The little known beach with dolphins and basking sharks – and it's close to major Irish city | The Sun

SUMMER is just around the corner, and if you are looking for a break away surrounded by spectacular scenery, relaxing beaches and captivating wildlife, then we may have the perfect place for you.

Sandycove is a quiet and serene bay located at the mouth of Ardkilly Creek on the western side of Kinsale Harbour, just 40 minutes from Cork city.

The sandy beaches of the cove are sheltered by Sandycove Island, a small rock ringed and grass topped uninhabited parcel of land home to generations of wild goats.


The cove, once used by smugglers to access the town, is now a favourite for wild swimming enthusiasts.

For those looking for a leisurely swim, making your way around Sandycove Island is a great adventure.

Many experienced swimmers choose to take on the challenge of swimming around the entire island, which has a circumference of 1,600m.

If you want to stay dry in the water, why not explore the stunning views and interesting landmarks by kayak? Here you'll find secret beaches and caves along the rugged cliffside.


In September, the 'Sandycove Island Challenge' takes place.

This annual open-water swimming race has been held since 1994 and attracts over three hundred swimmers.

The swim departs from the slipway of the small hamlet, goes around Sandycove Island and back again to the slipway.

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Totalling a distance of around 1,600m, the race has no handicapping applied and is open to all competent sea swimmers.


If you love lacing up the boots and exploring by foot, then Sandycove has plenty of exceptional walk options for you.

A stunning walk which begins at the cove will take you along the cliffs, where you can sit nestled into the natural vistas for a picnic with views of the extraordinary blue sea.

However, walkers are advised to keep to the path, as the trail is wild and untouched and has many dangerous drops along the walkway.

As the walk continues, you will be met with a view of Kinsale's rich history.

Walkers will pass the church and Graveyard of Courtaparteen Famine Village. Although you can't access the historical site from the Sandycove walkway, it is a fantastic place to explore before or afterwards.


Sandycove also offers the rare experience of spotting some of Ireland's largest residents.

Very frequently, whales, dolphins and basking sharks are seen in Sandycove Bay.

There is potential to spot blue whales, sperm whales and long-finned pilot whales, who are known to migrate through Irish waters.

Dolphins can also be found in the Sandycove and inner Harbour while basking sharks, the second largest fish in the world, have too been spotted.

Hotel and B&B prices for Kinsale start at €100 per night.

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A classic double room at the Kinsale Hotel & Spa for two adults is currently priced from €169.

The three-star Kinsale B&B also has rooms right now from €100 – with breakfast included, according to

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