Please note that while all beaches listed are generally considered safe for swimming, conditions permitting, lifeguards are on duty only at Tragumna. Please swim responsibly- never alone or in rough conditions. Remember to always respect the water. Some access road to these beaches are narrow, so drive with care.
A Blue Flag beach with toilet and parking facilities, Tragumna is a lovely beach for families of all ages. Just 6km from Skibbereen, Tragumna has lifeguards during bathing season (weekends in June and September, daily in July and August), and lifesaving equipment available off-season.
Lough Ine (Hyne)
Lough Ine (5km from Skibbereen) is Ireland’s first Marine Nature Reserve and the only inland saltwater lake in Northern Europe. Lough Ine boasts a lovely woodland nature trail and stunning views of Castle Island, and is ideal for kayaking, swimming and nature walks.
Accessible via a ten minute ferry ride from Baltimore, Sherkin Island is home to two beautiful sandy beaches, Silver Strand and Cow Strand, and lovely views.
Sandycove is situated on the coast road between Castletownshend and Tragumna. The beach is very small and sandy, and can be accessed by steps. Sandycove can be very busy during the summer, but is worth the visit.
A ten minute drive from Skibbereen along the R595, this small but picturesque beach can only be described as a hidden gem (no facilities, however). Tralispean is a beautiful sandy beach, and popular with families.
Squince Harbour Beach is located in Myross Island (access via causeway), Union Hall, and is a gravel beach boasting several rock pools. With a lovely view of nearby Rabbit Island, Squince Harbour Beach is an excellent location for both kayaking and swimming.
Ballyalla hosts a small quiet stony beach with a pier, about three miles from Skibbereen. Beautiful when the tide is in, and ideal for the adventurous swimmer willing to take the plunge (literally!). Ballyalla is a very safe beach, with life buoys provided.
Located in Myross Island, Union Hall, Carrigillihy is a small stony beach with a beautiful view of Rabbit Island, and in the summer, of the many small boats that moor there. Carrigillihy is excellent for those who enjoy seaside walks.
Located 13 km off the coast of West Cork and accessible by regular ferry from Baltimore (year round) and Schull (summer only), Cape Clear (a Gaeltacht region) is a remote but beautiful island. Full of scenic harbours and gorgeous pebble beaches, Cape Clear is ideal for nature and seaside walks.
By Emma O’Donoghue