When you stay at Killarney’s Holiday Village, you are within an hour’s drive of the best beaches in Ireland. With a magnificent coastline carved by the Atlantic into a series of bays and coves lined with silken sand and sparkling waves, Kerry has a breath-taking array of beaches. Whether your focus is family picnics with buckets and spades or long walks hand in hand, the beaches of Kerry offer something for everyone.
If you’re travelling to Dingle from Killarney, you will be struck by the sight of a vast expanse of white sand stretching beneath you as you ascend the cliff road beyond Boolteens village. This is Inch, a 7km beach slapped by Atlantic waves that make it a popular venue for surfers. A superb strand of firm golden sand, backed by sand hills, the beach was immortalised in David Lean’s 1970 movie, Ryan’s Daughter. It is safe for swimming and presents a breath-taking panorama of crystalline water cradled by mountains on either side for the walker.
Take a break from your Ring of Kerry tour and relax on Derrynane Blue Flag beach, about 2km from Caherdaniel. Situated next to a nationally significant Natural Heritage Area and Derrynane National Park, the beach is safe and sheltered in a natural harbour and sparkles with white sand. Derrynane is ideal for family fun, swimming, walking, and watersports, although a clearly marked section of the beach is not suitable for swimming due to dangerous currents. This beach has lifeguards in summer. At low tide, walk to nearby Abbey Island, where the wife of Daniel “the Liberator” O’Connell is buried. You can also walk to Derrynane House, which is open to the public.
A family favourite for years, Rossbeigh is a delightful beach five minutes’ drive from Glenbeigh, on the Ring of Kerry. Offering 5 km of soft sand looping around a wall of dunes facing Dingle Bay, the beach is ideal for swimming, walking, kite flying, and horse riding. It is patrolled by lifeguards during the summer months. Kids have the perfect canvas for building sandcastles, and if they want a break from the beach, there’s an excellent playground beside it.
Banna Beach is a spectacular strand situated just 12 km from Tralee town. Stretching from Ballyheigue Beach in the north to Barrow Beach in the south, it is backed by sand dunes along its entire length, rising to heights of 12 metres at certain points. As well as sheltered sand and sparkling waves, Banna offers lovely views of the mountains of the Dingle Peninsula and is a favourite spot for Tralee residents in summer. It also has strong historic associations, with the capture of Roger Casement here in 1916, after he landed from a German U-boat following an attempt to secure arms for Irish republicans.
Another inclusion in our best beaches in Kerry is Ballybunion, a popular seaside resort with three spectacular beaches to choose from. The section from the castle to the Cashen is particularly peaceful, stretching between Ballybunion Golf Course and the soothing Atlantic. The other two beaches are called Ladies Beach and The Nun’s Strand, with both located beneath the cliffs of Doneen. Ladies Beach is the most popular, although the caves scattered across the cliffs can be dangerous, particularly at high tide. The Nun’s Strand (named after the adjacent convent) is a lovely little beach, if difficult to reach since the relentless Atlantic wore away the paths leading to it. Ballybunion beaches are favourites with surfers, kayakers, and swimmer, with lifeguards patrolling in season.
Have we left out your favourite Kerry beach? Let us know in the comment section below!