There are some stunning coastal towns and villages on the island of Ireland with tasty seafood, great coastal views and exciting activities from sailing to snorkelling. Here are some you should definitely check out on your next trip.
At the start of the Wild Atlantic Way, Kinsale
in County Cork is a colourful coastal town with a big personality. Originally a medieval fishing port, Kinsale’s Irish name Ceann tSaile means “Head of the Sea” and when you get here you’ll see why. There are great strolls along the seafront and out along the coast on the Scilly Walk to 17th century Charles Fort. If you find yourself getting peckish, you’re in a good spot as this breezy town is renowned for its spectacular seafood, which is served in buzzy little restaurants such as The Fishy Fishy Café
. And when it comes to pubs, you’ll be spoiled for choice but one of the most popular spots is most definitely The Bulman. Overlooking the water on the coast outside the town, it’s the perfect spot for enjoying delicious local cuisine with picturesque views.
Next, right up near the top of the Wild Atlantic Way is Killybegs
in County Donegal. This beautifully situated spot boasts a natural, deep-water harbour with a depth of 12 metres, and is the largest fishing port on the island of Ireland. It’s a great place to base yourself to enjoy the amazing natural sights of the surrounding area, from the majesty of the Slieve League cliffs to the quiet beauty of Fintra Beach. If you’d like an in-depth tour of the harbour, Atlantic Coastal Cruises
offer informative cruises that show you sights such as Rotten Island Lighthouse and the surrounding coastline. Fancy a bite to eat? With beautiful outdoor dining that overlooks Killybegs harbour, the food at Anderson’s Boathouse
is just as gorgeous as the view that accompanies it. Dunmore East
in County Waterford is another stunning coastal village that you’re sure to fall in love with. The harbour was built in 1812, transforming Dunmore East into an important fishing port with a thriving community. The village is home to plenty of picturesque coves perfect for swimming and snorkelling, and there are some lovely walks nearby, such as the Dunmore East Cliff Walk. And when it comes to great food, don’t miss the Bay Café with views overlooking Dunmore East harbour.
For some fun marine activities, Roundstone
in County Galway is a great coastal destination. In the summer months, the bay is bursting with yachts, dingys, windsurfers and more, all keen to enjoy Roundstone’s gorgeous coastline. Dog’s Bay beach, only a 10-minute drive away, is another ideal spot for swimming and watersports, and is often listed as one of Ireland’s best beaches. In Roundstone itself, you’ll find the much-lauded O’Dowd’s Seafood and Restaurant
with a menu full of fresh, local seafood accompanied with views overlooking Roundstone harbour.
Nestled into the cliffside at the western end of White Park Bay, Portbradden in County Antrim is a tiny coastal village with a very charming aspect. A great base to visit the surrounding area, the town is close to the fantastic Carrick-a-Rede
rope bridge and the renowned basalt columns of Giant’s Causeway
. After all that exploring, you’re sure to have worked up an appetite. Stop off in Bothy Coffee, enjoy a tasty breakfast and then take a stroll along the gorgeous White Park Bay beach or Portbradden Harbour, both of which are right nearby.
And don’t forget about Donaghadee Harbour
in County Down! This is Northern Ireland’s closest point to Scotland, which is clearly visible on a bright day. Donaghadee lighthouse stands guard in the harbour, lighting the way for ships sailing into the bay. The small town is bursting with pubs and shops and is home to what is rumoured to be one of the oldest pub in Ireland, Grace Neill’s, established in 1611. Over the years Grace Neill’s
has been visited by smugglers, pirates, sailors, and soldiers, all enjoying a drink at the front bar. Be sure not to miss a trip to this historic pub in this beautiful coastal village!
Can any of our community members recommend any stunning coastal towns across the island of Ireland?