A Guide to Northern Ireland’s Coast

Northern Ireland

At 404 miles, Northern Ireland’s coastline is relatively short in comparison to coastlines of England and Scotland. However, it offers an unforgettable experience for coast swimming enthusiasts as its spectacular beaches meet the taste and requirements of the most demanding swimmers. So if you are planning to spend your holidays along Northern Ireland’s coastline and cannot imagine your vacation without coast swimming, here are a few fine beaches on the coast of Northern Ireland you will not regret visiting:

Tyrella, County Down. More than a mile long sandy beach surrounded by a scenic natural setting is an ideal destination for coast swimming enthusiasts. It holds the prestigious Blue Flag award which guarantees cleanness of sand and water, and has been awarded the Seaside Award since the late 1990s. It is located about 5 miles from Clough.

Benone Strand, County Londonderry. Unlike other popular beaches the beauty of which is often spoiled by the crowds, the seven mile long Benone Strand provides plenty of space for sunbathing and swimming to all its visitors. One of the longest and most spectacular beaches on Northern Ireland’s coast which is a short walking distance from Benone also holds the Blue Flag and Seaside Award.

Portrush beaches, County Antrim. A small resort town of Portrush is home to three beaches which are known as the East Strand, West Strand and White Rocks. It is hard to tell which one of the three beaches is more exciting, while all Portrush beaches are recipients of the Blue Flag award. But since all are in close proximity to one another, it is best to visit them all if you will be spending your vacation in Portrush.

Ballygally beach, County Antrim. The spectacular sandy Ballygally beach in the village of Ballygally about 3 miles from Larne offers an ideal coast swimming experience, while spending the night in the Ballygally Castle is an experience for itself. The oldest occupied building in Ireland is also famous for being one of the most haunted buildings in the area. How much is true is a matter of debate but if you would like to relax and enjoy your hard earned vacation, you should think twice before booking a room in the castle which today serves as a hotel.

Portstewart Strand, County Londonderry. A two mile long sandy beach between the town of Portstewart and the mouth of the River Bann attracts visitors with its spectacular natural beauty and Blue Flag award. The beach, however, is also designed as the Area of Specific Scientific Interest and was proposed as the Special Area of Conservation. The archaeologists have found important artefacts on the site, while the dune system which is in some sections 100 feet high is of major importance for the local wildlife species.

Cranfield West, County Down. Mainly sandy beach about four miles from Kilkeel offers coast swimming in an idyllic setting. There are also all the necessary facilities including toilets, showers, free parking, etc. In 2011, the beach lost the Blue Flag award, however, it still holds the Resort Seaside Award and offers a memorable coast swimming.