With the soaring shapes of the Mourne Mountains in the distance, Rossglass Beach in County Down is a quietly impressive spot to find yourself.
This chilled-out spot on the shores of Dundrum Bay is also dotted with wildlife and is a nice place to relax and get away from it all.
Below, you’ll find info on everything from where to park to what to look out for while you ramble.
Some quick need-to-knows about Rossglass Beach
Although a visit to Rossglass Beach is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
You’ll find Rossglass Beach on the eastern end of Dundrum Bay facing south toward the mighty Mournes. It’s a 15-minute drive from Downpatrick and a 25-minute drive from Newcastle.
There’s a small gravelly spot of land on the beach’s eastern side where people tend to park (though I’d hesitate to describe it as an official car park!). Just make sure not to block the road if it’s busy. There’s also a much larger car park at nearby Tyrella Beach, but it’s a solid hour’s walk away from Rossglass.
Rossglass Beach is a pretty quiet spot and as such isn’t a lifeguarded beach, so it might be best to give swimming a miss to be on the safe side (Tyrella does have lifeguards, however!). Its sandy shores are perfectly fine though, if you just want to go for a knee-height paddle.
About Rossglass Beach
With its secluded location on the eastern side of Dundrum Bay, Rossglass Beach is far away from the buzz of Newcastle on the other side of the bay.
Over there, the popular seaside town is full of excited walkers ready to tackle the Mourne hikes, but at Rossglass you can simply sit back and admire the famous mountains in tranquility.
The views are stunning and the beach also forms part of the 47-mile Lecale Way, which stretches from Downpatrick all the way to Newcastle.
There’s a variety of wildlife here too, so keep an eye out for a colony of seals and wading birds such as oyster-catchers.
And if you don’t mind hitting the water, Rossglass is also on the South East Coast Canoe Trail! Though if you want to take part, then you’ll have to make the short hop to Killough where you can jump on Killough to Newcastle route across the bay.
Things to do at Rossglass Beach
There’s a handful of things to see and do in and around Rossglass Beach in Downpatrick. Here are some suggestions:
1. Grab a cup of Native coffee
If you’re here on a weekend morning, then the first thing you’ll want to do is get a nice caffeine fix and, luckily, nearby Minerstown Beach has just the spot, although it’s only open once a month (info here).
Make your way over towards the Minerstown side of the beach and you’ll see Native Coffee’s white and green pastel coloured van.
Full of expertly-brewed coffees and delicious sweet treats, Áine and Paul’s products are a perfect accompaniment to a brisk beach walk.
2. Then hit the beach for a ramble
Once you’ve got your brew sorted, then head over to Rossglass Beach for a stroll along one of County Down’s most spectacular shores.
Whether it’s a blustery winter morning or a balmy summer afternoon, the distant outline of the Mournes means that this is a gorgeous ethereal spot no matter the weather.
Don’t forget that this is a dog-friendly beach too, so your four-legged friends are more than welcome here to scamper among the sands!
There are also a few rocks scattered here which kids will invariably enjoy climbing all over if you’re here on a family day out!
Places to visit near Rossglass Beach
One of the beauties of Rossglass is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best attractions in Down.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Rossglass Beach!
1. St John’s Point Lighthouse (5-minute drive)
The furthest eastern point of Dundrum Bay and located at the tip of the Lecale Peninsula, St John’s Point Lighthouse is unmistakable with its strikingly-painted black and yellow stripes! Not only is this the tallest lighthouse on mainland Ireland (only Fastnet is taller, but it’s offshore), it’s also open for accommodation and you can spend a night or two at one of the lighthouse cottages.
2. Ballynoe Stone Circle (10-minute drive)
Discover a window into Ireland’s mysterious distant past by making the short 10-minute drive up to Ballynoe Stone Circle. The circle measures 35 m (115 ft) in diameter and includes 50 or more small, upright stones that date back from the late Neolithic era through to the Early Bronze Age.
3. Food in Downpatrick (15-minute drive)
The town of Downpatrick is only a 15-minute drive north of Rossglass and is a great little spot for getting a feed in. Whether it’s cheesy comfort food from MELT or classic fish and chips from Doc’s, there’s loads of choice in Downpatrick after you’re finished enjoying Rossglass Beach.
FAQs about Rossglass
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Is parking tricky?’ to ‘Can you 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.
Can you swim at Rossglass Beach?
Rossglass Beach is a quiet spot and as such isn’t a lifeguarded beach, so we’d recommend either just having a knee-height paddle or avoiding the water altogether.
Is there much parking at Rossglass?
No – there’s a gravelly spot of land on the beach’s eastern side where people tend to park. Please make sure never to block the road here.