12 beautiful places to go for a swim in Dublin

By Fiona Frawley

October 14, 2022 at 10:00am

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Sea-swimming (also known as... swimming) has grown significantly in popularity over the past couple of years in Ireland.

Sure, you always had the odd few diehard ladies lobbing themselves into the Forty Foot come rain, wind or snow without so much as flinching, but now that Penneys and Dunnes have gotten their hands on the Dryrobe design pattern, there's no stopping any of us. A quick dip is great for the mind, the body, the skin... the list goes on.

The colder weather is creeping in but if you're looking to keep up the aul sea swimming on a more year-round basis, here are 12 great places to do just that.

Portmarnock Beach

Portmarnock Beach is perhaps one of the best beaches in Dublin for a day out or just a quick dip. With a dedicated car park as well as plenty of parking along the coast opposite the Sands Hotel and a shelter towards the end of the beach, you'll have plenty of places to set up before skipping down to the shore and jumping in.

The Forty Foot, Sandycove

You can't beat the classics. The Forty Foot has been a favourite amongst Dublin swimmers for generations, and for good reason. Enter the big bad Irish sea via the steps and railing, or jump off the top if you're brave enough.

Sandycove

Just around the corner from the Forty Foot, Sandycove is another long-time favourite for Dublin swimmers, paddleboarders and kayakers, with beautiful surroundings and no shortage of spots nearby for a post-swim coffee.

Skerries

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With its charming village and beautiful beaches, Skerries makes for a wonderful day out in Dublin. The North Dublin town is home to Skerries South Strand which stretches for about 2.5km.

Bull Island, Clontarf

Bull Island ain't too far from the city centre. With multiple changing areas at the end of the wooden bridge and steps and rails leading down to the water, it is perhaps one of the most accessible swimming spots in the city. Boasting views of Poolbeg and Clontarf Promenade, it's a pretty serene experience.

Poolbeg Lighthouse, Clontarf

You may have noticed the Half Moon swimming club on while strolling along South Wall before. Despite its proximity to the action, this swim takes a little more steam to get to. Situated half way up the 2km stretch to the Poolbeg Lighthouse, you’ll have a chilly walk back to your car but the rush makes it all worth the while.

Balscadden Bay Beach

Hidden away at the end of some steep steps past Howth village, this dreamy beach has plenty of space to set up camp before taking a dip. Looking out to the sea and the dramatic cliffs of Howth Head, it's a must-see for any swimmer in Dublin.

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Seapoint

If you're planning on using public transport, then Seapoint is a great shout for you as there is a DART Station super near the beach. It is made up of mostly large rocks and smooth sand and it's advised that you swim at high tide. You can also make your way into the water from the Martello tower at the north end of the beach.

Red Rock Beach

Located in Sutton at the end of the Howth Cliff Walk, this somewhat hidden beach makes for a wonderful sunset swim after a day of hiking.

Vico Baths

Harry Styles knew what was up when he hit up this swimming spot earlier this year. It's somewhat hidden away in the Killiney area but worth a trip nonetheless. There is a series of steps along with a handrail for easy access to the baths and once you're in the water, you'll likely experience that feeling of bliss you were looking for.

Killiney Beach

The Vico's bigger, more easily accessible sister is also an excellent place for a dip, ideally located right by Killiney DART station and Nancy's food truck parked and waiting for post-dip coffee and toasties. Enjoy exquisite views of the surrounding rocky coastline from Dalkey Island and Sorrento Terrace in the north to Bray Head in the south - it's easy to see why this is such a popular swim spot. Bear in mind the beach is rocky - swim shoes will come in handy.

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White Rock, Killiney

Sure, while we're in the area. In the next cove over from Killiney Beach you'll find White Rock, a sandy hidden gem at the bottom of a substantial set of steps. This safe, scenic spot is a little tougher to access, but worth it if you're up to it for the views of the surrounding rocky coastline.

Header image via Shutterstock

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