The Dingle Peninsula, jutting out of County Kerry into the Atlantic Ocean, is one of Ireland’s most beloved destinations for foreign tourists and Irish vacationers alike.
The western-most point in Ireland the peninsula takes up a mere 217 square miles, but don’t let its modest size fool you – Dingle offers an abundance of fun, beauty and must-see attractions.
With a world-renowned music and arts scene, a rich history, over 50 pubs and perennial favorites like Fungie the dolphin, the town of Dingle is a great jumping off point no matter what the season. The peninsula’s other towns and villages, including Ballyferriter, Ventry, Castlegregory and Anascaul, are also great bases for your travels around the area or stopping points along the way.
But the biggest draw – especially during the summer months – is without a doubt Dingle’s stunning beaches.
There are many stretches of smooth sand and rocky shore to choose from – some ideal for swimming and surfing, others better for strolling, picnics and exploring the dunes. Here are some of the most beautiful and family friendly.
Inch is one of the most popular beaches on the peninsula. A long sand spit stretching into the sea between Dingle Harbour and Castlemaine Harbour, it’s popular with surfers and swimmers alike. One of Ireland’s Blue Flag beaches (compliant with European standards for bathing water), it also has lifeguards in the summer months, making it a choice spot for families traveling with young children.
Famous as one of the locations in the film "Ryan’s Daughter" (1970), Coumeenole is a small beach near Slea Head. It boasts dramatic views, but also at times dramatic currents, which make it generally not recommended for swimming.
Right by the Gaeltacht village of Ventry and the peaceful Ventry Bay, Ventry Beach is another top spot for swimming. A long stretch of sand with a small dune system, Ventry is another Blue Flag beach and also has lifeguards in the summer. Ventry is also good for fishing.
Murreach is one of the Dingle beaches lesser-known to tourists. Located just four miles northwest of the town of Dingle, it is small, sheltered, and excellent for swimming.
Béal Bán, Wine Strand, and Smerwick
Nestled by Smerwick Harbour in the village of Ballyferriter, Béal Bán (White Mouth), Wine Strand and Smerwick beaches are very popular. Sheltered from the wind, they are prime spots for swimming, water sports, and cycling, and boast vistas of the Three Sisters. Béal Bán is known for its horse and pony races and was named a Green Coast beach of 2013 – the only beach in all of Kerry to hold such a distinction.
Aughacasla and Cappaclough Strands
These beautiful sandy beaches are part of the Dingle Way walking route but can also be enjoyed by themselves for swimming and angling. Both have summer caravan and camping sites nearby.
Fermoyle, Gowlane, Kilcummin, and Stradbally Strands
Stretching from Cloghane to the Magherees and bordering Brandon Bay near the North-East of the peninsula, these four strands go on for close to 10 miles – one of the longest stretches of beach in Ireland. Stradbally is especially great for swimming, surfing, and fishing. Gowlane is popular for its wind and kite surfing.
Three miles north of the lovely town of Castlegregory, Magherabeg Beach is a designated Special Area of Conservation and a great place to explore natural coastal wonders. Also a fine swimming spot, it is lifeguarded during the summer.
Where's your favorite beach in Ireland?
* Originally published summer 2014.