32 great outdoor swimming spots around Ireland – one in every county

Mary McCarthy’s great guide to Ireland’s top swimming locations

Vicki McGrath at Harry’s Hole, Marble Hill, Co Donegal.

Vicki McGrath at Harry’s Hole, Marble Hill, Co Donegal.

One thing this island does not lack is great swimming spots. Mary MCCarthy has picked some of the VERY best LOCATIONS FOR A DIP – in the sea, lakes and outdoor pools  – in every county

Antrim

Name: Arcadia Beach (formerly known as Ladies Beach)
Location: Google Map: Arcadia Beach, Portrush
Brief description:
Small beach in front of Portrush town
Amenities: Toilets, parking (in town)
Lifeguard: No
Water quality: Excellent – Agricultural, Environment and Rural Affairs testing 2020
Tips: Can be wild in winter. When there’s a full tide there is no beach. For a 2km swim (this course is the East the Beast race), swim out and then turn right to swim parallel to the larger East Strand, head around the buoys and back.

Arcadia Beach (formerly known as Ladies Beach), in Portrush, can be wild in winter.
Arcadia Beach (formerly known as Ladies Beach), in Portrush, can be wild in winter.

Armagh

Name: Cam Lough
Location: Google Map: 83 Newtown Road, Camlough
Brief description:
Large disused reservoir and lake in a steep valley between Camlough Mountain and Slieve Gullion. Also called “crooked lake” for its ribbon shape which acts as a wind funnel, giving it more predictable and calm conditions than Lough Neagh
Amenities: Toilets, car park
Lifeguard: No
Water quality: Good. Its aquatic flora and fauna depend on unpolluted water, according to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs
Tips: Well-organised swim zones with orange and white buoys range from a 75m course up to 750m. There’s also a 25m laned pool handy for lengths

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