Marian Finucane Saturday 17 June 2017
Brendan is joined by blogger from Bumblesofrice.com - Sinead Fox.
My home county gets first speak.
Take a fortnight’s holiday on the Hook Peninsula and there’s a beach for every day according to the local travel leaflet of my youth. The popular spots for tourists are Duncannon (with a lifeguard on duty), and Carnivan but look for the smaller beaches with a little sign on a lane and you’ll have a much quieter experience, that’s where you’ll find the locals.
Sandeel Bay is one such beach, access is near Hookless Holiday Village, it’s a sheltered cove and safe for swimming, with great views out to the Saltee Islands on a clear day.
The kids will love Dollar Bay on the other side of the peninsula with its caves and rockpools and tales of buried treasure that has them digging all afternoon. More information here; https://hookpeninsula.com/beaches/
In North Wexford the obvious choice is Courtown but my favourite is the long stretch at Kilgorman (ask your Satnav to bring you to Kilgorman Holiday Park). Straight golden stretches of sand with three beaches (Clones, Kilgorman and Saleens) running for 2 miles.
Swimming is safe here and there are no facilities, but who needs them really?
While everyone else is on Ardmore or Clonea take some time out at Goat Island, a small sheltered cove great for swimming just 5km west of Ardmore.
Bunmahon is a great family spot with a playground right by the blue flag beach and a chipper straight across the road. There’s a lifeguard on duty in summer and toilets.
My Cork correspondents are killed telling me how amazing all their beaches are, and local knowledge recommends Silver Strand beach on Sherkin Island, taking the ferry from Baltimore. I’ve seen the photos of this and it looks like pure heaven.
Ballyrisode Beach is a sandy, sheltered beach, 11km west of Schull in West Cork. Great reports of soft sand and clear calm waters making it ideal for safe swimming for the family. No facilities.
The thing about Kerry beaches is you’re just surrounded by amazing views with mountains all around, and Kerry people telling you that they’re the best beaches ever.
Dún Síon east of Dingle- beautiful beach and less crowded than others in the area. The beach has stunning views and clear waters, but do take care of the riptide- swim on the right and it’s safe.
Derrynane beach, near Caherdaniel, and home of patriot Daniel O’Connell is another beautiful beach, at low tide you can walk to the island where Mary O’Connell (wife of the aforementioned Daniel is buried -he’s in Glasnevin himself)
There are lifeguards on duty in summer but follow the signs on the beach as there can be dangerous currents if you swim in the wrong places.
You’re spoiled for choice in Connemara – we loved Mannin Bay when we stayed in Clifden, clear water with lots of rock pools and some "secret beaches" if you follow your nose and turn off the road outside Ballyconneely down the dirt track. You’ll see cars parked in a field on the cliff and you’ll know you’re there. A walk across the clifftop fields and a gentle incline will bring you to a gorgeous beach that you won’t have to share with many. Again, no facilities.
Another recommendation is the beach on the East of Inis Bofin, clear waters and a view back to the whitewashed cottages on the shore as you swim.
Culeenamore- popular Strandhill is busy with surfers but not safe for swimmers, but at the end of the dunes, sheltered in the estuary with calm seas and wide beach is Culeenamore, nestled under Knocknarea. The beach is very unusual in that the sandbanks are fully exposed at low tide and completely submerged at full tide.
Ards Forest Park has several beaches in beautiful setting along the peninsula and with the added bonus of the facilities of the park including toilets and teashop.
Murlough beach comes highly recommended, it has lifeguard and facilities, but it’s the views that make it spectacular at the edge of the Mourne Mountains (It was even featured in Game of Thrones). That and the dune system with over 600 species of butterfly make it one not to miss. 5 km from Newcastle.
Tower Bay near Portrane is the local’s choice,with views from Rockabill Lighthouse around to Howth. Smaller than other local beaches and secluded, lifeguard in summer, coastal walk from Donabate to Portrane. Parking and 15 minutes’ walk from Dublin Bus 33B from Swords.
Avoid the queues at Brittas and go to nearby Maghermore Beach, about six miles south of Wicklow town near Blainroe Golf Club. There’s a short walk (depending on what you’re carrying) and steps down but once you’re there you won’t leave the gorgeous sandy beach with clear shallow water making it ideal for families and safe swimming.
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