©Paul McCambridge – Sunset on Derrynane Beach

Viewed from the road above, Derrynane Beach, once notorious as a smugglers’ port, makes the swimmer itch to get down to it. The road is long and winding and seems to take you far past the first tantalising view but persevere and follow the signs for Derrynane House. These will eventually lead down to the shore and this gorgeous string of beaches, a series of sandy coves, each a different size and shape. The water virtually calls out for one to run down the strand and dive right in. Picture-perfect, the white sandy beaches curve around between the scattered rocks where one can happily while away an entire day swimming and rock-pooling in this natural harbour. 

Take care at the largest stretch of beach as it is prone to strong currents but there are plenty of coves and bays to explore and swim. The sunsets here are unparalleled, bathing the cove in pink and purple hues.

Excerpt from Wild Swimming in Ireland, 2016, ISBN 978-1-84889-280-4