Hidden Gems of the Wild Atlantic Way
Ireland’s beaches are considered by many as the most breath-taking in the world.
Whether you want to surf in the wild Atlantic, picnic in the small secluded coves or walk barefoot along the seemingly endless stretches of sand and breathe in the fresh air, Ireland’s beaches can accommodate. Away from the hustle and bustle of the well-trodden seaside hotspots are beaches, described by West Cork locals as the hidden gems of the Wild Atlantic Way. If you’re keen to experience something that’s a little bit off the beaten track and secluded enough to feel truly relaxing then West Cork is what you’re looking for. Having grown up in the area I can boast some insider knowledge and have chosen, what I believe are the best four beaches in the area.
Silver Strand, Sherkin Island
Silver Strand, can be found on the West side of Sherkin Island, off the picturesque village of Baltimore. As the name suggests, the beach has wonderful silvery sand where you can sit and enjoy panoramic views of Cape Clear Island and the Atlantic Ocean. You can get to Sherkin on the ferry which runs regularly from Baltimore. From the pier in Sherkin you can walk across the island to the beach or you could arrange a lift with the island taxi.
Top tip – Stop off for a hot chocolate in the Islanders rest on the way home and enjoy the views of the Beacon at the mouth of Baltimore Harbour.
Sandy Cove, Castlehaven
This tiny little cove is near the historic town of Castletownsend and, as no public transport runs to this area, a car is necessary to get there. It is very popular with locals. Nestled between high cliffs on three sides, it is accessed by steep steps down the cliff edge. Kids are never out of sight in this little beach so parents can relax. It’s a great spot for snorkelling too.
Top tip – Bring a picnic as you won’t find a shop nearby.
This beach is located not far from Tragumna and the large market town of Skibbereen. Again you will need a car to access this secluded spot and free parking is available next to the beach. This is another West Cork beach that is extremely popular with locals, particularly favoured by families with young children. This beach is very sheltered and safe for swimming.
Top tip – bring a disposable barbeque and some sausages – there are no shops nearby.
Barleycove Beach, Co. Cork, Ireland