Ireland is a fantastic place to surf with many beaches on the Atlantic Coast that are great for beginners and some more challenging spots that are recommended only for experts. Choosing a beach to visit means checking out the weather and the surf conditions. It’s not worth risking injury with a spot that is too advanced or when the weather is unpredictable, so if you’re tempted to try some of the more challenging surf spots, be sure you have enough experience to stay safe.
It’s worth considering what you need from a surfing spot – are you looking for somewhere with a lifeguard presence? Do you want to find a spot with overnight accommodation or is your priority to find good food nearby so you can fill up once you’ve finished in the water? Finding out what will make a beach successful for you is the best way to identify your priorities and then you can choose which of our top ten surfing beaches will be the best for you to try first.
Check out our guide to the top ten surfing spots in Ireland and start planning some surfing trips today.
Top Ten Surfing Beaches in Ireland
There are many different beaches to choose from and your favourites will depend on whether you prefer wildlife watching to good local shopping nearby, as well as how high you like your waves. Some of the most popular beaches to make the list are only suitable for expert surfers, so don’t risk it if you’re a beginner – there are plenty of surfing spots for beginners to choose from, too. Read on for our top ten, and compare it with your own shortlist!
1. Easkey, County Sligo
Located in County Sligo, right on the North Atlantic Coast, Easkey Beach is recognised as an excellent surfing spot in Ireland. The surfing conditions are pretty consistent all year round, and it’s often recommended for experienced surfers who travel from all over the world for these impressive waves. Easkey itself is a small village with several accommodation options and is a popular stop on the Wild Atlantic Way. The village is also home to the Irish Surfing Association, with its headquarters found in Easkey House in the centre of the village, so you’ll be in good company as you explore the surf here!
2. Inchydoney, County Cork
A gem of our very own County Cork, Inchydoney is a small island, with two causeways connecting it to the mainland. Here at Inchydoney, you’ll find a long, beautiful Blue Flag beach that’s a perfect location for beginner surfers. It’s popular with families and is consistently voted one of Ireland’s best beaches, and it’s easy to see why. The beach is clean and the waves vary depending on conditions, and it’s a great place to build up your skills. Nearby Clonakilty has plenty of options for eating and sleeping so that you can make a weekend surfing trip into a real break.
3. Lahinch, County Clare
Lahinch is a beach and coastal town in County Clare, renowned as the prime surfing spot in the county. You’ll find several surf schools here, so you can take a lesson on the long stretch of beach around Liscannor Bay, and you can enjoy all the amenities in the town of Lahinch, close to the beach. With a variety of different breaks, Lahinch has options for surfers of all levels and is also a beautiful location to spend time in. The beach is only a short drive from the impressive Cliffs of Moher, one of County Clare’s most beautiful nature spots, so it’s well worth making time to explore the area. Lahinch is one to pop on your must-visit list, it’s sure to be a hit with all the family.
4. Strandhill, County Sligo
Strandhill is another great option in County Sligo, located in the beautiful coastal town of Strandhill and well-rated by surfers across Ireland. It’s known for its clean waves almost all year round, especially suitable for beginners and young surfers in the summer months. There’s enough variety here to keep surfers of all abilities happy, and the views of the nearby Knocknarea mountain add an extra special touch to this beautiful bay. Lessons are available locally, and you’ll love the friendly vibes of Sligo town, which is popular for its music and local welcome, as well as the great range of cafes and bars to explore.
5. Bundoran, County Donegal
Bundoran is the most southerly town in County Donegal, a well-established seaside resort that thrives on tourism and is often referred to as the surfing capital of Ireland. Set on the stormy Atlantic Coast, the surf conditions here are great for surfers of all abilities, with a range of waves and breaks and a great variety of beaches to explore. Bundoran has even hosted the European Surfing Championships, so you know these waves won’t disappoint. You’ll find great food and accommodation in Bundoran as well, so you can make the most of your visit.
6. Mullaghmore, County Sligo
Strictly for expert surfers only, Mullaghmore in County Sligo is renowned as the most intense surfing location in Ireland and it’s a worldwide favourite for big waves. With a reef break that is home to some of the most dramatic waves in the country, you’ll want to make a note of this one for more advanced surfers. It’s worth mentioning the village of Mullaghmore, which has some accommodation and food options worth exploring, as well as miles of incredible coastline nearby that is ideal for wildlife watching and coastal walks.
7. Rossnowlagh, County Donegal
Located in County Donegal, Rossnowlagh is a Blue Flag beach that is often described as one of the best in Ireland. It’s often quieter than the surrounding beaches and the water quality is consistently high. Rossnowlagh is the home of the Irish Inter Counties Surfing Championships, the longest-running surfing competition in Ireland, which has been held here for over forty years.
It’s a great location for surfing, with conditions that are good for most of the year. In the winter, larger waves are to be expected and have been known to reach up to seven metres. There are plenty of options for great food and accommodation nearby, including traditional pubs where you can relax after your day on the water.
8. Inch, County Kerry
Inch Beach in County Kerry is a popular spot for surfers of all abilities, with lifeguards and surf schools in the summer making it ideal for beginners. It’s a golden sandy beach that stretches for almost five kilometres, providing an excellent range of surfing options. You’ll find a variety of breaks along this stretch of coastline and the reef break, further out in the ocean, is renowned for being one of the longest waves in Europe. Inch Town has everything you need to replenish after you come out of the surf, and you’ll enjoy relaxing with a drink as you look out over the incredible views.
9. Tramore, County Waterford
The surf on the East Coast of Ireland is not as consistent as on the West Coast, but don’t write it off before you’ve given it a try – we know you’ll be pleasantly surprised! Tramore is a great surfing beach, with a range of surf schools offering lessons for those who have never surfed before as well as intermediate surfers. The beach is a three-mile stretch with beautiful sand dunes and excellent water quality – Tramore literally means ‘big beach’, which tells you all you need to know. The town of Tramore is a well-established seaside resort that is a popular location for a family holiday, with plenty of great options for food and accommodation in the area.
10. Portrush, County Antrim
Portrush is a seaside resort on the north coast that’s perfect for surfers, especially beginners, who will love the rolling waves that are usually consistent in the summer. Whiterocks is a popular beach in the area, with sandbars at the end of the beach to explore turns and a nearby surf school and surf shops for all your surfing essentials. This is a great area for a holiday with several beautiful beaches and it often becomes busy in the summer months as a result.
Find Surfboards, Wetsuits and Surfing Accessories in Ireland
Here in Ireland, surfing conditions are some of the best in the world but the water isn’t the warmest! Wetsuits are always recommended to avoid the risk of cold water shock, although you may not need one in the warmer months if you’re an experienced surfer and have acclimatised to the cold. Safety is paramount when you’re surfing, and we have all the equipment you’ll need to ensure you remember your days in the water for all the right reasons.
You can pick up your new surfboard, a surfing wetsuit and all the surfing accessories you need at The Edge, and we’ll be happy to share our professional expertise with you to help get you started. Pop in and see us or visit our website to pick up your new board and wetsuit and get out on the water!