Blackrock Beach near Dundalk is one of the more popular beaches in Louth.
If you like a lively beachfront with plenty going on then Blackrock Beach in County Louth could be just the ticket!
With a host of cracking bars and cafes separated from the beach by a historic 19th-century promenade wall, this alluring spot on the Louth coast has been a popular spot for decades.
In the guide below, you’ll find info on everything from where to get parking to what to do while you’re there.
Some quick need-to-knows about Blackrock Beach
Although a visit to Blackrock Beach is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
Blackrock Beach lies a short 10-minute drive outside of Dundalk at about the midway point of Louth’s coastline. Belfast and Dublin are near-enough equidistant from Blackrock and the drive from both of Ireland’s largest cities will take you just over an hour.
There is plenty of parking available all the way along the main promenade (here on Google Maps), though it’s probably best to arrive earlier to guarantee a space, especially at weekends and during the summer. There’s also a small car park at the north end of the promenade.
3. There are several beaches
While your eyes might be immediately drawn to the main beach at the heart of town, don’t forget that there are actually several beaches around the Blackrock Village area. You have the (conveniently-named!) Priests Beach just south of the Church of St Oliver Plunkett and then the quieter Ladies Beach on the other side. Then there’s also Blackrock Bay Beach then just north of that.
We can’t find any concrete info online on whether it’s safe to swim at Blackrock Beach, however some articles do reference it as a popular spot to swim. If in doubt, ask locally and always use caution.
There are toilet facilities in the car park at the north end of the promenade.
6. Water safety (please read)
About Blackrock Beach
A popular coastal village with a long fishing heritage, the first thing you’ll notice here is the long promenade and the wall (with handy room to sit down and take in the views!) that goes with it.
Constructed back in 1851, it was actually a two-walled promenade for over a century and the village’s cafes, beaches and views meant it became a magnet for Victorian visitors during the summer.
By 1952, it was clear personal mobility was going through big changes so the inner wall was removed and the street widened in order to cater for the increasing number of motor cars coming into use.
With the wall removed, more people kept flooding in and to this day the beachfront is as popular as ever. In fact, The Promenade is actually quite unique in its proximity to the main beach as well as to artisan shops, boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants.
You could quite easily spend a whole day here. But what to do? Read on!
Things to do at Blackrock Beach
There’s plenty of things to do in and around Blackrock Beach near Dundalk (especially if you fancy a feed and a stroll!).
Below, you’ll find info on where to grab a coffee to the different walks to tackle nearby.
1. Grab a coffee from Rocksalt Café and saunter along the sand
With its racing green exterior and charming red and white striped awnings, the Rocksalt Café is easily spotted at the southern end of The Promenade. And a good thing too, because you wouldn’t want to miss the quality fare they have on offer inside!
Opened in 2018, their menus cater for indulgent breakfasts, beautifully-prepared lunches and takeaway coffee. And it’s the latter that you’ll probably want to do when you first arrive in Blackrock. So grab a coffee to-go from Rocksalt cafe, hit the soft sands and head north up Blackrock Beach.
2. Or soak-up sea views from the Blackrock Promenade
If you don’t fancy sauntering along the sand then The Promenade is perfectly placed to give you an equally good introduction to the beauty of Blackrock. And with its built-in seats, you can sit down anywhere and soak up those glorious views.
With the unmistakable shape of the Cooley Mountains rising up as you look northeast, you’ll be able to see all the way across the water to the Cooley Peninsula. It’s a cracking view and is especially good on sunny days with the light shining down onto the glittering water.
3. Followed up by a bite at The Clermont
Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, you’re guaranteed a classy dining experience at The Clermont. Located at the northern end of The Promenade, there’s loads of space in the venue (they even have a tree in their dining room!) and all of their excellent food comes courtesy of head chef Michael O’Toole.
Their award-winning steak comes courtesy of Bellingham Farms so you might want to consider that when perusing the menu! And on a fine summer’s day, don’t forget to take full advantage of The Clermont’s fabulous beer garden for a few beers in the sun.
Places to visit near Blackrock Beach
One of the beauties of Blackrock Beach is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best things to do in Louth.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Blackrock Beach (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. Annagassan Bay Beach (15-minute drive)
Believe it or not, this quiet beach was once the violent heart of Viking Ireland! Though it ceased to be a Viking raiding port over 1000 years ago, that famous history hasn’t been forgotten. Annagassan Beach also offers some cracking views across the water towards the Mourne Mountains.
2. Cú Chulainn’s Castle (15-minute drive)
An Irish folk hero and mythological warrior, Cú Chulainn is said to have been born at this castle, though all that remains is the tower or ‘motte’ (despite its Medieval appearance, the tower was actually built in 1780 by local Patrick Bryne). Located just outside of Dundalk, this area is full of myth and legend and there’s a charming quirkiness about the tower. Oh, and the scenery is great here too!
3. The Cooley Peninsula (20-minute drive)
Just a 20-minute drive north from Blackrock, the Cooley Peninsula offers some serious bang for your buck! In a relatively small area, it’s full of things to do as well as being one of the most beautiful (and overlooked) parts of Ireland. With beautiful hikes, ancient sites, colourful towns and opportunities for cycling and boating, the Cooley Peninsula is a gem of the east coast.
4. Roche Castle (20-minute drive)
Dating back to the 13th century, Roche Castle is a relic of the Norman era in Ireland and its rocky hilltop location just adds to its grandeur. Only a 20-minute drive from Blackrock Village, that handy hilltop setting means you’ll get some beautiful panoramic views alongside the castle’s fascinating history.
FAQs about Blackrock Beach near Dundalk
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Is Blackrock Beach in Dundalk?’ (it’s not) to ‘Where do you park?’.
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.
Is Blackrock Beach worth visiting?
Yes, Blackrock Beach near Dundalk is a lovely spot for a stroll on the sand and there’s lots of excellent food options in the town.
Can you swim at Blackrock Beach?
We can’t for the life of us find reliable info on swimming at Blackrock, so check locally and if in doubt, avoid entering the water.