11 Of The Best Beaches Near Cork City (5 Are Under 40 Minutes Away)

best beaches near Cork City
Photo left: TyronRoss. Photo right: Borisb17 (Shutterstock)

If you’re in search of beaches near Cork City, you’ve landed in the right place.

Cork is a great city to explore, especially as it’s so compact and walkable.

Throw in the fact that there’s heaps of things to do in Cork City to keep you busy and it’s a great place to spend a night or 3.

However, if you fancy escaping the hustle and bustle for a bit, you’re in luck – there are plenty of beaches near Cork City to ramble along, as you’ll discover below.

Beaches near Cork City (under 40 minutes away)

beaches near cork city
Photo via Google Maps

The first section of our guide tackles the closest beaches to Cork City. Below, you’ll find beaches that are under a 40-minute spin from the city centre.

Water safety warning: Understanding water safety is absolutely crucial when visiting beaches in Ireland. Please take a minute to read these water safety tips. Cheers!

1. Fountainstown Beach (27 minutes)

 

Fountainstown is the closest of the many beaches near Cork City. This is a very popular seaside resort situated on the South Cork coast and on the northern side of Ringabella bay.

This is a great place to bring the kids, with heaps of activities for them to enjoy close by.  There are two beach areas in Fountainstown and they are around 700m apart from each other.

The front beach close to the entrance of the village is more sandy and tends to be busier while the Back beach has shallow waters and is usually much quieter.

2. Myrtleville Beach (29 minutes)

my favourite beaches near Cork City
Photo via Google Maps

Myrtleville is one of the most popular beaches near Cork City, and for good reason. One of the best reasons to visit this beach is the opportunity to see some seals (from afar!)!

Myrtleville is another another popular beach due to its location though it doesn’t tend to be as crowded as Fountainstown Beach (it’s smaller in size, too).

There is no car park at Myrtleville, but you can find a spot at the side of the road on the way up to the beach (never block the road).

If you fancy heading for a swim at Myrtleville, this guide contains everything you need to know (it’s very thorough!). 

3. Rocky Bay Beach (40 minutes)

 

Rocky Bay Beach is one of the lesser-known beaches near Cork City, but it packs a punch. This open beach is 300m wide from end to end, almost always clean with lovely brown sand and pristine waters.

You’ll find Rocky Bay located in a quiet spot close to Minane Bridge and not far from the village of Nohoval.

Now, it’s worth noting that parking here can be tricky – the dedicated parking area isn’t overly big, so arrive before early to get a spot if visiting during the summer months.

4. Garryvoe Beach (35 minutes)

 

Garryvoe is one of the larger beaches near Cork City. This is a mixed-pebble beach and you’ll find it near the sleepy village of Garryvoe.

The beach is great for kids who love beachcombing and if they (or you) get bored, there is a playground nearby too. There is also a public car park, toilet facilities and also wheelchair access.

During bathing season, the beach is lifeguarded. From the beach, you can spot the iconic Ballycotton Island and its striking lighthouse. 

5. Youghal Beach (39 minutes) 

youghal beach
Photo by Kieran Moore (Shutterstock)

Located just a little west of the mouth of the River Blackwater, this sandy beach is within walking distance of the town of Youghal, a designated Irish Heritage Town.

The beach joins up with Claycastle and Redbarn beaches to create a 3 mile stretch. It’s perfectly designed for going for a long walk.

It’s also great for families as there’s plenty of space for a nice picnic or to play ball games. The public car park and toilet facilities are onsite.

Related reads: Check out our guide to the best things to do in Youghal (and our guide to the best restaurants in Youghal).

6. Garrylucas Beach (38-minutes)

garrylucas beach
Photo by Borisb17 (Shutterstock)

Situated next to Kilconman Marsh and the Old Head of Kinsale is this hidden gem. The white sands beach has numerous grassy dunes and rocky cliffs on either side of the beach.

A public car park and toilet facilities are close by and during bathing season, there is a lifeguard. This Blue Flag beach faces south-west and the water quality is classed as excellent.

As this is one of the more popular beaches near Kinsale, it tends to get busy during the warmer months, so try and arrive early.

Beaches close to Cork City (under 1 hour away)

beaches close to cork city
Photo left: TyronRoss (Shutterstock). Photo right: © The Irish Road Trip

The second section of our guide to the best beaches near Cork City looks at sandy stretches under 60 minutes from the hustle and bustle.

Below, you’ll find the popular Inchydoney Beach along with a couple of lesser-known beaches close to Cork City that are worth a saunter along.

1. Garretstown Beach (45-minutes)

 

The extensive Garretstown Beach boasts mesmerising views of The Old Head of Kinsale and is within short distance of Ballinspittle village and Kinsale by car.

The beach is ideal for long walks or a wee dip. There is a car park and toilets not too far. If you get bored of the beach, there is a pitch and putt course close by too.

For anyone looking to learn to surf, there is a school at the beach where you can take beginners lessons with experienced local surfers.

2. Courtmacsherry Beach (57 minutes)

courtmacsherry beach
Photo by TyronRoss (Shutterstock)

If you’re looking to visit some beaches near Cork City and you don’t mind a bit of driving, Courtmacsherry Beach is a great shout.

This beautiful beach comes with a lovely wood walk along the top side, in fact, many exotic trees were planted here in the 18th century by the Earl of Shannon.

The exotic trees also attract a number of different birds too. Due to strong currents, the beach is not suitable for swimming. If you feel like an adventure, you can do the 7 heads walk which starts at the beach too.

3. Inchydoney Beach (59 minutes)      

inchydoney beach
Photo left: TyronRoss (Shutterstock). Photo right: © The Irish Road Trip

The Blue Flag Inchydoney Beach near Clonakilty Village comes in two separate sections divided by the Virgin Mary Headland.

Inchydoney is a popular spot amongst swimmers, but keep in mind that lifeguards are only on duty during the bathing season.

As this is one of the most popular beaches in West Cork, it can get very busy. The little car park next to the beach fills up quickly, and the big car park at the hotel is for visitors to the hotel only. 

Related reads: Check out our guide to the best things to do in Clonakilty (and our guide to the best restaurants in Clonakilty).

Beaches near Cork City (within 90 minutes)

barleycove beach
Photo left: Michael O Connor. Photo right: Richard Semik (Shutterstock)

The final section of our guide to the best beaches near Cork City is for those of you looking to hit the road and that aren’t bothered by a bit of driving.

The beaches below are within 90 minutes of the City, but you can see many of the best things to do in West Cork en route to them.

1. Owenahincha Beach (65-minutes)  

 

Situated 7 miles from the buzzy village of Clonakilty is this popular Owenahincha Beach. This is arguably one of the best beaches in Cork. The sandy beach is long enough to traverse with much of its length backed by dunes.

You can take the Warren Beach Cliff Walk from the Northeast corner of the beach. It’s great for exploring the water pools, collecting rocks and climbing rock formations for photos.

The area itself is a popular hotspot for camping and caravan sites. It was recently awarded Blue Flag status due to the available facilities and cleanliness of the beach.

2. Warren Beach (68-minutes)  

warren beach
Photo by Andrzej Bartyzel (Shutterstock)

Located at the mouth of the Rosscarbery River is Warren Beach. This is a small, quiet beach that’s also a designated Natural Heritage Area.

There is a car park and toilet facilities close by and during bathing season, the beach is lifeguarded.

If you fancy stretching the legs, the Warren Beach Cliff Walk is a solid way to soak up views of the beach from above.

Related reads: Check out our guide to the best things to do in Rosscarbery (and our guide to the best restaurants in Rosscarbery).

3. Barleycove (2 hours) 

barleycove beach
Photo left: Michael O Connor. Photo right: Richard Semik (Shutterstock)

Finally, we’re off to Barleycove, where you’ll discover one of the best beaches in Ireland! In 1755, an earthquake in Lisbon caused a tsunami so big that the 15ft waves created this beach by displacing all of the sand.

The large Barleycove Beach is protected by the European designated Special Areas of Conservation as there is an array of unique wildlife and habitats in the dunes.

The beach is close to Mizen Head and on weekends during the bathing season, the beach is lifeguarded.

FAQs about the best beaches near Cork City

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from the best beaches near Cork City for swimming to which ones are best for surfing.

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 is the closest beach to Cork City?

At 27 minutes away, the nearest beach to Cork City is Fountainstown Beach.  Myrtleville Beach comes in at a close second at 29 minutes away (this will vary depending on where in the City you are).

What beaches near Cork City are less than 40 minutes away?

  • Garrylucas Beach (38-minutes)
  • Youghal Beach (39 minutes) 
  • Garryvoe Beach (35 minutes)
  • Myrtleville Beach (29 minutes)
  • Fountainstown Beach (27 minutes)

What beaches close to Cork city are under 60 minutes away?

  • Garretstown Beach (45-minutes)
  • Courtmacsherry Beach (57 minutes)
  • Inchydoney Beach (59 minutes)    

Originally from County Tyrone, Johnny's yearning for new experiences and cultures has taken from Bundoran to Bangkok and everywhere in between!

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