With the mercury set to soar well into next week, Dublin’s beaches will be thronged with sunseekers and swimmers taking advantage of the hot weather.
he city’s coastline, stretching from Balbriggan in the north to its boundary with Bray in the south, boasts an enviable number of fine beaches for a capital city.
But before you pack the picnic basket and apply the sun cream, here’s why we think these five beaches are Dublin’s best.
5. South Beach, Rush
This overlooked gem in north county Dublin doesn’t get the credit it deserves. While there are two stunning beaches in the town, Rush South Beach pips its close neighbour at the post for several reasons, not least the fact it was awarded a Blue Flag this year.
Offering spectacular views across the Irish Sea to Lambay Island, Howth and as far south as the Wicklow Mountains, Rush South Beach is seriously underrated. Water quality has been confirmed as excellent this summer and swimming is generally safe, as long as you stay within the lifeguard patrolled area.
Access – If you’re travelling by car, Rush is around a 40-minute drive from Dublin city centre, via the M1 (take the Donabate exit and follow the signs to Lusk and Rush). There is a large car park at the entrance to the beach, although it can fill up quickly when the sun comes out.
Alternatively, there is plenty of pay and display parking on Main Street (Monday to Saturday). Rush is served by the 33 bus, leaving you less than a five-minute walk away from South Beach.
Facilities – Public toilets, car park, litter bins and a lifeguard/first aid hut during the summer bathing season.
Food – If you work up an appetite from all that sea air, there are plenty of food options within a 10-minute walk. Try the Village Takeaway for fish and chips, the Guilty Goat for coffee or the award-winning Harbour Bar for something more substantial.
Apart from its small but perfectly formed sandy beach, Sandycove is also home to the famous Forty Foot swimming area and the iconic James Joyce Tower and Museum.
This intimate beach is highly popular with families with young children due to its shallow waters, although you will need to get there extra early during the good weather to claim your spot on the sand. Most recent testing has revealed excellent water quality at Sandycove.
Access – The beach is just a few minutes’ walk from Sandycove and Glasthule Dart station. There is limited parking in the area so public transport is your best bet.
Facilities – Lifeguard patrol, public toilets, disability parking bay and first aid facilities.
Food – Order from the coffee van or treat yourself to quality seafood at Cavistons in Glasthule, with plenty of other dining options available in the village.
3. Dollymount Strand
It would be a sin to exclude Dollymount Strand, affectionately known as Dollyer, from any list of great Dublin beaches.
Set against the backdrop of Dublin Bay and the iconic Poolbeg towers, there are many reasons why Dollymount continues to hold a special place in our hearts. Stretching from the North Bull Wall to the northern tip of Bull Island – an internationally recognised nature reserve – the beach is popular with year-round sea swimmers and kite surfers.
Access – Dollymount is sometimes a victim of its own popularity, particularly when the weather is good, with stories of long tailbacks and cranky kids stuck in hot cars. But you can avoid the traffic chaos by availing of a range of public transport options.
Dollymount is the closest large beach to the city centre, meaning it is well served by bus (routes 130 and N4). It’s also located near the Clontarf to Sutton cycleway if you feel like combining your day at the beach with a bike trip.
If you must take the car, there’s parking at the end of the Bull Island Causeway, from where you can also access the beach. If possible, avoid taking the wooden bridge route on busy summer days as there is limited parking at this end of the beach and the area tends to be a flashpoint for traffic congestion.
Facilities – Lifeguard patrol, first aid, disability access, beach wheelchair (pre-booking required), toilets and changing areas.
Food – Is there anything more inviting than the intoxicating aroma of fish and chips? After a day at Dollyer, you can’t go wrong with Beshoff’s on Vernon Avenue, Clontarf. For great coffee and toasties, try Happy Out, a café located in a shipping container at the end of Bull Wall.
Seapoint is one of two Blue Flag beaches in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown and is rightly considered one of the best bathing spots in south Dublin. With amazing views across Dublin Bay to Howth, this gently sloping, sandy beach is extremely popular with families and is generally considered a safe place to swim.
A word of caution, though: swimmers should be aware there may be sudden large waves caused by car ferries arriving at nearby Dún Laoghaire Harbour. Also, there is no diving allowed from the old platforms.
Water quality at Seapoint has been officially described as excellent so far this summer
Access – Like all beaches in south Dublin, Seapoint benefits from its proximity to a Dart station (right on its doorstep). You can also choose from a range of bus routes serving Dún Laoghaire or Blackrock. If you’re taking the car, there is paid parking at Link Road, beside Salthill and Monkstown Dart station, around a five-minute walk away.
Facilities – Toilets, lifeguard patrolled area, first aid, disabled access and beach activity zones for walking and running.
Food – With Blackrock and Dún Laoghaire just a short walk away, the options are endless. The Purty Kitchen is perfect for a post-beach meal or drink. Also try an ice-cream from the legendary Teddy’s in Dún Laoghaire.
1. Velvet Strand, Portmarnock
Arguably the jewel in the crown of Dublin’s beaches, Portmarnock’s Velvet Strand has always been a popular destination for day-trippers. Stretching for five kilometres from Portmarnock to Baldoyle Estuary, this long, sandy beach has magnificent views of Lambay Island, Ireland’s Eye and Howth and is famous for its sand dunes.
Given that Velvet Strand has retained its Blue Flag status for 2022, you can be assured of decent water quality when getting in for a dip.
Access – While there is on-street parking in the area, Portmarnock is well served by several bus routes, including the 32x, 42D and H2, taking you directly to the beach. Be careful if choosing the train option, as this will leave you with at least a 40-minute walk from Portmarnock station.
Facilities – Toilets, lifeguard patrol and beach wheelchair hire (you must book in advance).
Food – Enjoy a 99 from the ice-cream hut or grab a takeaway coffee and a sandwich from the local Spar. If you feel like a post-beach meal, try Lali’s Italian restaurant on Strand Road, directly opposite the beach.
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