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Fountainstown Beach Cork: The Best Beach Close to Cork City?

Fountainstown Beach is most of the most popular beaches in Cork.

It is a family friendly location on the south Cork coast and popular with beach walkers. 

As it is one of the closest beaches to Cork City, Fountainstown is visited all year round.

For my family, a trip to Fountainstown Beach was a New Year tradition. As well as being a great location to enjoy the summer sunshine, Fountainstown Beach is a good spot in winter to blow away the cobwebs too!

This beach has been awarded the Blue Flag of quality in 2023 and has also won a Green Coast Award

There are nice sea views and plenty of walking opportunities, both along the beach, as well as in the locality. 

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Fountainstown Beach Cork

Fountainstown Beach with the tide almost fully in.
Fountainstown Beach with the tide almost fully in. (Photo:

Sandy sections cover the lower section of the beach.

The upper parts are typically covered in stones and pebbles (and occasionally seaweed). When the tide is completely in, the sandy section is covered.

A wide, concrete ramp leads down to the beach on the side with the cliff. 

There is also a small river that flows down the side of the beach near the cliff. Most of the river is behind a wall.

Fountainstown Cork Hits the Headlines!

Fountainstown Beach at night can also occasionally be a magical place. 

The beach in County Cork became famous in Ireland and beyond for its formidable bright blue bioluminescence show in August 2020. 

Bioluminescent plankton lit up the waves at Fountainstown creating a natural spectacle that those who were lucky enough to experience will never forget!

What to do on Fountainstown Beach?

Fountainstown Beach Swimming

Fountainstown beach is a popular swimming location

It is a shallow beach with plenty of good paddling opportunities.

The best time to swim at this beach is probably when the tide is low. 

Please note that there are only lifeguards on duty at this location during the summer bathing season

Fountainstown Beach Cliff Walk

The popular Fountainstown Beach walk that is popular all year round.

In addition, it is possible to walk along the cliff path part of the way towards Myrtleville Beach

This is where you will get a better view of Fountainstown Beach and the nearby Ringabella Creek estuary

Take extra care if you decide to walk along this cliff route as there are exposed drops and uneven surfaces.  

Tip: Keep an eye for fossils in the ancient mudstone rocks around Fountainstown. 

You never know what unusual fossils you might find!

Fountainstown Beach to Myrtleville Beach Road Walk

Another short, enjoyable road walk is the one that leads from Fountainstown Beach to Myrtleville Beach along the Coast Road (R612). 

This small, country road lined with houses does not have a footpath, but offers very scenic views of Fountainstown Beach

Closer to Myrtleville Beach it is also possible to see Roche’s Point Lighthouse on the other side of the mouth of Cork Harbour. 

For other walking ideas in the Fountainstown area, check out this local community Fountainstown Cork website

Roche's Point Lighthouse is on the opposite side of Cork Harbour to Fountainstown Beach.
Roche’s Point Lighthouse is on the opposite side of Cork Harbour to Fountainstown Beach. The opening in coastline in the background is the entrance to Ringabella Bay by Fountainstown Beach. (Photo: mikemike10 via Shutterstock)

Fountainstown Beach Shop and Cafe

If you are looking for Fountainstown Beach restaurants, then you are out of luck. 

There is a small shop located next to the beach that sells beverages and light snacks

A small number of outdoor seats and tables are also available in the Fountainstown Beach Cafe.

(Depending on the day and more specifically the weather, there may be food trucks selling snacks and drinks at the location as well.) 

In case you have forgotten some beach essentials, it is also possible to purchase a few last-minute beach items in the shop. 

It is worth keeping in mind though that this shop is usually only open during the high season. 

Fountainstown Beach Sauna

Like many other Cork beaches, a mobile sauna is now a regular feature at Fountainstown Beach. 

Sauna bookings for either a shared or private 30 or 60 minute session are available. 

More information about the Happy Place Sauna and its availability is availablity and prices via their Facebook page.  

Fountainstown Beach Fishing

Fountainstown Beach is occasionally used by anglers, especially around the spring tides when the weather is warm. 

The nearby estuary that connects with the River Minane is also a good place to fish. 

Typical fish species caught at this location include Sea Bass, Dab, Flounder, Grey Mullet and Whiting

Fountainstown Beach FAQs

Where is Fountainstown Beach?

Fountainstown Beach is located on the south side of Cork City about 15 minutes from Carrigaline and 7 minutes drive from Crosshaven

From the beach it is possible to see the passing boats and shipping traffic that enters the mouth of Cork Harbour.

The entrance to Cork Harbour is located around the headland closer to Myrtleville Beach.

Fountainstown Beach Directions – How do I get to Fountainstown Beach?

Distance from Cork City: 20 km or 13 miles

Time to Drive from Cork City: ca. 30 minutes

Cork City to Fountainstown Beach Map

Map of Cork City to Fountainstown Beach
Image via Google Maps (Map Data © 2023). For a larger view of the map, please see Google Map to Fountainstown Beach from Cork City.

If you are traveling from Cork City, take the N28 and follow the road signs for Carrigaline. This will bring you onto the R611. 

It is best to avoid the traffic in Carrigaline village, so follow the Cork Road before you enter the town and take the R612 and follow the signs en route for Fountainstown. 

Fountainstown Beach Cork Bus

The 220x bus leaves Cork City Parnell Place bus station at regular intervals and it is a convenient way to get to the beach from the city center. 

This Fountainstown Beach bus travels through Douglas and Carrigaline before it reaches the car park at the beach. 

It is quite a popular route when the weather is good in summer.  

What is Fountainstown Beach parking like?

There is a large free public car park at Fountainstown Beach. Some additional car spaces are located directly behind the beach. 

When the weather is good, Fountainstown Beach tends to get crowded and the car park is full. 

It is best to aim to visit slightly earlier in the day to avoid the worst of the congestion. 

There are no cars allowed on Fountainstown Beach.

Aerial view of the car park and bus stop at Fountainstown Beach in Cork.
Aerial view of the car park and bus stop at Fountainstown Beach in Cork. (Map Data: Google, Map Data © 2023 CNES /Airbus, Maxar Technologies)

Are there public toilets at Fountainstown Beach?

Yes, there are public toilets available at Fountainstown Beach. 

What facilities are at Fountainstown Beach?

Lifeguards are stationed at the beach and provide emergency care during the summer bathing season. 

The summer bathing season varies slightly each year, but is typically the summer months of July and some of August.

Check the local Fountainstown lifeguard station to see when the lifeguard services are available and always pay attention to the lifeguard flag when it is flying.

There is a concrete ramp that may help people with mobility issues access the beach. This may be slippy from time to time so take care here.  

The beach itself is stony and pebbly close to the road and sandier further down the beach.

There is a recycling policy at the beach. Litter bins and recycling facilities are provided. 

Usually the number of bins available at the location increases to cope with the demand during the summer visitor season.

Can you swim at Fountainstown Beach?

Swimming at Fountainstown Beach is possible when the conditions are safe

Please note that it is only during the summer bathing season are lifeguards stationed at the beach. 

Water safety should always be a top priority throughout the year. Conditions near water can change quickly. 

Find out more information about staying safe in Irish waters via the Irish Water Safety website.

What is the water quality at Fountainstown Beach?

Blue Flag Beach Flag
Fountainstown is a Blue Flag Beach (awarded in 2023) (Photo: Alex Tihonovs via Shutterstock).

Information about thereafter quality at Fountainstown beach during the summer bathing season is available online via the Environmental Protection Agency’s Beaches website.

The water quality at the beach typically ranges between “Good” and “Excellent” status. 

In 2023 Fountainstown Beach was awarded the blue Flag Status in recognition of the high water quality.

Fountainstown Beach Tides 

When the tide is in at Fountainstown beach most of the sandy part of the beach is under water. 

To make the most of the sandy section try to visit the beach when the tide is out or low.

Information about the Fountainstown Beach tide times is available via the beaches website.

Fountainstown Beach Weather Information

To get a good overview of what the weather will be like on Fountainstown Beach check out the localized weather forecast on

Met Éireann is another useful site that provides general information about the regional weather in Munster.

Are dogs allowed on Fountainstown beach?

The official information is that dogs are not allowed on Fountainstown Beach, even those on a leash.

Things to Do near Fountainstown Beach

Crosshaven is an idyllic town just a short distance from Fountainstown Beach. Its marina boasts a large number of boats and yachts of all sizes.

In our opinion, one of the best areas of Crosshaven is the Fort Camden Meagher

This old military fort guarded the entrance to Cork Harbour and is an important part of Cork’s maritime heritage.

There are often restricted opening hours at this tourist attraction so be sure to visit the website to check the opening hours before you visit. 

Tip: Even if the fort itself is closed, it is worth going to the car park near the entrance as the views of Cork Harbour with Spike Island and other Cobh Highlights are unbeatable!

Beaches in Cork

Fountainstown Beach on a cold day
Even on a cold February Day, a trip to Fountainstown Beach can be refreshing! (Photo:

Myrtleville Beach and the neighboring Fountainstown Beach can really be considered the nearests beaches to Cork City. 

There are plenty more great beaches and coastal areas around the Cork coast to explore. 

Some of the best beaches in East Cork include the surfing location of Inch Beach and Youghal Beach (complete with a new 7 km long boardwalk).

West Cork also has its fair share of scenic beaches and quiet coves includingInchydoney, Barleycove Beach and Garnish Beach

For more information about the best beaches in Cork or some beaches in Kinsale and the surrounding area including Garretstown Beach, check out our detailed guides. 

We also recommend checking the stunning Connemara beaches like the coastline near Clifden, if you head to Galway!)