8 Of The Best Outdoor Swimming Spots in Ireland


This summer has been amazing so far in Ireland and because of that, outdoor swimming has been super popular. A trip to Ireland doesn’t always conjure up images of lazy beach days and sunshine but this summer it really has been just that.

If you are heading to the Emerald Isle for a holiday or are already here then you’ll definitely want to read about 8 of the best outdoor swimming spots in Ireland below.

Pack those swimmers and some suncream and get into it!

1.The Forty Foot, Sandycove, Co Dublin

Always popular with the Dublin city dwellers this outdoor swimming spot is easy to reach meaning the rocky outcrop does get busy on sunny days, but its a great spot to jump in, cool off and have a swim.

If the waters having a choppy day you could always make the 20 meter walk to the more protected Sandycove beach which tends not to bare the brunt as much.

There is a Christmas Day tradition for thosands of people to jump into the water at The Forty Foot, lets just say I think I’d prefer a hot and sunny August day myself but its your call!

2.Pollock Holes, Kilkee, Co Clare

This area is a large network of tidal pools with beautiful, crystal clear waters often containing an abundance of fish. The tidal pools are really fun to dip in and out of, spot wildlife and cool off from the sun.

Make sure you check the tidal times because you don’t want to arrive and be disappointed that they are totally submerged by the ocean.

3.Derrynane, Co Derry

This is a beautiful, natural spot that is rarely busy and feels so peaceful that it is a must visit if you like outdoor swimming.

The sheltered beach has a blue flag award, white-sand, calm and shallow water and at the western end there is a small jetty that you’ll find children love leaping from.

A tiny peninsula divides the eastern and western beach with an ancient abbey and graveyard, oh and there is a pub! Need I persuade you more?

4.Keron’s Hole, Co Clare

This rocky outdoor swimming spot has been a firm favourite with locals for decades but sadly over the years the wild Atlantic sea had washed away the rocks that made an easy access into the sea and made it quite a dangerous spot.

In 2014 the locals decided it was time to do something about this and raised enough money for an engineering job on the cliffs. The new cliff access opened in 2015 and remains a fabulous spot for a dip.

5.The Cove, Clare Island, Co Mayo

Hop on a short ferry journey from Roonah Point on the mainland to this small inhabited island to enjoy some of Irelands finest outdoor swimming here at The Cove on Clare Island.

Dolphins are often spotted on this beautiful ferry ride too.

Once you’ve arrived you’ll need to walk through unmarked but picturesque landscapes to reach the cove so be prepared and take a map with you.

Once you’ve arrived though the journey will have so been worth it; think deep, crystal blue waters with staggering views back towards islet-pocked Clew Bay. Plus you’re likely to be the only ones swimming in this beautiful setting, its really quite magical.

6.Belmullet Tidal Pool, County Mayo

Tidal pools are sparse in Ireland, probably because the weather doesn’t always get hot enough to dive in, but when it does (and it really has this summer!) then this is a great little spot.

This modest tidal pool is simple yet perfect for a spot of outdoor swimming, it is 20m long with a smaller pool next to it for the little ones to splash around in with beautiful views out to the sea.

7.Portocloy, Co Mayo

Not only is there a picture perfect beach at Portocloy which is enough alone to draw you in for some outdoor swimming, just a short distance up the coast you’ll find you will see signs for a walking route, go beyond these signs and you’ll reach a gentle flowing waterfall that is incredibly beautiful to swim in.

8.Carrick-a-Rede, Co Antrim

Lastly we come to one for the stronger swimmers who fancy a challenge.

This kilometer long swim between Larrybane Bay and Carrick-a-Rede island is as dramatic as it is beautiful.

Many tourists cross the famous rope bridge to the island yet you’ll be the one smimming right under it.

There are rocky outcrops and tidal currents in this area so you really should only attempt this if you know what you are doing.