Must-visit beaches to paddle on this summer

It’s June and summertime has officially begun! Time for school holidays, day trips and spending every moment possible outdoors as we soak up our few months of Northern Ireland’s sunny summer weather!

Northern Ireland has miles and miles of coastline featuring some outstanding beaches, stunning scenery and fascinating wildlife, and whether you’re a long-time resident or a weekend visitor to Northern Ireland, our beaches are popular among everyone on beautiful summer days.

Of course, everyone has their favourites but we have put together a list of our favourite local beaches - our hidden favourites and they’re just a short journey from Dufferin Coaching Inn so you can enjoy them during your stay.

Ballyhornan Beach, Co Down

Northern Ireland natives under a certain age haven’t even heard of this place. Located just four miles from Ardglass, the height of activity in Ballyhornan came when Royal Air Force billets were built here for the nearby Bishopscourt air base. When the RAF moved out in the 1980s the area grew quieter and has been described as a lost village. Ballyhornan Beach is the real gem of the local area and, conveniently for walkers, it’s located on the Ulster Way. Thirsty day trippers can even stop off for refreshment in the nearby Cable Bar.

Kilclief Beach, Strangford

For a stunning view of the very mouth of Strangford Lough, you can’t do much better than Kilclief Beach. Kilclief is a tiny village tucked away on the loughshore but it does happen to have its very own castle which stands guards as you paddle in the blue waters. This beach is small but perfectly formed. On a clear day you can see the Isle of Man from the cliff path here.

Murlough Beach

A Blue Flag beach more than six kilometres  in length, a stroll along this coastline will certainly blow the cobwebs away. Nature lovers and bird watchers can take full advantage of the fact that the surrounding dunes are a National Nature Reserve. They feature, among other things, more than 600 species of butterflies and moths. Not a bad place to swim as there is an RNLI lifeguard service on-site in the summer months.

Coney Island

Who said a beach had to be beside the sea? Measuring just seven acres, this tiny island has a big following. It features in a Van Morrison song and was the location for the short film, The Shore. It’s just 1 kilometre  from the shore of Lough Neagh and used to be connected to the mainland by a causeway that can still be seen at low tide. The spot is easily overlooked but its picturesque setting is perfect for a picnic and a (short) walk.

Tyrella Beach

It might not exactly be a hidden treasure but there is a reason Tyrella is such a popular spot. A regular winner of the Blue Flag Award, Seaside Award and the Green Coast Award the beach is stuffed with amenities such as car-free and dog-free areas. It’s even on the South-East Canoe Trail.

Dufferin Coaching Inn is one of the closest places to stay to Tyrella so it’s certainly a must-see during your stay and the perfect spot for a picnic on the beach