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Best Beaches in Cork

County Cork boasts a spectacularly jagged coastline which continues for over 1,100km. Nestled between the many rugged cliffs are natural harbours and dozens of beautiful sandy beaches. Here are some of my favourite beaches in Cork to take the kids to:

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Claycastle and Redbarn beaches in Youghal

There are public toilets and parking at both as well as lifeguards during the summer.

Garryvoe Beach, Youghal/East Cork

Garryvoe is a mixed pebble beach overlooking Ballycotton Bay. The most direct way to approach it by car is the leave the N25 at Castlemartyr Village, and follow the R632 to Garryvoe. Public parking and toilets are provided adjacent to the beach and a lifeguards are on duty during the summer months. Wheelchair access is provided.

Garrylucas Beach, Kinsale area

Garrylucas is a sandy beach with sand dunes in part. It is located beside the R604 road and adjacent to Kilcolman Marsh and the Old Head of Kinsale, and a short distance from Ballinspittle by car. Public parking and toilets are provided adjacent to the beach, and lifeguards are on duty during the summer season. Access to the beach is by ramps and steps.

Inchydoney Beach, Clonakilty area

inchydoney beach

Inchydoney is a sandy beach, located on Inchydoney Island a few miles from Clonakilty. Public parking and toilets are provided adjacent to the beach, and life guards are on duty in the summer season. Access to the beach is by ramps and steps.

Owenahincha Beach, Clonakilty area

Owenahincha is a sandy beach that backs onto sand dunes. The main route to approach the beach is from Clonakilty on the N71. Turn off at Burgatia Cross onto the R598, which leads down to the beach. It is an exposed beach, and the sea can be quite rough at times. Public car parking and public toilet facilities are provided at the beach. Life guards are on duty during the bathing season. There is a short, pleasant cliff walk between the Warren Strand and Owenahincha.

Warren Beach, Rosscarbery/Clonakilty

Warren Beach is a sandy beach located at the mouth of Rosscarbery Bay and accessed by turning off the N71 at Warren Cross. There is a pitch and putt club adjacent to the beach. Public car parking, toilet facilities and lifebuoys are provided at the beach. Life guards are on duty during the bathing season.

Tragumna Beach, Skibbereen

Tragumna is a sandy, sheltered beach, situated about four miles from Skibbereen. It can be reached by turning off the R596 at Abisdealy bridge and following the signs for Tragumna. Public car parking, toilet facilities and lifebuoys are provided at the beach. Life guards are on duty during the bathing season.

Barleycove Beach, Schull area

Barleycove is situated in the Mizen Peninsula, 22 kilometres south west of Schull. The site is situated between two headlands, and comprises an extensive sand dune system, with associated habitats at the rear of the dunes. A small river running through the dunes discharges to the sea at the south east of the site. On the southern side, the area is bounded by open sea. Public car parking, toilet facilities and lifebuoys are provided at the beach. Life guards are on duty during the bathing season.

beach rocks

Other popular beaches in County Cork include Roberts Cove, Myrtleville, and Silver Strand on Sherkin Island, Fountainstown near Crosshaven and Duneen in West Cork.

The majority of these beaches are quite well known and popular, but for those of you who are adventurous enough to go off the beaten track, there are plenty of ‘secret’ beaches to be found – some known only to locals, some that don’t even have names!

It may be necessary to cross fields etc on your quest to find your little piece of paradise, so please remember to respect other people’s property and take home any rubbish, leave gates how you found them and don’t let dogs off their leash if there are animals in the field.

Here’s to plenty of sunshine so that these beaches can be enjoyed to the fullest!!!

Article written by Noelle, mum of 3 from Cork.

Over to you now, what’s your favourite beach in Cork? Tell us in the comments below. 

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This website was created by Jill Holtz and Michelle Davitt, both of whom are mothers of young children. Jill and Michelle decided to create this resource themselves, and launched mykidstime.ie in 2007.