Whatever your preference sandy, stoney, windswept or secluded Dublin has some wonderful beaches to explore. You can reach most of these by public transport on the DART which happens to run along the coastine and makes for some great day trips from the city centre. It also makes for a wonderful outdoor family friendly activity. Some of my favourite shorelines are listed below just remember to bring your bucket and spade.
Dollymount strand is located just north of the city limits of Dublin city. It is a very long beach with Bull Island nature reserve in the hinterland. Bull island is a UNESCO biosphere reserve and a bird sanctuary and several other designations which afford it long-term protection. It is a great spot for a bit of kitesurfing also.
The village of Portmarnock is just north of Howth. The strand affords views of Howth Head and the little offshore island called Ireland’s Eye. Summer will find Portmarnock beach packed with locals pretending they are in a much warmer climate and even swimming in what has to be consistently cold water. This is a great place for a good outdoor session, so take a frisbee or football with you. On breezy days, Portmarnock is a fine spot for a long bracing walk.
Close to the city centre, and accessible on the DART (Dublin’s light rail system), Sandymount Strand is a long expanse of fine sand. The tide goes out almost two miles at its lowest point and so this is a favourite spot for those seeking space and freedom from the city. Not great for swimming or bathing because of quickly changing tides, it remains an excellent location for walking or running. The strand even has a literary claim to fame: it was a favourite haunt of James Joyce, featuring in the opening chapter of Ulysses.
The name Skerries comes from the Norse word sceir, meaning reef or rocky islands. Skerries is situated in North County Dublin with easy access from the M50 and M1 motorways. Skerries North Strand is a covelike beach 1.2 km in length, adjoining the beautiful harbour area and Red Island Coastal Walkway. There are a number of pedestrian accesses to the beach. There are two public toilet facilities closeby. On a clear day the North Antrim coast can be seen quite clearly from the beach with a fantastic view of the Mountains of Mourne.
Killiney blue flag beach is a stony beach about 800m in length. The beach is sheltered and suitable for bathing and swimming. Take care though as there is a gentle gradient on the beach that allows the water to gradually get deep from the shore. When your here make sure to climb Killiney Hill for stunning views of Dublin.
[Image Courtesy of Jkavo]