Discover the Best Sea Swimming Spots in Dublin: A Guide to Refreshing Dips along the Irish Coast

Luke McLeod

| Last Updated: Thursday, 11 January 2024

| Minute Read

Luke McLeod

Last Updated: Thursday, 11 January 2024

Minute Read

  • Sea Swimming has swept Ireland off its feet over the last five years. Dublin is unique, much different to all other major cities in the world. We have miles upon miles of coastline in the capital city. Our sandy beaches prove to be popular swimming spots for locals, tourists and anybody in between. 
  • Open water swimming has many benefits. Plunging into the cold water helps to clear the mind of stress, worry & anxiety. There are physical benefits too, cold water alleviates the muscle fatigue and chronic pain some experience. 

    Of course, sea swimming in Dublin does come with some danger. Outside of summer months, there will be no lifeguards on duty. A lot of the time, there will be no lifeguards at all. If you see someone in difficulty, please dial 112 and ask for the coast guard. Beware of rip currents, rocky seabeds, tides and water temperatures. 

Dublin Bay Sea Swims

Now that the serious things have been taken care of, Dublin City and surrounds have a lot of places for a refreshing swim. I will take you through my favourite spots for sea swimming in Dublin.

    Clontarf Boat Slipway

    Location: On the promenade in Clontarf 

    Convenient area for swimming, bathing, and dipping, close to Clontarf Village. The slipway is a great spot for a swim, right in the middle of the promenade. Prime time for swimming would be around an hour or two at high tide. This spot is known for occasional rip currents, so be aware and ensure you’re with experienced swimmers. 

    The area is lovely for walks too, incase you didn’t want to have a dip. The stunning views over Dublin bay are breathtakingly good at sunset. You’ll also see the Clontarf Half Marathon take place on this route. 

    Clontarf Promenade is an excellent spot with bathing shelters all along for swimmers. Those who aren’t braving the elements may be interested in a nice cycle along the seafront, overlooking the sparkling water swimmers dive into. 

    Bull Wall’s ‘Path into the Sea’ on Bull Island

    Location: Bull Wall

    The path into the sea on Bull Wall is accessible by stairs. You’ll dip into a picturesque spot for swimming in Dublin Bay.

    Nearby cafes, like Happy Out, and the aromas of toasties create a delightful post-swim coffee experience.

    Dollymount Strand

    Location: North Bull Island

    Named after the Castle’s previous owner, Dolly Vernon. The strand at Dollymount is a 5km-long strand of sand. Perfect for picnics, family outings, long strolls, dog walks, and water sports. You’ll have gorgeous views of Howth Head, and the Poolbeg towers in Dublin port from Bull Island. 

    Dollymount is ideal for swimming, but wait for when the weather improves. Seasoned swimmers will feel the nip here, so Dollymount Strand shouldn’t be your first dip of the season. 

    Balscadden Bay Beach

    Location: North Howth Village

    A secluded beach overlooked by the Martello Tower offering another option for sea swimming. Great views of Ireland’s Eye from the water, and the cliffs in Howth add to the scenic beauty, providing a unique perspective for sea enthusiasts.

    You’ll have to use a steep and uneven staircase to get into this popular spot with locals. The beach itself is full of small pebbles and rocks, so make sure you have some footwear. On the left side of the beach, you will find a nice view of Ireland’s Eye and to the right, a small cove with tiny caves. 

    A stop in Balscadden Bay Beach is a must if you’re looking for a secluded spot in this charming village for a swim. 

    Vico Baths

    Location: Dalkey 

    In Dublin south, the Vico baths are a really stunning destination for swimmers. The breathtaking views of Dublin’s mountains and crystal-clear waters top it all off. The seawater pool allows swimmers escape the choppy waters of the sea.
    There are also tonnes of cafes around Dalkey village, perfect for the post-swim coffee. You will need it to warm up! 

    Howth’s Claremont Beach

    Location: North Howth Head

    Located on the other side of the Howth marina, another beautiful beach providing a tranquil environment for sea dips and relaxing swims. There are also great views towards Ireland’s Eye.

    It’s somewhat hidden, and to get to it, you need to walk through a lane that runs beside the train station. At low water, Claremont Beach blends together and becomes one with Sutton’s Burrow Beach, thus becoming known to locals as the Hole-In-The-Wall beach.

    If you’re an afternoon swimmer, you may want to stop into one of the many fish and chip shops around Howth for a bite to eat! There’s also a number of wonderful spots for coffee along the Howth Harbour Road. There is limited street parking spots around Howth, but you can easily get the Dart from Clontarf Road or Killester. Each are within a 20 minute walk from Clontarf Castle. 

    Burrow Beach 

    Location: Sutton

    On the other side of Claremont is a scenic beach with great views of Ireland’s Eye and decked in soft sands. Burrow Beach is well worth a detour if you’re visiting nearby Howth.
    Stretching for around 1.2 km, Sutton Beach is a fine spot for a ramble in summer and winter.

    Nearby coffee shops can keep your fingers toasty with a hot drink. Enhancing the overall beach experience, from crystal clear bathing water to fresh coffee and breathtaking views. 

    Malahide Beach

    Location: Malahide

    On the North of Clontarf, Malahide is a beautiful seaside town. The village is best known for it’s restaurants, coffee shops and Castle. The castle plays host to a number of gigs each year. For now, we want to know all about sea swimming in Dublin, specifically Malahide. 

    On offer in Malahide is a lovely beach with a mix of sandy shores and incredible views, suitable for various seaside activities. There is limited parking available in the beach car park. You will also find public toilets not far from the car park. 

    Low Rock
    A wide section of sand, perfect for swimming. ‘Low Rock’ is a popular swim spot for families and children, this sheltered section of the beach is ideal for paddling and swimming in shallow water. 

    High Rock 
    Features: This section of water can be quite dangerous and is more suitable for competent and strong swimmers. High Rock is a popular destination for year-round swimming, and when the tide is right, it becomes a great spot for rock jumping.

    The swimming experience at High Rock is brilliant, but make sure that your sure of your swimming ability level before attempting this area. 

    Skerries South Beach

    Location: Skerries 

    This coastal town is well known to be one of North Dublin’s best swimming spots. There are two well known locations, Captains and Springers. These two locations are a must visit for sea swimmers and if you aren’t into dipping your toes. The Skerries South Strand has an incredible promenade stretching from the Red Island Car Park all the way to Holmpatrick rocky beach. 

    Seapoint Beach 

    Location: Monkstown 

    A real staple of the southside, Seapoint beach is famed for it’s traditional bathing area. The beautiful views, calm waters and steps into the ocean make it a popular spot for those just starting out with sea swimming.
    Nearby Monkstown has lots of coffee shops to stop into, making a day out of your sea swim outside the city centre.  

    The Forty Foot 

    Location: Sandycove Beach

    Probably the most famous sea swimming Dublin location, the forty foot is in the southernmost tip of Dublin Bay. If you’re a seasoned water swimmer, this spot is fun for diving right into the Irish Sea! 

    Afterwards, history buffs can head over to the Martello tower and read all about James Joyce in the museum overlooking the bay. 

    The Wrap Up

    Be sure to wrap up when going Sea Swimming in Dublin. As expected swimming spots are exposed to the elements. Adventurous swimmers who stay at Clontarf Castle will love to check out some of the most famous swimming spots like North Bull Wall, Dollymount beach & Balscadden Bay Beach. 

    If you would like to venture closer to Dublin city centre, Vico Baths, 40 Foot and Sandycove Beach are all excellent spots to get a real experience of swimming in the Irish sea. 

    Always check your swimming gear, fitness level and for hidden rock pools. If you see someone in difficulty, please dial 112 and ask for the coast guard. Beware of rip currents, rocky seabeds, tides and water temperatures.

    North Dublin beaches have long been known for their smooth sand, laid-back swim atmosphere and good bathing water quality. We have a mantra in Ireland, If you take it to the beach, take it home from the beach.  

      Luke McLeod

      Luke is a seasoned travel writer, with years of experience around Europe, America and at home in Dublin.

      If it’s not discovering some of Clontarf’s finest coffee shops, Luke can be found in the city centre tracing over historic steps of Irish history or chatting with some of his favourite artisan producers in the town.

      Wether it’s a pub for a quiet pint, a day trip from the capital or a dainty market to spend your Saturday morning, Luke’s travel tips will ensure your stay at Clontarf Castle Hotel is a unique experience.

      Clontarf Castle Hotel

      Where luxury awaits