Inchydoney, Co Cork
This fabulous sandy beach lies just a few kilometers from the gorgeous town of Clonakilty. It has been awarded Blue Flag status and it was also awarded the Green Coast stamp of excellence in 2015. It can get very windy for swimming depending on the weather but it is still a great place to sunbathe and picnic, and there are plenty of rock pools for the kids to explore. A causeway links Inchydoney Island with Clonakilty, a charming town with a Farmers’ Market on Thursdays and Saturdays. Bring a picnic or enjoy lunch at Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa which is right by the beach and has some fantastic seafood options.
Tramore, Co Waterford
At one end, Tramore has an amusement park, the promenade and the throngs of day-trippers and at the other, nothing but the sound of surf against a backdrop of mountainous sand dunes.offers a family- friendly introduction to sea kayaking and the Freedom Surf School does the same for surfing. Other local spots include Saleens, the iconic Guillamene bathing spot, or the cliff-ringed beaches at Garris and Kilfarrasy, two of many along Waterford’s amazing Copper Coast.
Garretstown, Co Cork
Garretstown is one of Cork’s most popular strand for families. The waves can be choppy but there are calmer spots and sheltered areas. During the summer you will find vans selling fish and chips and soft ice-creams. Garretstown is close to Kinsale, one of Ireland’s best known towns known for its gourmet delights. Try out Kinsale’s famous Fishy Fishy restaurant for some delicious food (with a nutritious kids menu). The Dock Beach is closer to Kinsale and although a lot smaller, it offers plenty of shelter and shade if you need it for little ones and there’s a small bar at its entrance where you can have a refreshment or lunch.
Inch Strand, Co Kerry
Inch and its sandy counterpart, Rossbeigh Strand, protrude from opposite sides of Dingle Bay and it is ranked as an ‘excellent family beach’ by Tripadvisor. Watersports schools operate from vans on the beach and Sammy’s Restaurant and Shop at the entrance to the beach by the car park has all your beach needs covered from groceries to wet suit hire to fresh oysters.
North and South Beach, Ballybunion, Co Kerry
Ballybunion is divided into two beaches; Mens Beach and Ladies Beach and is also home to some world-class links courses and traditional seaweed baths at the foot of the Ladies Beach. For one of the most stunning scenic walks Ireland has to offer, follow Ballybunion’s easy cliff walk north to reach Nuns Beach, a sunken horseshoe cove of sand, caves and sea arches.
Keem, Achill Island, Co Mayo
This beach can be found at the base of a sloped valley and makes an ideal spot for a family swim and a picnic. There are no restaurants and amusements however because of the beauty of this place, they are not needed. Achill has a wealth of Blue Flag beaches including the south-facing Trawmore, the favourite for watersports enthusiasts; Dooega, a lovely little stone and sand bay; and the north-facing Dugort.
North and South Beach, Brittas Bay, Co Wicklow
Brittas’ North and South beaches make up 5km of soft golden sand. The dunes are covered with rabbit warrens, rare plants, insects, frogs and kestrels and the surrounding area offers sweet shops and sport centres. There is also an Avoca cafe nearby and Chlara Lara Funpark in Rathdrum is another great option for families. Silver Strand Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the country, offers a quieter alternative and access is through Wolohan’s Caravan Park on the coast road between Brittas Bay and Wicklow.
Banna Strand, County Kerry
Banna is a long sandy beach set in a rural location 7km from Tralee town. There are spectacular view of the mountains of the Dingle Peninsula, Kerry head and the Maulin Mountain. This seemingly endless beach is ideal for sandcastles and dunes for the smaller kids and there are plenty of water sports and kids camps for older members of the family. Banna Strand Resort is a great option for families with kids under 4 and it has an indoor pool, play ground and soft play area.
Doonbeg, County Clare