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Travel + Fun

28th Jun 2023

Snack and swim – our favourite family swimming spots this summer

Sarah McKenna Barry

Brought to you by DiscoverIreland.

From sandy beaches to inland lakes to outdoor pools, spend this summer by the water at some of Ireland’s prettiest swimming spots.

There’s nothing quite like a day spent by the water to bond as a family, and this summer, we’re making it our mission to make the most of Ireland’s most fabulous swimming spots.

From beautiful beaches to tranquil lakes to unique outdoor swimming pools, our country has so much to offer those who long to be by the water. And the very best part? Ireland’s best beaches are all completely free to explore. That’s right, for a fun day out, all you need to do is pack your togs, a bucket and spade and enjoy a trip to some of Ireland’s best swimming spots.

When that post-swim hunger hits, we’ve got you covered as well. From ice-cream parlours to food trucks to picnic spots, we’ve paired some our favourite swimming spots with tasty, local eateries. These spots are also easy on the wallet as well, meaning that you and your family can enjoy a fun-packed day without worrying about splashing the cash.

So, ready to entertain the entire family by spending some time together by the water? Add these destinations to your summer itinerary and make memories to last a lifetime.

Portumna Beach, Co. Galway

While Ireland is home to plenty of stunning beaches, there are also plenty of lakes that are suitable to swim in this summer, and Portumna Beach in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands is one of our favourites. This inland lake beach is situated at the head of Lough Derg, and a shallower area is marked off, making it the perfect place to swim with young children.

Pack a picnic and tuck into it at one of the many picnic tables here, or stroll into Portumna Town and order a pizza from Roma Portumna.

Banagher Outdoor Swimming Pool, Co. Offaly

For a truly unique swimming experience this summer, head to Banagher Outdoor Swimming Pool in Co. Offaly. Located in Banagher Shannon Bank Park on the tranquil River Shannon, this swimming pool is one of Ireland’s hidden gems.

Take to the pool with your little ones, and when you’re done, enjoy a riverside picnic, or pop in in to Banagher Town and order a quick, delicious bite to eat from the Spudfeast Food Truck.

Lahinch Beach, Co. Clare

Lahinch Beach in Co. Clare is a beloved spot for surfers and swimmers alike, and it makes for a memorable family beach trip. Grab a bodyboard or simply enjoy this beach’s waves as a swimmer, and as you dry off, watch the surfers from the shore.

In terms of post-beach food options, there is a lot to choose from in Lahinch. Head to Hugo’s Deli for sandwiches, and then enjoy dessert at O’Connor’s Ice-Cream.

Portmarnock Beach, Dublin

This long stretch of sandy beach in Dublin is the ideal spot to visit with family this summer. Explore the sandy dunes of this ‘Velvet Strand’, stroll the 8km of golden sand, or cool off with a dip in the sea.

When hunger hits, the nearby Sweet Caroline’s boasts a wide array of ice-cream and frozen yogurt. For something a little more substantial visit an old Dublin favourite – Beshoff Bros in the neighbouring town of Malahide – and tuck in to some delicious fish and chips.

Rosses Point Beach, Co. Sligo

Heading to the Wild Atlantic Way this summer and looking for somewhere to swim? Make sure you add Rosses Point Beach in Co. Sligo to your itinerary. Stop off and spend some time by the water, paddle and stroll along this sandy beach, and enjoy the views of Knocknarea.

After your visit to the beach, warm up with some lunch at the nearby Little Cottage, a pint at Harry’s, or treat yourself to a delicious evening meal at Fish & Bean.

Greystones Beach, Co. Wicklow

Conveniently located near the Greystones Dart Station, the town of Greystones offers two beaches for families to explore during their trip to Ireland’s Ancient East. Collect shells as you stroll along the beaches, paddle in the cool waters or dip into the ocean for a proper swim.

Once you’ve had your fill of the beach, head into Greystones Village where an array of food options awaits. Enjoy a vegetarian meal from The Happy Pear, or indulge your sweet tooth at one of the town’s many ice-cream parlours. Or, if you’d prefer, pack a picnic and enjoy it on the beach.

For more ideas on how to make the most of your short break in Ireland, visit

From sandy beaches to inland lakes to outdoor pools, there are so many great places to swim with your family this summer. 

The Leave No Trace principles help us make as little an impact as possible on the incredible Irish landscape as we explore the outdoors this summer and beyond. Keep outdoor areas safe, clean and free from waste/hazards, and help protect the natural environment. Love this place, leave no trace.

Brought to you by DiscoverIreland.