Backed by dunes, green hills, and wave-worn rocks, this vast expanse of sugary soft, seaweed-free white sand looks almost Caribbean when the sun shines. It’s a popular spot for swimming and beach walks, and at low tide, it connects to Abbey Island, home to the ruins of the sixth-century Derrynane Abbey.
Derrynane Beach is situated near the village of Caherdaniel on the Ring of Kerry, a scenic driving route that encircles the Iveragh Peninsula. Many Ring of Kerry sightseeing tours pass by and sometimes stop at the beach, or at the nearby Derrynane House, the former home of 19th-century Irish political leader Daniel O’Connell. Other visit Derrynane Beach independently, to enjoy swimming in summer or brisk beach walks in winter.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Derrynane Beach is a must for photographers, beach lovers, and scenery seekers.
- If you plan to spend the day here, bring supplies (food, water, warm layers of clothing), as there are no shops or restaurants on the beach.
- The beach is staffed by a lifeguard during the summer; check the notice board at the beach for lifeguard hours.
How to Get There
Derrynane Beach is situated along the Ring of Kerry, less than 2 miles (3 kilometers) from the village of Caherdaniel, and about 43 miles (70 kilometers) from Killarney, County Kerry. The beach is not served by public transportation, so if you don’t have access to a car, it’s best to visit as part of a tour.
When to Get There
Derrynane Beach is busiest in summer, when warmer water temperatures facilitate swimming. But even in the peak months of July and August, this beach rarely feels crowded. There’s lots of space on the sand for beachgoers to stretch out. If you go in winter, there’s a good chance you’ll find the beach deserted. Refreshing walks on winter days showcase its desolate beauty.
When the tide is out, visitors can cross over from the beach to Abbey Island via an exposed sandbar. The island is littered with gravestones, including that of Mary O’Connell (the wife of Irish political “liberator” Daniel O’Connell), near the remains of a sixth-century abbey. The island offers superb views back out over Derrynane Beach and the coastline extending south.