If you’re in search of the best beaches in Dublin, you’ve landed in the right place.
People tend to forget that Dublin is home to some excellent beaches and swimming spots. You can easily pack your swim gear and head off for a dip within half an hour of leaving the office.
Whether you’re a swimming enthusiast who’s looking for an ocean swim or you just want to paddle out into the saltwater and forget about the hassles of the day, hitting the beach is one of the best things to do in Dublin.
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!
The best Dublin beaches for a swim or a stroll
Now, a quick disclaimer: a number of beaches in Dublin were hit with no-swim notices over the summer of 2020.
Before you head for a swim, do a quick Google of the beach you want to visit to ensure it’s safe to swim at.
Also, hopefully, it goes without saying that you should never swim at any beaches in Ireland during stormy weather.
From secluded corners of Dublin Bay or further along the coast to seaside towns and their long stretches of golden sand, here are 9 Dublin beaches that are perfect for your post-work escape tonight.
1. Red Rock Beach (one of the lesser know Dublin beaches)
If you’re in search of semi-hidden Dublin Beaches, you’ll love this place! Red Rock is one of the most beautiful and tranquil spots on the Howth Head peninsula just 25 minutes north of Dublin city.
You’ll find the picturesque Red Rock Beach with wind sculptured rocks along the long coastal trail known as the Howth Cliff Walk.
Red Rock Beach is situated on the south side of the peninsula and it requires a bit of a hike to reach. However, with the long daylight hours of summer evenings, it makes for a great post-work adventure.
2. Tower Bay Portrane
The seaside village of Portrane is home to a long sandy beach that stretches for 2km along the coast north of Dublin city (not the one pictured above).
It’s pretty quiet compared to many other beaches in Dublin, making it a great spot for an afternoon stroll or post-work swim.
There are two beaches in Portrane – Tower Bay (which has its own car park) and the other big one which I think is just called Portrane Beach (limited parking right next to it).
3. Seapoint Beach
Seapoint is a small beach nestled between the suburbs of Blackrock and Monkstown. It’s a great choice for a post-work swim not far from the city with steps leading straight into the water at high tide.
The beach’s iconic feature is the old Martello Tower at its northern end. You need to be careful here at low tide though, with submerged rocks hidden away below the surface.
Still, it’s one of the most popular spots for swimming in South Dublin. It’s just a 20-minute drive from the city centre and easily reachable by DART.
4. Skerries Beach
Next up is another of the many Dublin beaches that tends to get slept on by those visiting (and by those living in) the capital. Skerries is a coastal town and popular seaside getaway from Dublin.
It’s the furthest swimming spot from the city centre on this list but it’s still just over 45-minutes drive from the centre of Dublin meaning you could easily reach it for a post-work dip if you’re keen.
There are stretches of sandy beach on both sides of the town. If you’re after a serious ocean swim after work, then popular spots are The Springers and The Captains, on the southern side of the harbour peninsula.
5. Donabate Beach
Donabate is a 2.5km stretch of sand in North County Dublin that’s a stone’s throw from the previously mentioned Portrane Beach.
The clean beach is very popular with families with plenty of free parking and toilet facilities within close proximity.
It’s a great spot for paddling out in the water with lifeguards on duty during the warmer months. It doesn’t get too deep unless you head out far enough so it’s better for a quick dip after work rather than a serious ocean swim.
6. Velvet Strand Portmarnock (the best beach in Dublin, in our opinion!)
Affectionately known as ‘Velvet Strand’ for its smooth golden sand, Portmarnock Beach stretches for almost five kilometres north of the city.
It offers beautiful views back towards Howth Peninsula and out towards Ireland’s Eye. It’s one of the more frequented Dublin beaches and it’s popular amongst swimmers and walkers.
It’s also well set up with toilets blocks and lifeguards on duty in the summer months. You can also bring your dog with you but it must be on a lead.
It’s within half an hour on the DART from Dublin city or a 20-minute drive.
7. Dollymount Strand and Bull Island
So, there are two fine places to go for a swim out near Clontarf and both are within a stone’s throw of each other. If you fancy a beach, head out to Dollymount Strand.
If you fancy stepping down in the water and dodging the sand, aim for the steps at Bull Island (you can’t miss them!). This skinny island runs parallel to the shoreline in Dublin Bay.
It’s roughly 5km long and 800m wide and is home to a couple of golf courses and a long sandy beach spanning the eastern side. The island is one of the city’s great escapes and can be reached within just 20 minutes by car.
It’s popular for water sports like kitesurfing but it also makes for a great post-work swim if you’re in looking for beaches in Dublin close to the city centre.
8. The Forty Foot
OK, so the Forty Foot doesn’t really fit in with the beaches in Dublin above, but it’s a great spot for a swim, so we’ve chucked it into this guide.
Just around the southern side of Dublin Bay, you’ll find this iconic promontory known as the Forty Foot. It’s often considered one of the best places for ocean swimming around Dublin with people jumping into the waters here year-round.
It’s further along from the more family-friendly Sandycove beach and is famed for its dedicated ocean swimmers who show up every day of the year.
You’ll find concrete steps on the tip of the promontory that take you straight into the water. You can reach Sandycove and the Forty Foot swimming spot within a 30-minute drive of Dublin city.
9. The Vico Baths
For many Dublin residents, the Vico Baths is one of the best swimming spots in the entire county. It’s quite secluded, located between Killiney and Dalkey on the south side of Sorrento Point.
If you’ve never been here before, follow the signs off Vico Road that lead down to the sets of steps and handrails that head into the sea.
For hardcore ocean swimmers, you can jump straight into the water from higher up, or for newbies, you can cautiously climb in on the steps provided. It can get quite crowded in the hours after work, so you certainly won’t be the only one taking a swim here.
The best beaches in Dublin: Which ones have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant Dublin beaches from the guide above. Have a beach you’d like to recommend?
Let me know in the comments section below and I’ll check it out! Cheers!