A Guide To The Glorious Inchydoney Beach in Cork

Inchydoney Beach guide
Photo left: TyronRoss (Shutterstock). Photo right: © The Irish Road Trip

The beautiful Inchydoney Beach is arguably one of the best beaches in Cork.

Located 5km southeast of the delightful village of Clonakilty and 57km southwest of Cork City, Inchydoney Beach is popular amongst tourists and locals alike.

It’s arguably one of the best known beaches in West Cork and it’s a fine place for a stroll or a paddle.

In the guide below, you’ll discover info about everything from swimmiong on Inchydoney Beach to what to see and do nearby.

Some quick need-to-knows about Inchydoney Beach in Cork

Inchydoney beach cork weather
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

Although a visit to Inchydoney Beach in Cork is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.

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. Parking

There’s a large car park for the hotel right next to the beach and a quieter car park at the western end of Inchydoney Beach.

Both are just a short walk down to the sand via steps and ramps. However, Inchydoney Beach has a narrow approach road (no roadside parking) and during peak summer weekends it can be difficult to find a parking spot.  

2. Swimming

Inchydoney Beach is popular with families and is ideal for swimming and bathing in the clear Blue Flag waters. There is a gentle swell but no dangerous undercurrents to worry about.

In summer, there’s a lifeguard service for added peace of mind. Always use caution when entering the water – if in doubt, keep your feet on dry land.

3. Surfing

Complete novice surfers and those with more experience will enjoy surfing at Inchydoney Beach. There are surf schools nearby (the longest running in Cork!) and equipment rentals if you don’t want to haul your own board down to the beach. The best swell is to the right of the Virgin Mary Headland which divides the beach in two. 

4. Inchydoney tide times 

Surfers will want to check out tide times and surf conditions before visiting Inchydoney Beach for the day. Consult the weather forecast and get a detailed 7-day tidal forecast for Inchydoney which is worth consulting when planning to visit.  

About Inchydoney Beach in Cork

Inchydoney Island cork
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

Inchydoney Beach (Inse Duine in Irish) is on an island promontory connected to the mainland by two causeways.

The southeast-facing beach juts out into Clonakilty Bay and is divided by the Virgin Mary headland. It has good facilities including a car park, toilets and a seasonal lifeguard service. 

Frequently ranked one of the best beaches in Ireland this idyllic beach has light-coloured sand backed by dunes and gently undulating countryside.

Gloriously unspoiled, the sandy beach with its pristine Blue Flag waters is popular for surfing, shelling, rock pooling and sandcastle building. What more could you wish for on a sunny summer’s day? 

Inchydoney Hotel

swimming on Inchydoney Beach
Photos via Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa on Facebook

The Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa is perched right on the headland with unparalleled views of beach and ocean.

This luxury 4-star hotel has twice been named “Ireland’s Leading Spa resort”. Perfect for a well-earned break by the sea! 

This exclusive beachfront hotel has magnificent rooms and suites with panoramic ocean views from your private balcony or terrace.

All rooms boast “Super Cosy beds,  fridge and in-room Nespresso machine for that first morning cuppa. The hotel has an upscale restaurant, pub/bistro, a homely lounge bar serving afternoon tea and Ireland’s first Seawater Spa.

Note: if you book a stay via the link below we may make a tiny commission that helps us keep this site going. You won’t pay extra, but we really do appreciate it.

Check prices + see more photos here

Things to do near Inchydoney Beach 

Galley Head Lighthouse Cork
Photo by kieranhayesphotography (Shutterstock)

One of the beauties of Inchydoney Beach in Cork is that it’s a short spin away from a clatter of other attractions, both man-made and natural.

Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Inchydoney Beach (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).

1. Clonakilty

Clonakilty village
Photo by Marcela Mul (Shutterstock)

Delightful Clonakilty is a busy market town of charm, history and heritage. Deasey’s Quay reflects a traditional of seafaring, built to serve the large brewery and former linen industries.

The 19th century mill buildings, once part of the distillery, are now tastefully re-purposed to house the library and council offices. Home of the black pudding, it has gourmet delis, cafés, boutiques, independent shops, galleries and bars making it a grand place to visit.

2. Galley Head Lighthouse

Galley Head Lighthouse Cork
Photo by kieranhayesphotography (Shutterstock)

Galley Head Lighthouse is 14km southwest of Inchydoney, marking the southernmost point of the headland known as Dundeady Island.

This gleaming 21-metre tall white lighthouse was constructed in 1875 and at that time (drumroll please…) was the most powerful lighthouse in the world! It would have witnessed the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915.

The lighthouse was converted to electric in 1969 and automated in 1979 but is not open for public tours. 

3. Warren Beach

things to do near Inchydoney
Photo by Andrzej Bartyzel (Shutterstock)

Warren Beach at Rosscarbery is another unspoilt rural sandy beach backed by dunes and wildlife. It sits at the mouth of the Rosscarbery Estuary on a tidal inlet fed by rivers.

The sea wall shelters local fishing boats. Popular for fishing, swimming and surfing the wide beach has a summer lifeguard service and there’s a cafe/restaurant and toilets. 

4. Owenahincha Beach

 

Just 4km from Rosscarbery, Owenahincha Beach is a wild and exposed sandy beach – perfect for enjoying a breezy walk, swimming and surfing.

It’s a popular area for camping and can be busy in summer. Recently awarded Blue Flag status, it’s a good surf spot, although you will have to share the waves with kite-surfers!  

FAQs about visiting Inchydoney Beach in Cork

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from where to park at Inchydoney Beach to whether or not it’s OK to swim.

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 it easy to get parking at Inchydoney Beach?

It depends – in the summer, no – parking at Inchydoney Beach can be very tricky. The beach has a small car park next to it that fills up quickly. There’s also the Inchydoney Hotel car park, but this is for visitors to the hotel.

Is it safe to swim on Inchydoney Beach?

With clean Blue Flag awarded waters, Inchydoney Beach is excellent for swimming. However, caution is ALWAYS required and it’s important that you take notice of flags on the beach and the weather. If in doubt, ask locally!

Gillian Birch is a travel writer and published author. She has travelled the world and uses her personal journals and memories to write about her many travel experiences, particularly those that involved adventures in Ireland.

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