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Garrylucas Beach Cork: The Kinsale Kite Surfing Paradise

Garrylucas Beach is one of the best beaches in Cork and definitely one of the most popular in the Kinsale area. 

The beach is also located quite close to Cork City (50 minutes drive). This makes it an ideal location for a day trip to the seaside for many people from Cork and beyond. 

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Garrylucas Beach Cork

Garrylucas Beach on a sunny windy day, with a kite.
Garrylucas Beach is famous for kite surfing. (Photo:

Garrylucas was designated a Blue Flag Beach (2023). It is one of the beaches on the Wild Atlantic Way and one of the highlights of the beaches in the Kinsale area

Rocky cliffs are located on either side of the beach and the main section consists of a long sandy bay with some sand dunes. 

To the north of the beach lies the Garrylucas Marsh, which is also known as the Kilcolman Marsh and is an ecologically sensitive area.

Visitors come to Garrylucas Beach for the scenery and sea air all year round, although it is definitely at its most popular during good weather in the summer. 

Did you know? On the ordnance survey maps of the area, Garrylucas beach is identified as White Strand.

Garrylucas Beach Things to Do

A kite surfer and a woman horse riding.
There is plenty to do on Garrylucas Beach! (Photo: Courtesy of the

So what can one do on Garrylucas Beach? 

There are plenty of activities on and near the beach as well as some attractions nearby that are well worth visiting. 

Garrylucas Beach Kinsale Walking

Garrylucas is a popular place for a stroll at the seaside all year round. The strand slopes gently towards the sea, so the gradient is ideal for beach walking. 

It is best to time your walk for when the tide is out as the bigger expanse of sand is more enjoyable to walk on.

When the tide is in, it may be necessary to walk on the stoney, pebbly area at the back of the beach in parts.

Alternatively, you can walk along the footpath located directly behind the beach on the roadside.

This footpath allows people to also experience the beach setting, without the challenge of walking on the sand along the beach. 

(Note: There is disability access via ramps to the beach. Occasionally sand does blow onto the footpath as well, which might cause some difficulties for some people.)

Garrylucas Beach Swimming

This beach is a popular swimming location. 

During the summer months there are lifeguards on duty during the summer bathing season here. 

Other outdoor water sports, such as kitesurfing are also popular on the beach, but during the summer months when the lifeguards are on patrol, this is strictly an area for swimmers.  

Garrylucas Beach Kitesurfing

Kite Surfers on Garrlucas Beach.
Kite Surfers on Garrlucas Beach. (Photo: Courtesy of the

Garrylucas Beach is south facing and receives the brunt of the prevailing winds that come in from the south west.

It is an exposed beach with some of the best wave and wind conditions in the country.

This is thanks to the angle of the beach, making it a top contender for one of Ireland’s best kitesurfing locations. 

(The nearby Garretstown Beach is typically more of a surfer beach, although people do surf and take part in other water sport outdoor activities on Garrylucas Beach as well.) 

This location is suitable for beginners and experienced Kite Surfers. 

If you fancy learning to kitesurf or improving your skills in one of Ireland’s top kitesurfing locations, then check out the Kite Sport Centre for more information about lessons and equipment. 

Bonus Tip: Even if you are not a kitesurfer and don’t plan on going anywhere near the water, it is well worth checking out the aerial acrobatics of these Kitesurfers on a blustery day!

Garrylucas Beach Angling

The Garrylucas Beach fishing possibilities should be timed for when the sea conditions are right and not too weedy.

When the circumstances are good, then the beach is also a good spot for anglers. 

Garrylucas Beach FAQs

Where is Garrylucas Beach?

Garrylucas Beach located in scenic West Cork is about 15 minutes drive from the town of Kinsale. 

It is on the south west facing side of the Old Head of Kinsale.

If you are coming from Cork City, then it takes about 50 minutes to reach this sandy beach.  

Garrylucas Beach Directions – How do I get there?

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

Distance from Cork City: 39 km or 24 miles

Time to Drive from Cork City: ca. 50 minutes

The most direct route by car from Cork City to Garrylucas involves the R600 road. 

This will take you from the city, through Kinsale and as far as Barrells Crossroads, from there turn onto R604 road. 

Follow signs for Garretstown Beach from the famous Speckled Door Pub at the road junction to the Old Head of Kinsale. 

The first beach you will reach is Garrylucas, the second Garretstown Beach. 

Garrylucas Beach Bus

While using public transport to get to Garrylucas Beach is possible, it is not the easiest option especially in summer when many people opt to visit the beach. 

Bus Éireann provides a regular bus service between Cork City and Kinsale. 

From Kinsale, there are about 3-4 bus connections a day between Kinsale and Clonakilty, which stop at Garrylucas and Garretstown. 

This service is provided by local link so the availability of spaces onboard these smaller buses, may be limited. 

You need to time the bus connections well in both directions and hope that there is availability on the local bus. 

During busy times, it is probably best not to opt for the last connection in case it doesn’t quite work out. 

TIP for Beach in Cork City and County Public Transport Network: Other beaches, such as the beach at Fountainstown and Myrtleville Beach closer to Cork City can be reached easier by public transport. 

What is Garrylucas Beach parking like?

There are two decent sized car parks at Garrylucas Beach, one at either end.

In addition, there is also designated parking along the roadside by the beach. 

During the summer, when this beach gets busy, people tend to park on the roadside further from the beach and the entire area can get congested. 

Tip: Try to get to the beach early to avoid the worst of the traffic congestion that occurs on these days. 

Are there public toilets at Garrylucas Beach?

Yes, there are public toilets at Garrylucas Beach. 

What facilities are at Garrylucas Beach?

The waves at Garrylucas Beach on a glorious day.
The waves at Garrylucas Beach on a glorious day. (Photo:

During the summer bathing season (roughly the beginning of June to the end of August), lifeguards are stationed at the beach every day.

There is a designated Lifeguarded zone on the beach. 

(Please check locally about the hours that they are on duty.)

Lifebuoys are stationed at intervals along the back of the beach.

As this is a popular spot, it is often frequented by food trucks and temporary coffee stalls. These are seasonal though, so don’t count on them being there in the middle of winter!

There is also a café and restaurant “Stranded” located close to Garretstown Beach.

The colorful picnic tables and benches in a grassy area near the beach are frequently used by families during the summer months. 

There is disability access to the beach via a concrete ramp into the sand. A footpath runs along the back of the beach beside the road. 

Litter bins and some recycling facilities are available at the beach. Please make sure to use these to dispose of your waste responsibly. 

Unfortunately, not everyone follows this simple advice to keep the beach and surrounding areas clean. 

There are no shower facilities available at Garrylucas Beach.

Can you swim at Garrylucas Beach?

When the conditions are suitable Garrylucas Beach is a good swimming beach.

Lifeguards are only on duty during the summer months at this beach. 

Always keep an eye out for their flag, which will help you assess if the conditions are suitable for swimming. 

As always, please take care around water and only enter the water if you are confident that the conditions are safe.  

As with all open water swimming areas the conditions can change rapidly and become dangerous. 

More useful information about swimming in Ireland can be found on the Irish Water Safety website.

What is the water quality at Garrylucas Beach?

The water quality of Garrylucas Beach is monitored during the summer bathing season. 

Regular updates to the status of the water quality can be found on the Environmental Protection Agency website

Garrylucas Beach Tidal Information

Tidal information for Garrylucas Beach can be viewed at the following beach website

Garrylucas Beach Weather Information

One of the best weather forecasts for the area is the YR forecast for the nearby Garretstown Beach.

This is sufficiently close to get a good idea of what the weather in Garrylucas Beach will be like. 

Are dogs allowed on Garrylucas beach?

Garrylucas is not a dog friendly beach. Dogs, even on a leash, are officially not permitted on the beach. 

However, they can be walked on the nearby footpath. Here there are frequent signs to remind people to remove their dog waste.

Garrylucas Webcam – Does the beach have one?

Yes, there is a webcam on Garrylucas Beach operated by the Kite Sport Centre

It is a great way to check the weather before you depart for the beach, or to daydream about being on a beach when you are elsewhere. 

There is also a webcam view of Garretstown Beach available as well. 

Garrylucas Beach on a calm day.
Garrylucas Beach on a calm day. (Photo: joningall via Depositphoto)

Places to stay near Garrylucas Beach

Trident Hotel Kinsale

The Trident in Kinsale has been offering their guests superb hospitality and service for decades. 

This luxury four-star hotel, with stunning views and set in a prime location in the heart of Kinsale also has an award winning restaurant. 

Can you think of a better way to relax after a day at the beach?!

Kinsale Coastal Cottages

If you are looking for a holiday rental close to the beach, you can get much closer than the Kinsale Coastal Cottages

This self catering accommodation is ideal if you plan on spending a lot of time at the nearby beaches of Garrylucas and Garretstown. 

These spacious cottages are perfect for families, surfers and kite surfers who want to make the most of the stunning location. 

Garrylucas Beach Camping 

Garrettstown House Holiday Park located about 5 minutes drive from the beach and offers camping facilities (as well as mobile homes for rent) 

There are also plenty of plenty of family friendly activities here from playgrounds to an activity program for kids during the summer months. 

Things to Do near Garrylucas Beach

Kinsale Beaches

If beaches take your fancy, there are plenty more stunning ones in the general area. 

We have created a guide to the beach in Kinsale and included some of the best ones, including Rocky Bay, Nohoval Cove and the Dock Beach Kinsale. 

Beach and Cliff Walk

If you are visiting Garrylucas Beach, it is definitely worth going for a long beach walk. 

One suggested route, listed here suggests starting on Garretstown Beach (the nearest beach to Garrylucas Beach) and following the coastline around. 

It is possible to walk over the cliffs between the Garretstown Beach and Garrylucas Beach, where there is another smaller more secluded beach. 

This small sandy cove is known by the name of Nun’s Beach. Make sure to keep an eye on the tide and don’t get caught out as it approaches!

From the cliffs it is possible to walk along Garrylucas beach and up the cliffs on the other side. 

It is not possible to walk very far along this side, but the views are really impressive and well worth checking out. 

More information about this walk can be found in the newspaper article here

Lusitania Museum and Old Head Signal Tower

The view of the Old Head of Kinsale from Garretstown Beach.
The view of the Old Head of Kinsale from Garretstown Beach. (Photo:

The Old Head of Kinsale is now a private golf links and access is restricted. 

I remember the public outcry when the plans were presented and finally politically accepted.

However, it is still worth visiting the Lusitania Museum and Old Head Signal Tower that are located nearby. 

The museum explores the fate of the RMS Lusitania liner that sank off the coast of Kinsale after being torpedoed by a German U-boat in 1915.

There were 1959 people onboard the ship at the time of the sinking, with only 761 people surviving the sinking.

The Old Head Signal Tower is a small tower that was built as part of a communication system around the Irish coastline to warn against a possible French invasion at the beginning of the 19th century. 

Dating back to 1804, the tower is now an information hub retelling the history of signal towners and this area around Kinsale.

Woodland Walk Near Ballinspittle

Taking a nice saunter through a woodland is another one of the activities that you can do in this area. 

Ballinspittle village is located a few minutes drive from Garrylucas Beach. 

Close to the village is a woodland with two moderate looped walk possibilities, The Kilmore Loop (1.5 and takes about 30 minutes to complete) and the Old Deerpark Loop (5.2 km, which can be walked in roughly an 1 hour 40 minutes). 

More information about these walks, a map of the area and the terrain can be found on the Coillte website

Visit to Kinsale

A trip to Kinsale is another great thing to do if you are in the area.

Not only is Kinsale the start or end point of the Wild Atlantic Way, it is a vibrant town, known for its gourmet restaurants, colorful streets and arts and craft shops, and long and interesting history. 

TIP: If you fancy visiting another charming West Cork town with a vibrant atmosphere, then Clonakilty is located nearby and well worth exploring. 

(It is also famous for its black pudding, an essential ingredient in the Full Irish Breakfast!)

Visit Charles Fort

One of the main attractions in Kinsale is Charles Fort, the bastion fort that was built in the 17th century to defend the Kinsale Habour against attack. 

It is possible to visit the fort, which is operated by Heritage Ireland.

You can either wander and explore the 12 acres at your own pace or take one of the guided tours to soak up the scenery and history of this unique place. 

More information can be found on the official website here

Beaches in Cork

"Hello from Cork" written in sand.
Cork has many great beaches to explore! (Photo:

Garrylucas is just one of many stunning beaches located in Cork

Have we fired up your enthusiasm to travel and see some more?! 

For some more beaches in the Kinsale area, you can check out this post. It includes 14 of our favorites. 

If you plan on exploring some more of the County Cork coastline, why not read our Beaches in Cork post

That will give you a good idea of some of the highlights that Cork has to offer including beaches near Cork City, beaches in West Cork and Beaches in East Cork, such as Youghal Beach or Inch, the surfing beach