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5 Best Wild Swimming Spots in Northern Ireland

Updated: Jan 2

Your Ultimate Guide to exploring off-the-beaten track wild swimming spots scattered across Northern Ireland.


Northern Ireland is home to some of the best natural wonders the UK has to offer, and among them are some of the most beautiful wild swimming spots waiting to be discovered. Tucked away in remote coasts, these hidden gems offer a tranquil escape from all the crowds, allowing you to swim in peace!


In this article, we share 5 of the best wild swimming spots in Northern Ireland which you need to add to your Northern Ireland bucket list this year. We hope you enjoy!


Image of Lough Shannagh in Northern Ireland


1) Kilclief Beach


Kilclief Beach is a lovely quiet beach around a 40 minutes drive from Belfast. With soft sand and clean water, this is the perfect spot for a stroll and swim.


The beach has a gentle gradient, so good to go for a swim, and there are rocky outcrops meaning plenty of rock pools to explore when the tide is out. They are used by the local seals to sun themselves when it's quiet and safe, so be aware of them if there with dogs!


Image of Kilclief Beach in Northern Ireland

2) Brompton Bay


Brompton Bay is a great swimming spot for those who like to swim in deep water. It's a beautiful sheltered, rocky cove featuring the legendary Jenny Watts cave, a stone jetty and a disappearing sandy beach.


Image of Dunseverick Cove in Northern Ireland

3) Ballygally Beach


Ballygally Beach is a lovely place to visit away from the crowds with a beautiful scenic view. It's a real hidden gem, providing visitors with a beautiful serene beach with fabulous views out to sea and the rolling Glen.


The place also has the Ballygally Castle Hotel which is right across the road facing the sea.


Image of Whitepark Bay Beach in Northern Ireland


4) Murlough Bay


The road down to this hidden gem is narrow and in places steep but it is quiet and there is parking. With low numbers of people it feels as if you have this whole bay to yourself. It's a peaceful, quiet and stunning coastline, and if you make it all the way you'll be surprised to discover an idyllic sandy beach.


Visitors can enjoy a long walk around the coast but we recommend wearing proper footwear, as it's not suitable for anyone in a wheelchair or those who can’t climb up uneven surfaces.


Image of Murlough Bay in Northern Ireland
Photo taken by Nicola Wasson.

5) Lough Shannagh


Who knew there was a beach in the middle of the mourne mountains? And who knew there were lizards in Northern Ireland (friendly ones!)?


Wild swimmers will be rewarded with the amazing surrounding views whilst having a little dip, and we'd say it's well worth the hike up. While here why not climb on up Slieve Doan for an even better view?!


Image of Lough Shannagh in Northern Ireland

We hoped you enjoyed discovering the local finds and less known wild swimming spots which are scattered around Northern Ireland. We are confident that visiting some of these hidden gems will make your Northern Ireland trip even more memorable!


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