10 of the Best Irish Beaches for Scenic Winter Walks

Winter’s Tranquil Beauty: Discovering 10 of the Best Irish Beaches for Scenic Winter Walks

The Island of Ireland’s coastline is a tapestry of natural beauty, offering a serene and captivating experience during the winter months.

Winter transforms the beaches on the Island of Ireland into serene havens, offering solitude and a unique connection to nature’s raw beauty. The crisp air, crashing waves, and stunning vistas make it an ideal time for contemplative walks and moments of peaceful reflection, or on the flip side; chats and catch-ups with family and friends.

This guide aims to inspire you to explore Ireland’s beaches, even on hat and scarf days. Consider blowing off those central heating cobwebs and filling your lungs with fresh sea air. Pack a handful ‘sangwiches’ and a flask of tae, or stop off for hot chocolate with all the trimmings en route to your favourite scenic winter spot by the sea.

Ireland: 10 of the Best Irish Beaches for Scenic Winter Walks

From majestic cliffs to sandy shores, these ten beaches, listed in no particular order, provide an enchanting winter escape, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the tranquility of Ireland’s coastal wonders.

The Best Irish Beaches for Scenic Winter Walks - White Park Bay, AntrimWild Winter’s Day on White Park Bay Photo by Michael Shannon

10 of the Best Irish Beaches for Scenic Winter Walks #1

White Park Bay, Antrim

Nestled between limestone cliffs, White Park Bay offers a secluded and picturesque setting. Its sweeping beach is ideal for contemplative walks and enjoying the rugged coastline. Family friendly and dog friendly as long as your furry friend is kept on their lead, the nearest toilet facilities are in neighbouring towns of Ballycastle and Bushmills.

Things to do nearby:

  • Dive into the captivating history and cinematic ties of local coastal gems. Ballintoy Harbour (7 mins away), recognised by “Game of Thrones” enthusiasts as the Iron Islands, presents breathtaking views and an immersive experience in the show’s filming locations.
  • Additionally, Ballycastle Beach offers a serene escape only 15 minutes away. Then unwind after your refreshing beach walk at a cozy cafe like Babushka Kitchen Café in Ballycastle, where they serve delicious artisan foods and drinks.

The Best Irish Beaches for Scenic Winter Walks - Portstewart, Derry LondonderryPortstewart Strand photo by Catherine Auld

10 of the Best Irish Beaches for Scenic Winter Walks #2

Portstewart Strand, Derry/Londonderry.

With its extensive sandy beach, Portstewart Strand offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. Perfect for a brisk winter walk, the beach boasts a backdrop of dramatic dune, is family-friendly and will be of interest to Game of Thrones fans as it featured in the series. And after your wintery walk why not visit Morelli’s Gelato in Portstewart and sample one of their famous sundaes – sure it’s never too cold for ice-cream!

Things to do nearby:

  • Portrush’s East Strand (11 mins away) welcomes families and their furry companions throughout the year, providing expansive sandy stretches perfect for family outings and leisurely dog walks.
  • The Causeway Coastal Route where the world-renowned Giant’s Causeway stands proud (22 mins away), boasting its impressive hexagonal basalt columns. Nearby, the dramatic ruins of Dunluce Castle add an air of mystery and history to the stunning coastline. The castle also featured in the award-winning Game of Thrones series.


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10 of the Best Irish Beaches for Scenic Winter Walks #3

Rossnowlagh Beach, Donegal

Favoured by surfers, Rossnowlagh Beach boasts a long stretch of golden sand, providing a tranquil space for leisurely strolls and enjoying the crashing waves.

Things to do nearby:

  • Visitors can explore the historic Donegal Castle, marvel at the scenic beauty of the Slieve League Cliffs, some of Europe’s highest sea cliffs, or immerse themselves in the rich heritage at the Donegal Craft Village.
  • Adventure seekers can indulge in water sports like surfing or take leisurely walks along nearby coastal paths, soaking in the breathtaking views of the Wild Atlantic Way.
  • Nearby towns such as Ballyshannon (12 mins south) and Donegal Town (20 mins north) offer plenty of places to grab a bite from traditional pubs to cafés and restaurants. Aroma Coffee Shop & Mini Bakery at the Donegal Craft Village comes highly recommended for freshly brewed coffee and daily baked goodies.

10 of the Best Irish Beaches for Scenic Winter Walks #4

Curracloe Beach, Wexford

This Blue Flag beach enchants visitors with its vast expanse of fine sand backed by dunes. Curracloe Beach is perfect for families and dog-walkers, offering a serene winter retreat. Facilities at the beach entrances include toilets, showers, café and shop, along with plenty of parking.

Things to do nearby:

  • Visitors can explore the enchanting Raven Nature Reserve, ideal for birdwatching and enjoying serene woodland walks.
  • History enthusiasts can visit the historic Tintern Abbey, a Cistercian abbey surrounded by beautiful gardens and walking trails.
  • Wexford Town (17 mins away) invites exploration with its vibrant atmosphere, historic sites like the Irish National Heritage Park, lively pubs, and artisanal craft shops.
  • Nature lovers can also venture into nearby forests such as the Wexford Wildfowl Reserve (15 mins away).

Further Reading: Captivated By Beautiful Curracloe Beach In Co. Wexford

The Best Irish Beaches for Scenic Winter Walks - Inch Beach, KerryInch Beach, Kerry photo by Dahlia E. Akhaine

10 of the Best Irish Beaches for Scenic Winter Walks #5

Inch Beach, Kerry

Nestled on the Dingle Peninsula, Inch Beach showcases breathtaking views of mountains and sea. Its long sandy shoreline provides ample space for leisurely walks against a stunning backdrop.

Things to do nearby:

  • The stunning Dingle Peninsula offers scenic drives with breathtaking coastal views, leading to charming villages like Dingle town, where visitors can sample delicious seafood, visit local shops, and experience traditional Irish music in cozy pubs.
  • Nature enthusiasts can explore the Dingle Way Walking Trail, taking in the rugged beauty and panoramic vistas of the peninsula.
  • The striking landscapes of Slea Head Drive showcase ancient ruins, such as the Dunbeg Fort, providing insight into Ireland’s rich history.

Further Reading: The Ultimate Ireland Road Trip – The Ring of Kerry

The Best Irish Beaches for Scenic Winter Walks Brittas Bay WicklowBrittas Bay, Wicklow photo by Melissa O’Neill

10 of the Best Irish Beaches for Scenic Winter Walks #6

Brittas Bay, Wicklow

Brittas Bay boasts a Blue Flag beach, offering a peaceful escape with its dunes and clean, sandy shores. It’s an ideal spot for family outings and peaceful winter walks. For those seeking adventure, Brittas Bay is ideal for water sports like swimming, surfing and stand-up paddle boarding, while its soft sandy beaches offer a serene ambiance for sunbathing or beachcombing – the later during warm weather days.

Things to do nearby:

  • The scenic Wicklow Mountains National Park offers fantastic hiking trails, providing stunning views of the surrounding landscapes.
  • History buffs can visit Glendalough, an ancient monastic site nestled in a picturesque valley with its famous round tower and serene lakeside setting.
  • The nearby Mount Usher Gardens present an idyllic escape with its beautifully landscaped gardens, perfect for leisurely strolls.
  • And the charming town of Wicklow offers quaint cafes and artisanal shops.

Further Reading: Brunch at Grangecon Kitchen, Dining Outdoors in Wicklow

The Best Irish Beaches for Scenic Winter Walks - Lahinch Beach ClareLahinch Beach Clare photo by P J K

10 of the Best Irish Beaches for Scenic Winter Walks #7

Lahinch Beach, Clare

Known for its excellent surf, Lahinch Beach also offers captivating views of the Atlantic and the Cliffs of Moher in the distance, providing a picturesque setting for winter strolls.

Things to do nearby:

  • Lahinch village offers a vibrant atmosphere with charming pubs hosting live traditional Irish music sessions, complemented by delightful local dining options.
  • The majestic Cliffs of Moher, (12 mins away), present awe-inspiring views of the Atlantic Ocean, providing an unforgettable experience. For a touch of history, O’Brien’s Tower at the cliffs offers a glimpse into the region’s past.
  • Adventure seekers can explore the Burren region, known for its unique limestone landscape, hiking trails, and ancient archaeological sites such as Poulnabrone Dolmen.
  • Drive thirty minutes from LaHinch and you’ll find Fr Ted’s House at ‘Poulnalour, Cloon, Co. Clare‘. Go on, go on, go on.
  • Nearby, the charming village of Doolin invites visitors to experience traditional Irish music in its cozy pubs or embark on boat trips to the Aran Islands or the captivating sea caves.


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10 of the Best Irish Beaches for Scenic Winter Walks #8

Ballycastle Beach, Mayo

This Blue Flag beach offers a mix of pebbles and sand, surrounded by stunning cliffs. There are a number of stunning Blue Flag beaches (12) in Mayo and on Achill Island, particularly Keem Beach on the later. However we’re featuring Ballycastle Beach, which has often been said to be Mayo North’s secret gem, for its peaceful location nestled between the Céide Fields and Downpatrick Head – which is actually visible from the strand. A wonderful spot for enjoying the raw beauty of Ireland’s western coastline.

Things to do nearby:

  • Ballycastle village itself exudes a tranquil charm, offering a relaxing retreat for visitors exploring the area around Ballycastle Beach. June’s Cafe is a known favourite and Healy’s Pub showcases the villages musical talents by means of Traditional Irish Music sessions,
  • The iconic Downpatrick Head, (9 mins away), features striking sea stacks, the impressive Dun Briste sea stack, and panoramic views of the rugged coastline.
  • Adventure seekers can enjoy exhilarating coastal walks and witness the natural beauty of the Ceide Fields, an ancient Neolithic site offering insights into Ireland’s prehistoric heritage.
  • The historic ruins of Rosserk Abbey and Moyne Abbey are nearby, providing a glimpse into Ireland’s medieval past.

Further Reading: Destination Westport, Co. Mayo: 10 Family Friendly Things to Do

The Best Irish Beaches for Scenic Winter Walks - Renvyle, Connemara, Co. GalwayRenvyle, Connemara, Co. Galway Photo by Ingo Doerrie

10 of the Best Irish Beaches for Scenic Winter Walks #9

Renvyle Beach, Connemara, Galway

Renvyle Beach in Connemara, Galway, stands out as one of Ireland’s premier winter walking destinations due to its rugged beauty and serene atmosphere during the colder months. Its expansive sandy shoreline against a backdrop of stunning coastal landscapes offers an idyllic setting for tranquil strolls, providing ample space for contemplation and connection with nature.

The beach’s secluded location along the Wild Atlantic Way ensures a peaceful escape, allowing visitors to relish the raw beauty of the Connemara coast while enjoying the invigorating winter air.

Things to do nearby:

  • The nearby Renvyle Peninsula boasts captivating coastal walks along the Wild Atlantic Way, offering stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and surrounding landscapes.
  • History buffs can explore the ruins of Renvyle Castle (5 mins away), an ancient stronghold with a rich past and breathtaking views of the coastline.
  • For nature enthusiasts, the Connemara National Park showcases diverse flora and fauna amid the awe-inspiring Twelve Bens mountain range, providing excellent hiking opportunities.
  • Visitors can also discover the charming villages of Letterfrack and Tullycross, offering traditional Irish hospitality, local crafts, and eateries. Paddy Coyne’s Pub in Tullycross is known to serve up a great chowder.

Further Reading: Unearth Connemara’s Hidden Gem: Gengowla Mines Galway

The Best Irish Beaches for Scenic Winter Walks - Sandymount DublinSandymount, Dublin Photo by Paul Costello

10 of the Best Irish Beaches for Scenic Winter Walks #10

Sandymount Strand, Dublin

Sandymount Strand in Dublin is ideal for winter walks due to its vast expanse of sandy shores offering picturesque views of Dublin Bay. The tranquil atmosphere and scenic beauty during the quieter winter months create an ideal setting for leisurely strolls along the coastline.

With its close proximity to the city center and the stunning backdrop of the Poolbeg Chimneys, Sandymount Strand provides an accessible yet serene escape, making it one of Ireland’s best beaches for peaceful winter walks.

Things to do nearby:

  • The Sandymount Promenade offers scenic walks and panoramic views of Dublin Bay, making it perfect for leisurely strolls or jogging along the coast.
  • Nature enthusiasts can explore the nearby Merrion Strand, an area known for birdwatching and serene beach walks.
  • A short distance away lies the historic Martello Tower at Sandymount, providing a glimpse into Ireland’s military past and offering picturesque views of the bay.
  • The vibrant village of Sandymount boasts of a number of charming cafes and local shops. Brownes of Sandymount is a cozy café that offers delicious breakfasts and brunches – perfect for warming up after a winter walk.

Further Reading: The 5 Best Romantic Walks and Strolls in Dublin City

Wrapping Up – ‘Best Irish Beaches for Scenic Winter Walks’

Winter unveils a serene and contemplative ambiance along Ireland’s diverse coastlines. Whether you explore the dramatic shores of Northern Ireland or revel in the picturesque beaches of Southern Ireland, these ten beaches only scratch the surface of moments of tranquility and natural beauty along Ireland’s coastline during the winter months.

Exploration Beyond the Beaches Highlighted:

Remember to explore nearby attractions like the enchanting village of Doolin along the Wild Atlantic Way in Clare or immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of Slieve League Cliffs in Donegal for a holistic coastal experience.

Venture south to the Copper Coast in Waterford, offering panoramic views and intriguing geological formations. Or embrace the tranquility of Inchydoney Beach in Cork, known for its picturesque scenery and surfing opportunities.

PIN: 10 of the Best Irish Beaches for Scenic Winter Walks

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