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Experience Clare’s Blue-Flag beaches

Chill or experience exhilarating water activities

Clare has eight blue-flag beaches. Six are on Clare’s Wild Atlantic Way coastline, and two are inland beaches on the shores of the River Shannon’s Lough Derg. Each beach is unique and offers excellent opportunities for relaxation and on-the-water activity. Below is a short introduction to each beach.

Enjoy Lahinch Beach

A golden-sand crescent-shaped beach; famous for surfing

Lahinch Blue Flag Beach, North Clare

Lahinch Beach is a magnificent crescent-shaped beach at the head of Liscannor Bay on the Wild Atlantic Way. It is one of Ireland’s best-known and most loved beaches, with its golden sands stretching almost two kilometres around Liscannor Bay. This International Blue Flag beach is a Discovery Point on the Wild Atlantic Way.

Lahinch is synonymous with surfing courtesy of the resort’s shape, which helps create the Atlantic breakers. As one of Western Europe’s leading ‘surf centres’, Lahinch attracts people worldwide to its many surf schools every year. The beach also is a popular destination for lovers of other water sports, including swimming, kite surfing, sea kayaking, and diving.

Discover Fanore Beach

An extensive sandy beach and a Discovery Point on Clare’s Wild Atlantic Way.

Fanore Blue Flag Beach, North Clare

Fanore Beach is a beautiful, extensive sandy beach and a Discovery Point on Clare’s Wild Atlantic Way. It is located near the village of Fanore in the heart of the UNESCO Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark in North Clare. Fanore Beach is extremely popular with surfers, swimmers and walkers, and during the summer months, the beach is patrolled by the lifeguard service, making it a great place to learn to surf or enjoy the waves. The Aloha Surf School runs surfing lessons at the beach for all ages and proficiencies.

The beach is backed by an extensive sand dune system which is protected by the European Habitats Directive. The dunes started to form thousands of years ago and are the result of accumulations of wind-blown sand which got trapped in the relatively sheltered bay and then colonized by vegetation. These specialized plants help stabilize the dunes and trap more sand which allows the dunes to grow in size. The Caher River enters the sea here, the only surface river that flows over the Burren limestone.

Head to Kilkee Beach

Best known for its expanse of golden sand and coveted bathing areas and pollock holes.

Kilkee Blue Flag Beach, West Clare

Located at the gateway to the Loop Head Peninsula, the International Blue Flag beach at Kilkee is known for its expanse of golden sand and coveted bathing areas. The 1.5km long International Blue Flag beach is regarded as one of the best and safest bathing locations on Ireland’s west coast, attracting visitors from all over Ireland.

The beach is a haven for outdoor adventure enthusiasts, with surfing and kayaking lessons available. Kilkee also attracts scuba divers from across the globe to enjoy the clear waters and abundant marine life.

Spanish Point Beach

A family favourite

Spanish Point Blue Flag Beach, West Clare

Nestled in the horseshoe-shaped Mal Bay in West Clare, Spanish Point beach is a Discovery Point on the Wild Atlantic Way. The lengthy sandy beach is a popular bathing and surfing area throughout the year, while lifeguards are on duty during the summer months.

Spanish Point beach has plenty of amenities, including a surf school and surfboard rental, free parking, public toilets and shower facilities, an observation deck, picnic tables, and a Wildlife InformationPoint. Don’t miss out on Snámhaí Sásta, a local initiative which brings people together every morning for a swim at 9am after everyone gathers on the beach for a chat and a cup of tea.

White Strand Beach, Miltown Malbay

White Strand Blue Flag Beach, Miltown Malbay, West Clare

White Strand beach is situated at the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way near the West Clare market town of Miltown Malbay. The beach is popular with bathers and watersports enthusiasts alike. The beach is lifeguard patrolled in high season.

White Strand Beach, Doonbeg

Famed for its white sands and pristine waters

White Strand Blue Flag Beach, Doonbeg, West Clare

Famed for its white sands set against the backdrop of the pristine waters of the Atlantic Ocean, White Strand Doonbeg is one of eight International Blue Flag beaches in Clare and is a Discovery Point on the Wild Atlantic Way.

Sheltered on both sides by low rocky, rugged cliffs, the secluded beach is a renowned bathing location. Lifeguards monitor the beach in high season. Other activities at White Strand include surfing, windsurfing, angling, and horse riding. Visitors also can take lessons on kayaks and paddleboarding in high season. White Strand is in a designated Natural Heritage Area of ecological importance and is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

Ballycuggaran Beach, near Killaloe

A popular inland beach on Lough Derg

Ballycuggaran Blue Flag Beach, East Clare

Ballycuggaran is a small lakeside bathing area and blue flag beach located on Lough Derg in East Clare – one of Ireland’s largest freshwater lakes. Nestled at the foot of the rolling hills of East Clare and on the edge of mature woodland, Ballycuggaran is a perfect bathing spot for those looking to avoid the coastal beach hazards of tides, rip currents and large waves. Nearby, West Lake Aqua Park is Ireland’s newest aqua park.

Mountshannon Beach

A popular beach on Lough Derg – one of Ireland’s largest freshwater lakes

Mountshannon Blue Flag Inland Beach, East Clare

Located near the ancient woodlands that border Lough Derg, the small lakeside beach in Mountshannon is one of Ireland’s most scenic lakeside bathing areas. The beach is lifeguard patrolled during the main season. The harbour is a hive of activity during the summer months as cruisers sailing up and down the River Shannon pull up for the night and visit the village. You can also take a boat trip from Mountshannon to Inis Cealtra (Holy Island) on the lake.

Stay Safe when Swimming

Read the important advice for staying safe when swimming in open water