TripAdvisor has released the results of their annual Travellers Choice “Best Beaches” survey and Banna Strand in County Kerry topped the poll, the number one beach for 2017.
Each year TripAdvisor lists the “best beaches” in Ireland from the reviews left by travelers who use their website. County Kerry features prominently on the list this year with four of the top six beaches in Ireland. Inchydoney beach in County Cork has been acknowledged as the best beach for the past three years, but in 2017 it finds itself in second place.
Curracloe Beach in County Wexford is the only beach from the east coast of the country to make the list, leaving no place for counties Dublin, Waterford, Wicklow, etc.
Strandhill, Coumeenoole and Dog’s Bay were the only beaches on the list this year that did not receive the Blue Flag bathing status in 2016. This accolade ensures that beaches and marinas comply with a specific set of criteria outlined by the 2006 EU Bathing Water Directive. In Ireland, this program is funded by the the Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government and operated by An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland.
1. Banna Strand, Co Kerry
Top of the list is the beautiful Banna Strand in County Kerry. This Blue Flag beach extends for miles to the northwest of Tralee. Perfect for surfing, visitors can avail of lessons and summer camps to hone their skills. If that isn’t your cup of tea then a nice relaxing stroll on the sand could be just what you need, just wait till the tide is out.
The many sand dunes that dot the beach are the perfect shelter for a family picnic. With such a vast amount of shoreline to choose from don’t worry about those inevitable crowds in the summer, there’ll be plenty of places to sit and relax.
TripAdvisor reviews have described Banna Strand as beautiful, stunning and a little piece of heaven.
2. Inchydoney Beach, Co Cork
This Blue Flag beach found itself as the number one beach in Ireland for the previous three years. This year Inchydoney beach has been ranked second but is still a favorite among many. This family-friendly beach near the town of Clonakilty, is located right beside the award-winning Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa, which overlooks the beach, making it a favorite for couple's weekends and weddings as well.
Surfers and kayakers are frequently seen catching waves and roaming the sea with lessons and equipment rentals available for visitors. Reviews for Inchydoney Beach on TripAdvisor describe it as "stunning," "heaven" and "ideal for a refreshing break." TripAdvisor still rates it as the best thing to do in Clonakilty, so it’s still number one.
3. Derrynane Beach, Co Kerry
Derrynane Beach is the second Blue Flag beach from County Kerry to make the list this year. This beach is located just off the Ring of Kerry route, near the town of Caherdaniel in the south west of the county.
This sandy beach is sheltered by a natural harbor, which is most welcome while out walking on a windy day. It is described by TripAdvisor users as a stunning location.
4. Inch Beach, Co Kerry
Inch Beach is the third entry from County Kerry. Don’t let the name fool you, this Blue Flag beach is by no means small. This sandy beach spans 5km (3 miles) in length and is nestled between Dingle Harbour and Castlemaine Harbour.
The surrounding area provides the ideal location for watersports and fishing and also has many walking routes. The Dingle Peninsula has been used as a location in many movies. The Oscar-winning movie ‘Ryan’s Daughter’ (1970) had a famous scene filmed on Inch Beach, where the two main characters are seen riding horses along the coastline.
Reviews for Inch Beach on TripAdvisor describe it as wild and windy "a beach worthy of the Gold Coast, but a bit colder."
5. Strandhill, Co Sligo
Strandhill in County Sligo is one of Ireland’s top destinations for surfing. Visitors descend on Strandhill for the big waves, clean surf and sandy beach. With surfing so prominent in the area, there are many surf schools for people to take advantage of and beginners can learn the basics.
With 4km (2.5 miles) of sandy beach to enjoy Strandhill isn’t just for surfers. If that isn’t your thing then kick off your shoes and go for a relaxing stroll away from the big swells and take in the scenery around massive sand dunes.
As reviewers on TripAdvisor note, this is a breathtaking place where you can enjoy the Atlantic at its best.
6. Coumeenoole Beach, Co Kerry
Back to Dingle and the final entry on the list from County Kerry. This small beach experiences the full force of the Atlantic Ocean allowing for dramatic currents which make it unsafe for swimming.
However, what makes this beach special is the beautiful landscape. A short distance off the coast are the Blasket Islands which are in full view from the coastline. Many visitors take the Slea Head Drive coastal route and take in all the sights.
TripAdvisor reviews describe Coumeenoole beach as a beauty to behold.
7. Barleycove Beach, Co Cork
Barleycove Beach is County Cork’s second entry on TripAdvisor's “Best Beaches” list for 2017. This Blue Flag beach is located in the south west of the county between two headlands on the Mizen Peninsula.
The beach is known for its extensive sand dune system, which is said to be a result of a tsunami that occurred off the coast of Lisbon, Portugal in 1755. There is also a small river which runs through the south of the beach and into the sea.
The TripAdvisor reviewers love the golden sand and clear blue water.
8. Curracloe Beach, Co Wexford
This is certainly one of the longer beaches to make the list. Curracloe beach is a Blue Flag recipient and stretches 11km (7 miles) along the east coast in County Wexford with three main entrances at Ballinsker/White Gap/Culletons Gap.
Parts of the beach have very large sand dunes that visitors climb and then roll down, although it is mostly children who take part in the rolling. Curracloe Beach is also the location where the Oscar-winning movie the ‘Saving Private Ryan’ (1998) D-Day landings scenes were shot.
The reviews on TripAdvisor describe this beach as spectacular.
9. Narin/Portnoo beach, Co Donegal
Narin/Portnoo beach is a 2km (1.2 miles) beach along the west coast of County Donegal. This Blue Flag beach affords visitors tremendous panoramic views. Just off the coast there is a small island, Inishkeel, which can be reached on foot during low tide. People can explore this small island where the remains of two churches are still present.
Inishkeel has been named a National Monument and is where St Conall Cael founded a monastery during the 6th century. The sand dunes which make up a lot of this part of the coast have been designated a National Heritage Area (NHA) due to the diverse range of the coastal and terrestrial habitats.
The reviews from TripAdvisor confirm Narin/Portnoo is a stunning stop on the Wild Atlantic Way.
10. Dog’s Bay Beach, Co Galway
Dog’s Bay Beach in County Galway is more than a mile long and runs back-to-back with Gurteen Beach forming a tombolo which extends out into the Atlantic Ocean. Dog’s Bay Beach is naturally protected by the headland and is an ideal location for visitors to enjoy watersports like windsurfing and kitesurfing.
Unlike a lot of beaches across Ireland, Dog’s Bay’s sand consists of fragments of seashells, as opposed to limestone. These seashells allow for its white color. The machair vegetation which inhabits the the surrounding area is considered rare and is only found on Ireland’s west coast and Scotland.
Located near the small town of Roundstone in Connemara, TripAdvisor users have described this beach as one of the most beautiful in Ireland.
What is your favourite beach in Ireland? Let us know in the comments below.