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Whether it's a bracing walk in winter or a summer day out complete with sand in your sandwiches, nothing beats a Cork beach. With miles of unspoilt coastline and drifts of silken sands, there's a beach in Cork to suit everyone. Here are some of our favourites:
Possibly Cork's most famous beach, Inchydoney strand lies an hour's drive from Cork City, near Clonakilty in West Cork. A sweeping crescent of fine sand, Inchydoney is ideal for swimming, surfing, strolling, or a spot of sandcastle building. When the tide is out, the sand stretches out to the horizon, creating a seascape of pristine magic. A causeway connects Inchydoney Island with Clonakilty, a hotbed of culinary inventiveness, where you can pick up some exceptionally tasty picnic supplies en route to the beach.
Barleycove beach is a long spit of beautiful sand between two headlands on the Mizen Peninsula in West Cork and backed by a wall of dunes that were created by the tidal wave that deluged Europe after the Lisbon earthquake of 1755. Though partly eroded, the dunes are now protected as a European-designated Special Area of Conservation. An unusual floating bridge controls visitor access and mitigates damage to natural surroundings. The beach has lifeguards at weekends during the bathing season. Take the N71 from Bantry, followed by the R591 south west towards Toormore. At Toormore, head in the direction of Goleen (R591). After several kilometres, you will arrive at a junction. Follow the road marked for Barleycove.
Long considered one of the top beaches in the Rebel County (and therefore, according to Cork people, in Ireland), Garretstown near Kinsale marks out more than a kilometre of coastline in golden sand. Officially two beaches, Garretstown itself is located at the Ballinspittle end, whereas Garrylucas lies nearer the Old Head of Kinsale. This end of the beach is best for lounging and grabbing any rays of sunshine that may hit the Cork area, whereas the western end is more suitable for surfers and other watersports enthusiasts.
You'll have plenty of room to spread your towel on Sherkin Island, home to barely 100 people. Silver Strand, tucked away at the end of a fuchsia-lined lane, is a sandy stretch flanking the sparkling waters that reach to Cape Clear. To get to Sherkin Island, take the ferry from Baltimore. Silver Strand is about a kilometre from the harbour. Turn right after the Franciscan Friary.
Now you see it; now you don't. At high tide, the beach at Dunworley disappears, forcing diehard beach-goers to retreat to the grassy cliffs in summer, but when the waves retreat, you will find an idyllic sandy cove scattered with rock pools, caves, and shell-encrusted outcrops. It is surrounded by the magnificent scenery of Cork's oft-overlooked Seven Heads Peninsula, but even in this stunning setting, Dunworley stands out. Enjoy the scenic route by taking the R600 from Clonakilty through Courtmacsherry, or follow the signs through Ring village.
0.1km from Schull
Stay at one of these south-facing self-catering holiday homes on the edge of the West Cork village of Schull, overlooking the harbour. The three-bedroom self catering properties feature one double bedroom, one twin bedroom, and one single room. These holiday homes are an ideal base for touring the south west, or simply for relaxing and enjoying it all.
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1km from Youghal
Enjoy 4-star luxury in this family-friendly self catering complex in the beautiful seaside town of Youghal, East Cork. This complex features a selection of self catering properties available to rent for short and long-term breaks, including 2-, 3- and 4-bed villas and apartments. This particular property is a two-bedroom apartment that sleeps 4.
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0.4km from Cork City
The self catering apartments are equipped with a TV and a fully fitted kitchen with cooker, hob, fridge freezer and microwave. Bed linen and towels are supplied. This is a great location for holidaying families and business travellers. It offers complimentary internet connection and free use of the leisure centre, with its 25m pool, waterslide, gym, saunas, jacuzzi, rooftop hot tub, tennis courts, sunbeds and steam room.
3.6km from Clonakilty
This converted stone boathouse offers unique self-catering accommodation overlooking the bay near Clonakilty in County Cork. With its picturesque location, Clonakilty is an ideal destination for those who wish to take a step back from the hustle and bustle of city life.
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0.6km from Clonakilty
Conveniently located in the popular market town of Clonakilty in County Cork, this attractive self-catering townhouse offers 4 star accommodation. The family-friendly holiday home has three bedrooms, and bed linen is supplied free. The patio at the rear of the self-catering property is an ideal place for unwinding after a memorable day of sightseeing in the stunning surrounding area.
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