while listening to live piano music.
2. The Ballybunion Cliff Walk
The Ballybunion Cliff Walk is a beautiful walk over the cliffs just north of Ladies Beach and above Nun’s Beach. This easy loop walk starts and ends at The Cliff House Hotel on Cliff Rd and takes less than an hour to complete. Keep a look out for birds and marine life – if you’re lucky you might just spot a pod of dolphins right off the shore.
3. The seaweed baths
Collin’s Seaweed baths are a Ballybunion institution that have been operating on the top of Ladies Beach since the 1920s. The baths use serrated wrack, a locally harvested seaweed with nourishing and healing properties. Visit the baths to relieve aching muscles or as the perfect way to relax yourself into your vacation.
Ballybunion Beach FAQs
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.
Can you swim in Ballybunion?
Yes, but only at the two Blue Flag Beaches mentioned above. Even at that, please only swim at Ballybunion Beach if you’re a capable swimmer.
Are there many beaches in Ballybunion?
There are three – Nun’s Beach, Men’s Beach and Ladies Beach. Nun’s Beach is tricky to get to while the other two are easily accessed.
Meghan moved to Ireland in 2016 for what was supposed to be a year long stay and has lived there ever since. When she isn’t writing, she spends her time hiking, camping, rock climbing and listening to traditional music.