Best Wild & Sea Swimming Spots in Ireland

Best Wild & Sea Swimming Spots in Ireland

At Wild & Free, we are passionate about encouraging people to embrace the outdoors and enjoy the wellness benefits of time in nature. Sea swimming is a fantastic way to nurture positive mental health, and Ireland, with its stunning coastline, offering some of the best sea swimming spots in the world.

There is no other feeling like being immersed in the open water! In addition to the mental and physical benefits of sea swimming, there is a wonderful sense of community amongst open water swimmers, whether they are beginners, occasional swimmers, or daily dippers.

As a way to build connection with a new tribe, sea swimming is a great way to bond with others and get out of your heads completely, lost in the moment, focusing on your breath and the exhilaration of feeling fully alive.

We've curated a list of our top 20 sea swimming locations across the country, perfect for our Wild Tribe community based in Ireland or those who are coming to visit soon. Each spot is unique, offering beautiful landscapes, clear waters, and a sense of adventure. Dive into our list and discover your next favourite swim spot!

As always, it’s worth remembering that if you are swimming anywhere new to always swim safe!

How to swim safe:

  • Don’t jump into water you have not checked for depth and obstructions
  • Make sure you know how you will get out before you get in
  • Never swim alone and keep a constant watch on weak swimmers
  • Come prepared with warm clothes for before and after a swim
  • Never swim in urban rivers, stagnant lakes or reedy shallows
  • Wear footwear if you can 


It was very difficult to get this down to 20, and we welcome debate and to hear your favourites (maybe the hidden gems will make list 2!), but here is our Wild & Free round-up of our current favourite swimming spots in Ireland:

1. Forty Foot, Dublin
Dublin's most famous swimming spot needs no introduction. If jumping into the open sea is your thing, the Forty Foot is the place to visit. People have been swimming at this promontory on the southern tip of Dublin Bay for 250 years. Come rain or shine, it's loyal fans visit the Forty Foot 365 days a year. Made famous by James Joyce in ‘Ulysses’ and named one of the top 10 swimming spots in the world by the New York Times, the Forty Foot is a sea swimming experience like no other.
Google Maps Link

2. Seapoint Beach, Dublin
One of Dublin’s most popular swimming hotspots, Seapoint is a go-to pool at high tide and the perfect place to swim all year round due to its sheltered location. Seapoint’s location is its biggest draw. Located on the east coast means early birds are treated to stunning sunrises on clear days. It is easily accessible with one of the city’s most scenic cycle routes and the train line running along the coast.
Google Maps Link

3. Claremont Beach, Howth

North Dublin has also got its fair share of stunning beaches. We have chosen Claremont beach in Howth, because of the amazing options for post swim lunches and bites in gorgeous Howth, but equally portmarnock and skerries have gorgeous swim spots.  A short stroll from Howth DART Station, Claremont is a gorgeous sandy beach with views of Ireland’s Eye, an uninhabited island off the coast of Dublin Bay. Tucked in close to Howth Harbour, the beach is perfect for a dip, kite surfing or just walking the dog. 
Google Maps Link

4. Brittas Bay, Co. Wicklow
Famous for its extensive sandy beach and dunes, Brittas Bay is perfect for a long, refreshing swim, and if heading in summer, we suggest an early morning swim before it gets too busy.
Google Maps Link

5. Belmullet Tidal Pool, Co. Mayo
This natural tidal pool offers a unique swimming experience, surrounded by rugged coastal beauty.  With magnificent views of Blacksod Bay, Belmullet Tidal Pool offers a swim with a difference. At approximately 20m in length and filled by high tide water, the swimming pool has two areas. It has a smaller shallow pool for younger adventurers. It also has a larger pool which has a gentle slope that provides a shallow and deep end. Both ends are accessible with ladders.

The pool is free and can be accessed all year round, if you are brave enough! However please note that there are only life guards on duty during July and August. 

Google Maps Link

6. Glassilaun Beach, Co.Galway

This white sand beach in Connemara is set to the backdrop of impressive mountains and has the clearest turquoise waters. This perfect beach is a dream swimming location and you'll find it between Renvyle and Leenane so once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to the Misunderstood Heron food truck for a post swim feast with the most spectacular view of Killary Fjord.
Google Maps Link


7. Barleycove Beach, Co. Cork
Situated near Mizen Head, this golden beach located between Goleen and Crookhaven is a place with many happy memories of idyllic summer days.  Afterwards head to the award-winning O’Sullivan’s Bar for a warm welcome. This dog-friendly, traditional pub serves a classic crab sandwich, delicious chowder and a great pint of Guinness. Grab a table inside if its nippy or by the sea edge to drink in the views.
Google Maps Link

8. Lahinch Beach, Co. Clare
This surfing hotspot on the Wild Atlantic Way is by the lively and welcoming seaside town of Lahinch and is also a great swimming spot when the water is flat. The flooding tide turns the crescent shaped sandy beach into a wonderful swimming pool complete with slip-ways that lead straight into the water.

At high tide on a calm day, glide into the Atlantic and enjoy a swim in the beautiful Liscannor Bay. Its westerly location makes it a great spot for a sunset swim.

The currents can be strong, but there is a lifeguard service during the summer months, and zoning of the beach helps with safety concerns.

Google Maps Link

9. Pollock Holes, Kilkee, Co. Clare
These natural tidal pools on the Loop Head Peninsula are a favourite swimming spot and perfect for a safe and enjoyable swim, surrounded by stunning coastal scenery.   Located on the West End of Kilkee in Duggerna Reef, access is from the car park beside the Diamond Rocks Café. Be prepared for some seaweed and some serious refreshment!

Google Maps Link

10. Inch Beach, Co. Kerry
Stretching for miles, Inch Beach is perfect for a long swim and enjoying the breathtaking views. It is a haven for water sports, with surf school options and great kite surfing as well as swimming. There are some rips though so if you are not confident stay in the lifeguard area. There are also local pubs and cafés post swim.

Google Maps Link

11. Portnablagh Harbour, Co. Donegal
With its stone pier, soft sand and stunning views of Horn Head, this little horseshoe beach at Portnablagh is stunning and perfect for a dip no matter how high the tide is. If Fire & Ice is your thing, Cocoon Sauna on the pier is great for post swim heat for a complete wellness experience. Portnablagh is also just a great social spot, to met great people and enjoyed the chats in the sauna and some pier jumping together.

Google Maps Link

12. Portstewart Strand, Co. Derry
One of our favourite sandy beaches with gentle waves, perfect for swimmers of all levels and a fantastic family day out. Enjoy the very best of seafood in one of our favourites, Harrys Shack for post swim coffee, lunch or a cheeky beer!
Google Maps Link

13. Ballintoy Harbour, Co. Antrim
Fans of HBOs Game of Thrones may recognise Ballintoy Harbour as the Iron Islands of Thrones famous landscape and for sea swimmers it offers the most picturesque harbour setting with crystal clear waters, ideal for a tranquil swim in one of the countries most stunning settings. And the little tea rooms are perfect for post swim goodies or head for a bowl of Strangford mussels at The Fullerton Arms on Ballintoys Main Street.

Google Maps Link

14. Portballintrae Harbour, Antrim
A special one for us as this is where the inspiration for Wild & Free was born. A perfect family spot, lots of group and early morning swimming, paddleboarding and general summer frivolities.  Another beautiful harbour with clear waters and scenic views, perfect for a refreshing swim.
Google Maps Link


15. Dunservick Falls, Bushmills, Co. Antrim
Feels pretty special jumping in for a dip in front of the beautiful falls, albeit small, this is definitely a little hidden gem if you want a more secluded swim. Expect to trek over some fields to get to this one, but a little hidden gem and nature at its best.
Google Maps Link

16. Gortin Lakes, Co. Tyrone / Co. Fermanagh Border
If you enjoy strolling through stunning landscapes, you’ll love the route up to the lakes. It’s a relatively short (0.6 miles approx) and steady trail, leading you onto the lakes. The lakes are located in an area of outstanding beauty and the serene lakes offer a unique freshwater swimming experience surrounded by beautiful landscapes.
Google Maps Link

17. Muckross Bay, Kesh, Lough Erne

No list of swimming spots would be complete without Lough Erne, set in the heart of the Fermanagh Lakelands. Peppered with 154 islands, there is plenty of gentle shoreline here where you can take steps into the water. Muckross Bay is one of the most popular areas around Co.Fermanagh where wild swimmers come together. 

Google Maps Link

18. Helen's Bay Beach, Co. Down

On this stunning coastline, Helens Bay is a beautiful sheltered beach with calm waters, perfect for a peaceful swim in a beautiful setting. This is a regular sea swim spot for locals and swim groups alike and you are close to Crawfordsburn Country park if you want a post swim walk or coffee.
Google Maps Link

19. Murlough Beach, Newcastle, Down
Where the beautiful Mourne Mountains sweep down to the sea, Murlough beach and nature reserve is stunning and ideal for a swim surrounded by natural beauty.
Google Maps Link

20 Ballygally Beach, Larne, Antrim
Ballygally Beach is a beautiful beach on the Antrim Coast located beside Ballygally village, across the road from Ballygally Castle Hotel. Views of the infamous North channel and the Mull of Kintyre will meet you as you stand ready for a running beach start into the chilly waters of Ballygally.
Google Maps Link


These are our top 20 sea swimming spots from across Ireland and showcase the incredible diversity and beauty of our coastlines and lakes. Whether you're looking for a tranquil swim in calm waters or an adventurous dip surrounded by rugged cliffs or moutains, there's something for everyone in our Wild Tribe. Pack your swim gear and your Wild & Free Cobe or towel robe and dive into the refreshing waters of Ireland's best sea swimming locations.


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