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Beaches in County Down

Janesville, WI
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36 posts
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Beaches in County Down

Can anyone recommend a good beach to swim in around Bangor and Holywood? I do realize that the water is terribly cold. My daughter is acclimating to the water as she is an open water marathon swimmer. I read some reviews on Ballyholme beach in Bangor and they indicated that the water quality was poor. Are there better beaches in Holywood? We would like to stay within walking distance to a beach, so we are still trying to decide where to stay. Any advice would be great. Thank you in advance.

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Belfast
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1. Re: Beaches in County Down

Crawfordsburn might be worth a look and its a Blue flag beech.

http://www.blueflag.org/Menu/Awarded+sites/2012/Northern+Hemisphere/NorthernIreland/NorthernIreland/Crawfordsburn

Ireland
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2. Re: Beaches in County Down

Guess this one is a good one for me as the beach is at the end of my road: Helens Bay and Crawfordsburn are indeed great. They consist of two big bays and are much closer to the open sea than Holywood which basically is on the shores of Belfast Lough. I havent seen too many swim from Holywood beach I lived there 7 years) although you certainly could. The small beach at Holywood used to have a tractor that came and cleaned up the old seaweed and shells that got washed up each morning but it doesnt look like thats been done for some time now. Probably lack of funding from North Down council to do it.

Helens Bay always has a bit of life about it though, even into Winter many people will be out walking with kids etc and on the beach (and Ive even had mine on there with buckets and spades in December lol). Crawfordsburn Park, which kind of encompasses both Helens Bay and Crawfordsburn Beaches is very under-rated in my view: www.beachni.com/beaches/crawfordsburn-beach/ with a great coastline and lovely scenery for quite a few miles back towards seahill, cultra (and further to Holywood) and in the opposite direction to Bangor. Added to this a forest which runs down to the beach at Crawfordsburn with beautiful walks and a waterfall. Its really nice there and has a center with quite good snack food (try their huge bowls of stew yum) and a display of the wildlife of the area. Yes, I think Helens Bay or Crawfordsburn would fit your requirements nicely. If youre going to Crawfordsburn take the A2 from Belfast to Bangor and youll see the signs for the park. If going to Helens Bay (a little less parking) take the same road, signs for Helens Bay, and follow the Craigdarragh Road to Bridge Road taking right at the sign to the railway station. Take left before you reach the railway station onto Kathleen Avenue (wave as you pass my house lol) and follow it to the bottom of the hill turning right. You will see the sea ahead of you. Theres a car park here (with good toilet facilities) where you can safely leave your car and walk down through the big stone gate and the path to the beach.

Ireland
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for Belfast, Northern Ireland
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3. Re: Beaches in County Down

With reference of where to stay close by you could try here (its right on that Bridge Road I mentioned): http://www.sleepbridgehouse.co.uk/ - You can walk from here to Helens Bay beach in about 5-10mins max. Its also about 2 minutes from the railway station for further NI explorations. :-) If you choose here theres a little secreted path that runs underneath here directly to the beach carpark. It might be a bit muddy when its been raining but its worth finding.

Edited: 23 April 2013, 13:19
Janesville, WI
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4. Re: Beaches in County Down

Thank you so much Bobby and Horizon. So much useful information. It looks like Helen's Bay and Crawfordsburn will be our training places. We will not be driving, however. I did that last year in the UK and let's just say it was terrifying. I would not want to subject your country to that again. I noticed that the train has a stop in Helen's Bay. If you have any directions from the train stop to one of the beaches, that would be most helpful, otherwise I am sure we can figure it out.

Thanks again for such great information. If you are at the beach in August, my daughter will be the crazy one swimming without a wetsuit and I will be the anxious one pacing the shoreline.

Ireland
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for Belfast, Northern Ireland
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5. Re: Beaches in County Down

From the train station exit into the small square at Helens Bay, cross the road directly in front of you and continue down Church Road to the very bottom (it's a long straight road). You will find the big stone pillared gate at the bottom of that road which is the entrance to the beach. Should take you no more than 10mins from the station to the sea.

Janesville, WI
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6. Re: Beaches in County Down

Thanks again Horizon. This is most helpful.

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