Ireland’s capital city is on the coast of the Irish sea and there are great local traditions that revolve around swimming in it. In Dublin, there are plenty of great places to swim, but there are also things to look out for, and this is even before you factor in the (in)famous Irish weather!
Dublin Bay is one of the safest places to swim in open water in Ireland, provided you take safety precautions. There are no health risks associated with swimming in a variety of locations off the coast of the city. If you are swimming at a beach, ensure there is no weather warning.
While it might seem crazy to some that anyone would even consider swimming off the coast of Ireland at all, people do it pretty much every day that its safe to do so. Even in the middle of winter, Dubliners will flock to the sea for a daily swim and will reap all of the health benefits that it can provide!
Is it Safe to Swim in Dublin
It is safe to swim in Dublin, provided there is no weather warning in effect. The Irish sea is easily accessible in a variety of locations very close to the city and its suburbs. If you wish to swim in Dublin, it is advisable to check the weather beforehand and to ensure that you are comfortable in your ability to swim.
While it might not seem like Ireland as a whole is a great place to go swimming, with all of our famous weather, this is not the case. There are countless pristine beaches all around the coastline of Ireland and some of these are within easy reach of the capital city.
To check the Irish weather forecast, please check out the Irish Meteorological Survey’s (Met Éireann) website here.
There are plenty of health benefits associated with a daily swim in the sea and many Irish people have made this a part of their daily routine. Even right next to the city, there is clean seawater to swim in that locals have been taking advantage of for generations, but more on that further down…
If a sea swim is not to your taste, there are plenty of swimming pools around the country that are open to the public. Some of these pools may be in gyms or universities, others might be located further away from the city center in suburbs where more people live, but most should be easily accessible.
Can You Swim in Dublin Beaches
The list of beaches for swimming in Dublin changes every year as the list of “Blue Flag” beaches are updated annually. Every year, inspectors will assess beaches throughout Ireland based on the following criteria:
- Educational Information
- Water Quality
- Environmental Management
- Safety and Services
Depending on the conditions that year, beaches around the country might gain or lose the much coveted “Blue Flag” status. If they gain it, then many locals and tourists alike will flock to the area. But if the status is lost, then there will often be a huge public outcry. The loss of these flags on beaches in Dublin sometimes have made the national news.
While you can swim in other locations around the city, these are usually the best places to go. If you want to learn more about the locations of these beaches and the criteria used to asses them, then please check out the Blue Flag website here.
Where is it Safe to Swim in Dublin?
It is possible to swim from almost anywhere along the coast of Dublin city, provided you are away from Dublin port and the stronger water currents at the mouth of the river Liffey. Many of the beaches close to the city center are rocky however and you will need to travel further out to see sandy beaches.
Some of the swimming locations on the Dublin coast have been popular for generations and the facilities at them will be well maintained. The locations that I mention below are all easily accessible via public transport.
This beach is located north of Dublin city center and is also known as the “velvet strand”, due to the smooth and fine nature of the sand on along this 3-mile section of the Irish coast.
Howth is one of the places in Dublin that I recommend most highly. This peninsula is just north of the city and has some amazing cliffs, gorgeous hiking trails, great seafood and some excellent swimming at low tide.
Dún Laoghaire/ the 40 Foot
The town of Dún Laoghaire (pronounced: doon leery), is about as far south as Howth is north from Dublin. While there are no beaches here, people will visit the town to swim at the “40 foot” whenever the sun shines. Even during the winter, the tradition in Dublin is to jump into the water here on both Christmas Day and New Years!
Technically, Bray is in Co. Wicklow, just to the south of Dublin. But since many of Dublin’s city transport links go down this far, I’m counting it anyway! Many people swim every day next to the harbor in Bray off the stony beach, which is about a 10 minute walk away from the train station.
Though there are plenty of rivers and canals in Dublin, it is generally recommended to avoid swimming in them. There are certain times of the year when this is easier however, like the annual “Liffey Swim”, which takes place at the end of the summer.
Is the Water Too Cold to Swim in Ireland?
It is usually safe to swim in Ireland throughout the year, however all Irish waters are cold enough to cause cold water shock on any day of the year. If you regularly swim in the open water, this is more likely to happen in the winter. Cold water shock is recognized by hyperventilating and gasping.
Between the months of September to May, it is common for Irish open water temperatures to dip below 10C. If this is the case, it is recommended that you make sure to stay as warm as possible both before and after going in the water.
For more information on how do deal with the temperature of Irish water, please find swimireland’s information here.