Beaches of Ulster (Northern Ireland)
Northern Ireland is home to amazing ocean cliffs and tall green mountains, but what you will find to be most beautiful when visiting this beautiful European Island is its gorgeous sandy beaches. Ireland is home to over 100 spectacular beaches that draw in visitors from all over the world all year round.
Northern Irelands is perfectly placed in between the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish sea, giving it miles and miles of coastlines topped with sand, coral, and stone, making for some of the best beaches on earth to visit. Whether you’re from out of the country on vacation or want to discover interesting landmarks near you, keep reading to find the best beaches in Ulster, Ireland.
Ulster is the Northernmost region of Ireland. It is made up of 9 counties, and it features some of the nicest beaches in all of the Country. These beaches may not be of the warm and sunny variety most of the year but they are all beautiful and have their own photogenic qualities. If you enjoy cooler, blustery weather, you will love these beaches.
The scenery of these Ulster beaches is quite varied. Some of the landscapes of these beaches have been described as similar to those white sand beaches in Australia, while others feature cliffs and crags that can be explored. Whether you enjoy rocky terrain, flat sandy beaches, or windswept dunes, there is bound to be a beach in Ulster that you will enjoy in the following list.
What Makes Northern Ireland Beaches So Attractive
Because of Northern Ireland’s location on the map, it makes it an idyllic spot to utilize the places where the water meets the land. The shoreline can be cluttered with giant rock formations, grassy landings, or soft caramel sand. Either terrain, the beaches are stunning and make a great place to relax, take gorgeous photos, and enjoy your time outside.
The world surrounding these beaches envelope the historical heritage of Ireland with its unique whitewashed cottages, castle-like churches, and sailboats and yachts as far as the eye can see.
The architecture in this part of the country is almost as dazzling as the beaches themselves, making them almost as exciting to explore as the great outdoors.
During the warm summer months, the waters are perfect for swimming, sailing, and many water sports. The clear surface provides an easy window to the aquaticlife below, so make sure to pack your snorkels before visiting. The vast beaches are also perfect for sunbathing, picnics, and long hikes with family and friends.
Photographers from around the world travel to this area frequently to capture its charm in the rawest form. No matter which beach you end up on in Northern Ireland, the pictures will portray a place of fantastical elements and natural beauty.
Portrush is an older Northern Ireland town located on a small peninsula with a railway, some restaurants, and hotels for guests coming to visit their little slice of paradise. However, the most alluring attraction for the Portrush communities is its three sandy beaches.
The West Strand and East Strand beaches are clean, clear, and sandy, they are also located close to the busy town, giving easy access to tourists. The West Strand, East Strand, and White Rocks. Whereas the White Rocks beach is located aways out with open space, long sandy beaches, and majestic caves along the shoreline.
The surrounding landforms and giant rock formations are an experience themselves, while the sunny skies shine down, casting beautiful lights off of the crisp fresh water.
Castlerock, Derry / Londonderry is home to the Castlerock beach. This beach contains sandy trails, multiple boardwalks, and dunes made from windy weather and the unforgiving sea. It is here you will have the opportunity to take in the sites of giant waves, historical temples, and picture-perfect sunsets.
- Horse riding
Helen’s Bay: Perfect For Day Trips from the City
Only a 20-minute drive from Belfast, or a 500-meter walk from the local railway station, Helen’s Bay is one of the more metropolitan beaches in Northern Ireland. In the summer it is a great beach for swimming and family barbecues. The facilities are excellent and well maintained.
If you don’t want to swim, nearby there is Crawfordburn Park which offers:
- Scenic walking trails
- A cafe
- A visitors center
The other activities available in this park make Helen’s Bay a great beach for the days when the weather is less suitable for the sand based beach activities.
Murlough National Nature Reserve
You will find miles of beautiful beaches located on the Murlough National Nature reserves, along with long hiking trails and tons of exciting wildlife.
When walking along these beaches, you will be overcome with hundreds of butterflies, rare birds, and stunning butterflies. The golden sandy beaches are perfect for long walks, while the crystal clear waters make for the ideal swimming spot for anyone looking to get their feet wet.
The Glenshesk River meets the Atlantic ocean, a rocky beach that invites tons of people who enjoy time participating in all types of water sports. When walking through the beautiful natural grassy garden terrain, you can look out into the water and watch as surfers come with the waves.
The beach creates an enchanting backdrop for large mountainous ranges and rock formations that are popular for rock climbing and sightseeing.
Tyrella Beach, County Down
Like most of the beaches found throughout Ireland, the Tyrella beach is loaded with sand dunes that provide homes to many wild birds and a wide variety of wildflowers. The sea is calm and clear, idyllic for simmers and beach walkers alike.
Cushendun Beach, County Antrim
On the edge of a quaint village in Cushendun sits an alluring beach that stretches along a winding bay, where you can see sailboats docked alongside rustic wooden docks and bridges. The crisp shimmering blue water turns cool at sunset and creates a spectacular scene as tiny ripples dance under the moon.
Marble Hill Strand, County Donegal
The beach of Marble Hill Strand is populated with wildlife and beautiful flowers that freely thrive undisrupted by the peaceful world around them. These shallow waters are located in between two headlands providing the perfect conditions for warm and calm waters, making it one of Ireland’s warmest beaches.
Ballintoy Harbour Beach, County Antrim
Ballintoy Harbour Beach is located along the North Irland coast and provides the most enchanting view of the Giant’s Causeway made up of a 40,000 basalt rock formation. It is here you will also see dolphins swimming freely through the waters while other animals climb the nearby, quiet hills and rocky shores in this charming little Irish town.
Groomsport Beach, County Down
This beach is located on the south shore of Belfast Lough and the north coast of the Ards Peninsula. This coastal path provides a view much to be desired by tourists and residents alike.
The coastal village is small and quaint with amazing sites to see and water perfect for a long sail, or a leisurely swim. This is a great place for family fun or a romantic getaway with the one you love.
Benone Beach Award Winning Facilities
Although it is technically a part of the same stretch of sand that is Downhill a small river separates Benone Beach and is considered by many as the best in Northern Ireland. During the summer, many tourists and locals alike flock to this beach for the watersports and swimming. A lifeguard stands duty during peak months and the beach complex has award winning facilities, including:
- Caravan parking
- Tennis courts
Benone Beach’s landscape and white sand is hard to find anywhere else in Ireland. Many who visit for the first time find it comparable to a beach you might find in Australia.
Ulster Beaches For Anyone
Whether you like to spend your time at the beach walking and taking in the fresh air, watching wildlife, surfing, paddling, fishing or swimming, the beaches of Ulster have something to offer. These scenic and photogenic beaches are sure to be enjoyed by tourists on holiday and locals alike.
It’s easy to see why the Beaches of Ulster (Northern Ireland) are a huge attraction for tourists from every corner of the world. The scenery is something from a fairy tale that people must see for themselves. For anyone with the opportunity to visit this beautiful country, don’t pass it up, these beaches will surely blow you away.
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