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7 Of The Best Beaches Near Carlingford (3 Under 20 Minutes Away)

7 Of The Best Beaches Near Carlingford (3 Under 20 Minutes Away)

We get emails every year asking about ‘Carlingford Beach’.

Now, although there’s plenty of beaches near Carlingford, there’s no real Caringford Beach, per se.

However, if you’re craving a saunter along the sand, you’ll find some of the finest beaches in Louth a short spin away.

Below, you’ll find everywhere from Templetown Beach and Clogherhead to beaches under 20 minutes away.

Beaches near Carlingford under a 20-minute drive away

blackrock beach

Photo by JASM Photography (Shutterstock)

The first section of our guide looks at the closest beaches to Carlingford. These are sandy spots (actually, number 2 is more stone than sand!) under a 20-minute drive away.

Below, you’ll find Templetown, Whitestown Bay and Gyles Quay. Dive on in!

1. Templetown Beach (13-minute drive)

Templetown Beach

Photos via Shutterstock

Templetown Beach is an absolute beaut of a beach. You’ll find this sheltered sandy beach is situated on the tip of the beautiful Cooley Peninsula, where it sits between two headlands. Ideal for families, it is also popular for all types of watersports including kitesurfing, windsurfing and stand-up paddle-boarding.

It was awarded Blue Flag status for its water quality since 2019 and has a lifeguard patrol in place during the summer months. Other facilities include car parking, toilets and an information board. As this is the closest of the handful of beaches near Carlingford, it can get very busy on summer days.

2. Whitestown Bay Beach (15-minute drive)

Whitestown Beach

Photos via Google Maps

Just a 7km drive southeast of Carlingford and Greenore, you’ll find Whitestown Bay Beach. The beach is just south of Ballaghan, close to Templetown Beach which is better known. The area is particularly popular for fishing although the mixed shoreline of sand, rock and shingle can take its toll on tackle.

However, there are some sandy patches for sandcastle building and sunbathing. Although Whitestown Beach is near Carlingford, we’d head to Templetown or our next beach, first, as they’re much sandier.

Related read: Check out our guide to 15 of the best things to do in Carlingford in 2024 (from the Slieve Foye Loop and the Carlingford Greenway to the Carlingford Lough Ferry)

3. Gyles Quay Bay Beach (15-minute drive)

beaches near drogheda

Photos via Shutterstock

On the opposite side of the peninsula from Carlingford, Gyles Quay has a long stretch of pristine sand with some rocks. It offers beautiful coastal views across Dundalk Bay to Annagassan and Dunany Point. A pier stretches into the bay and is popular for pier jumping and fishing.

There is also a slipway for launching small boats. The main feature is the caravan park which hosts many visitors during the summer. At other times, the beach offers a pleasant walk in peaceful surroundings with superb coastal views. 

Beaches close to Carlingford under a 1-hour drive

Clogherhead Beach

Photos via Shutterstock

Now that we have the closest beaches near Carlingford out of the way, it’s time to see what else Louth has to offer.

Below, you’ll find a handful of beaches under a 50-minute drive away, including Clogherhead, Blackrock and Annagassan.

1. Blackrock Beach (35-minute drive)

blackrock beach

Photo by JASM Photography (Shutterstock)

Blackrock Beach is another gorgeous spot. Blackrock is a popular resort and coastal village on the Cooley Peninsula overlooking the scenic waters of Dundalk Bay. It has a beautiful sandy beach and offers ideal conditions for kitesurfing and windsurfing. It’s also popular for swimming and bathing.

The promenade is perfect for strolling and is lined with cafes and beach shops. At the midpoint is the giant Millennium Sundial, the largest in Ireland. Further south is an area of wetlands known as Dundalk Bird Sanctuary. It is a haven for migratory waterbirds including Brent Geese and Dunlins.

2. Annagassan Bay Beach (40-minute drive)

Annagassan Beach

Photos via Shutterstock

Once a Viking stronghold, Annagassan Beach is a quiet waterfront resort just south of Castlebellingham on Dundalk Bay. It is listed by the Irish Times as one of the 50 Best Beaches in Ireland and is ideal for sandcastles, swimming and coastal walks.

The local Glyde Inn is the perfect spot to grab a bite to eat. The area is popular for birdspotting with many species of seabirds and migratory visitors. Located 71km north of Dublin, this delightful seaside community has a picturesque harbour and a sandy beach. Views look across the bay to the Cooley Peninsula. 

3. Clogherhead Beach (50-minute drive)

Clogherhead Beach

Photos via Shutterstock

Clogherhead Beach is a 66km scenic drive south of Carlingford, next to Portoreil and Termonfeckin. It’s well worth the drive with golden sand and sheltered Blue Flag waters. Said to be one of the best beaches near Carlingford, Clogherhead Beach is backed by sand dunes which are home to a variety of birds and wild flowers.

It has been used as a setting for several well-known films. The beach is served by a car park, toilets, a boat slipway and lifeguards in summer. It’s a good place to enjoy watersports with a Sailing School and Outdoor Education Centre offering tuition and equipment hire.

Kitesurfing, windsurfing, sailing, swimming, fishing and rock pooling provide something for all ages. There’s also the Clogherhead Cliff Walk for when you’re finished with the sand.

Related reads: Check out our guide to the best pubs in Carlingford, our guide to the finest restaurants in Carlingford and our guide to the best hotels in Carlingford.

4. Kilkeel Bay Beach (40-minute drive)

Kilkeel Bay Beach

Photo by Tomasz Szymanski (Shutterstock)

Located just north of Carlingford Lough, Kilkeel Bay Beach in County Down is easy to reach via the Carlingford Ferry. The sweep of golden sand runs south from the harbour and community of Kilkeel. The coastal town has several cafes, bars and shops and there’s a lifeboat station which operates an inshore lifeboat.

Kilkeel Beach is dog friendly all year round. It adjoins Cranfield West Beach to the south which has Blue Flag waters. The area is in an idyllic location within sight of the Mourne Mountains and is designated as a Site of Specific Scientific Interest.

Carlingford beach guide: What have we missed?

I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant beaches close to Carlingford from the guide above.

If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!

FAQs about the closest beaches to Carlingford

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Which are best for swimming?’ to ‘Which are the most picturesque?’.

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.

What are the best beaches near Carlingford?

In my opinion, the best beaches near Carlingford are Templetown (13-minute drive), Gyles Quay (15-minute drive) and Blackrock Beach (35-minute drive).

What is the closest beach to Carlingford?

At under 15 minutes away, Templetown Beach is the closest. It’s also one of the nicest, too!

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