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10th Aug 2023

12 of the best places for a sea swim in Dublin

Fiona Frawley

sea swimming dublin

Sea-swimming (also known as… swimming) has grown significantly in popularity over the past few  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.

If you’re just about ready to brave the Irish Sea now that the warmer weather is upon us, we’re here to give you an extra push with this list of 12 great places for a sea swim in Dublin.

Portmarnock Beach

Portmarnock Beach is perhaps one of the most impressive beaches in Dublin for a day out or just a quick dip. About a 40 minute drive from the city centre this northside gem has a dedicated carpark and plenty of parking along the coast but as you’d imagine, it gets very busy on sunny days – be sure to get down nice and early to secure your spot.

Portmarnock Beach, image via Getty 

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. This swim spot is unique in the sense that it’s deep enough to swim in at any time of day, so you don’t have to wait for the tides. Enter the big bad Irish sea via the steps and railing, or jump off the top if you’re brave enough. A must for anyone visiting Dublin, as most Dubliners will tell you.

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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. It’s a tiny beach which, like others on this list, is packed on a sunny day, but it’s amazing for a sunset swim if the tides line up for it.

Skerries

With its charming village and beautiful beaches, Skerries makes for a wonderful day out. The North Dublin town is home to Skerries South Strand which stretches for about 2.5km and is a sandy slice of heaven. It’s about a 30 minute drive from town, but there are plenty of public transport options too.

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Bull Island, Clontarf

Bull Island is ideal if you’re looking for a swim close to the city centre. There are multiple changing areas at the end of the wooden bridge and steps and rails leading down to the water if you’re looking to ease yourself in gently. Boasting views of Poolbeg and Clontarf Promenade, there are also some great nearby cafés to warm up at after – we’re looking at you, Happy Out.

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Poolbeg Lighthouse, Clontarf

Another great spot for soaking in the views of Dublin Bay, the Poolbeg Lighthouse swim allows for a scenic stroll on either side of your swim if that’s what you’re into. Situated half way up the 2km stretch to the Poolbeg Lighthouse, it’ll be a chilly walk back to your car but the rush makes it all worth the while.

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Balscadden Bay Beach

Tucked away at the bottom 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-try for any swimmer in Dublin.

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Seapoint

If you’re planning on using public transport, then Seapoint is a great shout as there’s a DART Station right by 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.

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‘Hidden’ Beach

Howth 

Located at the end of the Howth Cliff Walk, this somewhat secret beach has grown in popularity after a string of TikToks and as a result is a spot many visiting swimmers want to make the trek to. Caution is definitely advised on the way down – the steps are steep and can be slippy but once you make it to the stones, it’s easy to see what all the fuss is about.

Via Google Maps 

Vico Baths

Harry Styles knew what was up when he hit up this spot last year. It’s somewhat hidden away in the Killiney area but just follow the swarm of people on a sunny day and you’ll find it quickly enough. There’s a series of steps along with a handrail for easy access to the baths as well as taller platforms to jump off, with surrounding views of Killiney Bay in all its glory and affluence.

vico baths in dublin, walkway down to the sea with blue railings, diving platforms and a small white changing room

Killiney Beach

The Vico’s bigger, more easily accessible sister is also an excellent place for a dip, handily located right by Killiney DART station with Fred and Nancy’s food truck parked and waiting for post-dip coffee and toasties. Enjoy exquisite views 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 scenic spot is a little tougher to access, but worth it if you’re up to it for the impressive views of the surrounding rocky coastline.

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Did we miss out your favourite place for a swim in Dublin? Let us know!

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