Which are The Best Beach Towns in Southern Ireland according to Brian Murphy?

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Brian Murphy

Aspiring historian Brian Murphy loves Ireland and in particular County Cork. Having lived in the region for many years, he’s always keen to share with visitors just how beautiful the coastline is.

Brian Murphy Carrigaline was born and bred

“I’ve lived in Carrigaline for years and it still surprises me how many people have never visited southern Ireland,” says Brian Murphy.

“We have some of the most beautiful beaches and coastal towns and villages in Ireland. There are plenty of reasons for people to give southern Ireland and the glorious County Cork a go for their summer holidays this year.

“Cork has some really stunning beaches – you can find small, sheltered coves or you can head to golden sands. There are plenty of great places to swim too.”

Brian Murphy Carrigaline

5 best beach towns and villages in Southern Ireland

Brian Murphy says: “Living in County Cork is a real pleasure and knowing that these beaches aren’t far away makes it even more pleasant.

“Of course, these are just the beach towns and villages in the region that I love. My recommendation for any new visitors would be to find somewhere they love as a base and then explore as much of the surrounding countryside and coastline as possible.”

Garretstown Beach

The nearest village to this beach is Ballinspittle. Brian Murphy says: “From Balinspittle you can hop in the car and head to Garretstown – there are a few facilities, a golf course nearby and a Surf School right on the sand.

“This is one of the best family-orientated beaches around and it’s fully accessible. It’s particularly ideal if you are keen on surfing. Highly recommended.”

Fountainstown Beach

Fountainstown is a lovely coastal village around 14 miles from Cork City. Brian Murphy says: “Fountainstown has a Blue Flag beach overlooking Ringabella Creek.

“In fact, the village has two beaches – Front and Back. The Front is right at the entrance to the village itself and is probably used more than the other.

“Depending on the tide, Fountainstown can be pebbly or sandy. The Back Beach is usually sandy but has pretty shallow waters. Fountainstown is also home to the first pitch and putt course in Europe.

“And if you want to head to Myrtleville beach you can easily walk from Foutainstown as the road connecting them is commonly used as a promenade. The village has a population of around 1,000 so it gives you a good example of a small, coastal village in Southern Ireland.”

Brian Murphy Carrigaline

Kinsale, Cork

Located about 18 miles from Cork City, Kinsale is regarded as one of the prettiest small towns in the region.

Brian says: “A lot of people actually think Kinsale might be the prettiest town in the whole of Ireland thanks to its colourful houses and buildings.

“Visitors can expect lots of gift shops to explore as they wander around the winding streets. There are lots of fascinating art galleries to look around before eating at one of the many pubs and restaurants.

“For me, the best part of Kinsale is its natural harbour, which is home to a 17th-century fort shaped into a star – the Charles Fort. Definitely, a must-visit.

“I’d also recommend a visit to Desmond Castle, which was once home to troops from Spain who fought alongside the Irish against the British forces at the very start of the 17th century.

“If you happen to be in Kinsale in October, you’re in luck. You’ll be able to join in celebrating the three-day Kinsale Gourmet Festival.”

Portmagee, Kerry

Another beautifully colourful coastal town, Portmagee is actually located in County Kerry.

Brian says: “Portmagee is probably best known for its harbour-side houses in lots of different colours. It’s quiet and beautiful during the off-season and really comes to life in the summer.

“It’s also the gateway to access the Skellig Islands, which attract many visitors every year. You can also hike the stunning Kerry Cliffs, pay a visit to the llaunloughan Monastery or get a sweet treat at the Portmagee Chocolate Factory.

Youghal, County Cork

Back in County Cork for the final coastal beach town in Southern Ireland. Brian says: “Youghal is the most easterly town in the region and, for my money, is one of the best beach towns in the whole country.

“East Cork has such stunning coastline and the town itself has something for every visitor. As well as a rich history with famous alumni such as Sir Walter Raleigh, the town boasts Blue Flag beaches with swathes of golden sand.

“For gourmets, there are a select few very high-quality restaurants and plenty of pubs. I’d recommend taking a guided walking tour to really soak up everything this amazing coastal town has to offer.”

About The Author — Brian Murphy Carrigaline

An aspiring local historian from Carrigaline, Brian Murphy is a retired primary school teacher with a passion for County Cork. Since retiring, Brian Murphy has been writing about Carrigaline, his hometown just outside Cork City, where he was born and raised.

He enjoys writing, reading, and visiting the South of Ireland with his dog Tillie. The town of Carrigaline is a fantastic place for people to visit when exploring Cork in Ireland, including its famous Irish-friendly pubs, as Brian Murphy is dedicated to writing more about it