What are the top beaches in Cork? Here the public have their say...

In the past week we've published the top 20 beaches in Cork... Then we put out a call to readers to see if we left any special destination out. Here's what they said...
What are the top beaches in Cork? Here the public have their say...

FUN IN THE SUN: Garretstown Beach at the Old Head of Kinsale made our top 20 list

WHERE is the best beach in Cork? It’s a devilishly difficult question, of course, since we are spoilt for choice in the county.

We have an array of wide open, sandy beaches, inlets, strands, bays, islands... all the way from Youghal in the east across to Allihies lapping onto the Kerry border.

With the relaxing of Covid restrictions and the onset of sunnier days, many Cork natives have been itching to take a trip to the coast, so The Echo decided to compile a list of our finest beaches.

Our list was prompted by the recent publication of Ireland’s ten best beaches in Lonely Planet, which remarkably didn’t include a single one in the Rebel County.

Infuriated by this snub, we provided a list of the best ten beaches in Ireland — all in Cork — and selected a second top this week.

Here’s what made our two top tens:



Harbour View


The Warren

Long Strand

Blind Strand



Robert’s Cove


The Dock Beach

Inch Beach

White Bay


Red Strand

Silver Strand

Ballyrisode, Goleen


Rocky Bay

Of course, there are lots more Cork beaches to choose from, so we opened up the debate to readers, asking them to provide new ones or expand on the ones already on our list.

On a form for readers to fill in at the end of the online article on echolive.ie, Liam Lally suggested: “Lough Beg Beach, Ringaskiddy. Fantastic sandy beach.”

While Billy Dorney said: “Robert’s Cove, pure magic, clean (minus some dog owners who just don’t pick up). The cliff walk is sublime, with buzzards, hawks and falcons to be seen.”

John Kelly said: “I think Inchydoney Beach in Clonakilty is worthy of a bigger mention with its famous virgin Mary’s Bank, sandy beaches, and fantastic sand dunes, it’s a gem.”

And Emily Watts suggested: “Sandy Cove, near Kinsale, it’s picturesque, a great swimming spot with rocks and caves to explore when the tide’s out, and it has its own little island.”

When the original beach top ten appeared, our echolive.ie Facebook page was lit up with suggestions and comments.

Michelle Healy tagged her friend and said: “We should visit them all.”

O’Móra Dunny replied: “Oh, we are during the summer.”

Sophie Lillis was in similar sunny mood: “Many road trips needing to happen.”

The beach at Allihies on the Beara peninsula. Picture Dan Linehan
The beach at Allihies on the Beara peninsula. Picture Dan Linehan

Michael Bermingham commented on Allihies — “the most beautiful place in Ireland. Wonderful memories, hope to visit soon again”.

Kelly Walsh spoke for us all when she stated: “The sun better hurry up and come back.”

While Eabha Swan tagged a friend and said: “Let’s go to all 10.”

Fintan Convery, however, went against the grain: “Yawn Yawn Yawn... when is this childish cry ‘Cork... the REAL capital of Ireland’ ever going to end? So tedious!”

Barry Bevan told him: “When you learn to accept it. Then maybe. Just maybe. But, then again, probably not.”

Claire O’Dwyer suggested of the top ten: “Do one a week.”

While Noelle Dempsey of Cork commented: “Best beaches in Ireland, without a doubt!”

Meanwhile, on Twitter, there were several suggestions for great Cork beaches.

Flor Mac Carthy said: “One or two more — Sherkin, Heir and Horse Island.”

And Finbarr O’Sullivan tweeted: “I came to tweet about Sherkin. It never makes one of these lists. Best beach in Cork. Huge and always lovely and quiet.”

Pat Murphy said: “Great list, only it’s Capel Island and Knockadoon peninsula across from Redbarn, not Ballycotton! Love East Cork.”

Wyon Stansfeld said: “I have a sudden urge to visit a beach.”

One of the negative aspects surrounding our beaches has been the sight of bins located there overflowing on busy, sunny days.

The issue prompted councillors to ask Cork County Council to act, but its chief executive Tim Lucey ruled out providing more litter bins to ease the littering problems, saying: “No matter how often we empty our bins, there will be people who will leave their rubbish at the side of a bin which is a disgrace.”

He added that there are already 958 litter bins throughout the county and stated: “If I had my way, I would have no bins around the county as I feel it only encourages people to leave litter.”

Rubbish dumped at a West Cork beauty spot.
Rubbish dumped at a West Cork beauty spot.

Many readers were annoyed at his remarks on our echolive.ie Facebook page.

Joe Ryan said: “If the bins were emptied daily, it would be a start.”

Rutkowski Mart Y Marcin said: “All over Europe, bins are necessary and are in public places, in Ireland the Government are cutting costs, I’d say.”

Helen Heaphy Grainge said: “So Tim would have no bins. does he live in the real world? We need bins that are fit for purpose, look at Tramore, big wheelie bins in busy places, lids are locked down with just enough of an opening to put in small amounts of rubbish at a time.”

However, Mr Lucey did get some backing.

Nora Lawton stated: “I’ve been to a few beaches in New Zealand and NO bins are provided. Big notices to take your rubbish home, no rubbish left either.”

Neasa Madden O’Connor said: “I agree, if you can bring it with you, you can bring it home.”

And Tony Lawlor commented: “He is 100% right. If you bring it with you then you should bring it home again. Take responsibility for your own dirt and filth. Dirty messy b******s.”

Paul Lynch added: “That’s the Japanese way. Forces people to take the litter they create home”

But James Healy said: “What a ridiculous statement from Mr Lucey. What he really means is he’s too stingy to employ more workers to empty bins.

“Not even 1,000 bins in a county this size is pathetic. Trying to fob it off then on business owners. What are rates being paid for so?”

Alejandro Gimeno agreed: “I come from Barcelona and even after three years living here, I am still shocked at the lack of bins in the streets. There should be WAY more to reduce littering, it’s no brainer.”

Jim Ryder said: “Ridiculous corner cutting.

“If the bins aren’t there, far too many lazy people will just toss their rubbish on the ground. A sign means nothing.”

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