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Under Irish by-laws, erecting any tent or temporary dwelling on public own Irish Beaches is illegal. This includes no camping on the foreshore, car park, sands or sand dunes. Breaking the law can result in on-the-spot fines of €125.

Getting outdoors for me is extremely important. It helps me maintain my mental health and improves my mood. Knowing where you can camp and the local laws also helps you look after your mental health because you can camp with peace of mind. 

I’ve always made it my goal to know the law when camping and hiking, so I am always prepared. I will share this knowledge further in this article and show you how you may be able to get around local by-laws and camp legally near beaches.

Is Camping Illegal on Irish Beaches?

According to the local by-laws that were introduced on February 10th 2005, unless with prior permission from the local authority, the following is prohibited:

“Encamp or place or erect or cause to be placed or erected any tent, caravan or other temporary dwellings.”.

Beach bylaws 2005

These by-laws prohibit anyone from camping on the beach, which includes the footpaths, road, car park, sands, sand dunes or rocks along the foreshore. Basically, you can’t camp within the foreshore (the foreshore is between the high and low water marks) or along its borders. 

Please read my artcle on Wild Camping in Ireland. It contains a lot of relevant information.

Camping in beach car parks is also prohibited unless local authorities have granted permission. This includes using caravans or other temporary dwellings. Local Authority Permission is key here as it means you can camp or set up a temporary dwelling on beaches where permission has been granted.

is it legal to camp on a beach

Camping on Beaches Legally In Ireland.

As I have stated above, camping on beaches in Ireland is Illegal unless the local authorities have granted permission. 

Some local authorities around Ireland allocate a few areas near beaches for use for campervan overnight stays. You would have to check with your local authority to see where these locations are.

Another way to legally camp at the beach is in publicly owned-green areas. Under the local laws, the definition of a beach means and includes the following:

“the foreshore and any coastal water, bank, cliff, footpath, road, car park, sands, sand dunes, and rocks contiguous to the foreshore. This includes and sea for a distance from the strand to 200metres (seaward) from the low water mark.”

Beach bylaws 2005

This by-law doesn’t include publically owned green areas such as fields or greens, but it’s always best to ask for permission from local authorities before you do so.

Alternatives to Camping on Beaches in Ireland

Here I will briefly go through alternatives to legally camping along Irish beaches so you won’t get into trouble with local authorities.

is it legal to camp on a beach in ireland
Private Land Camping

Private Land Along Beaches

One of the best ways of being able to camp near a beach is to use privately owned land with the permission of its owner.

Camping in Ireland on Private land is strictly prohibited unless the owner has granted permission.

Many of Ireland’s beaches run along privately owned fields and lands in many locations across Ireland. Since these lands are privately owned, many have access to Irish beaches; you could camp with permission and use the beach simultaneously.

When seeking permission from the land owner to camp on their land, you should ask locally who is the owner of the particular field then visit the owner and politely ask for permission.

When asking for permission, tell the owner that you operate on a leave-no-trace policy. You won’t have any open fire, and you will obey any rules they have on using the land. 

Most times, local farmers will grant permission without a problem if you follow your rules. In some cases paying the owner for the use of the land works well. You must weigh the benefits of using the land with the cost. Just make sure you are paying the actual owner of the land.

Managed Campsites Near Beaches

All around the Irish coasts, you will find privately owned land used and managed to provide camping and caravanning locations to the public. Many of these locations are within walking distance from beaches and, in some cases, bordered by beaches. This is probably the best way to camp by a beach and not worry about dealing with who owns what land or dealing with local authorities.

Many managed camping sites around Ireland will charge between €15 to €35 for the busier tourist destinations. When choosing managed camping grounds near a beach, look for ones off the beaten track to get the best value for money.

The benefits of using a managed camping ground are, in most cases, you have access to hot running water and clean drinking water. Some locations will allow you to have an open fire, but you may have to pay more for that option.

Make sure to read my article on Camping Cookware Advice , I think you will enjoy the information.

Camping in a managed camping ground has a huge advantage that you get to meet other people like yourselves who love to camp. You will be amazed at who you meet in a managed camping site around Ireland. People from all over the world travel here to visit our scenic destinations, and these people are just like you and me. They love the outdoors, and they love to camp.

Sitting outside the camp at night talking with these new friends, you can share stories of places and sights you have visited. This is the perfect opportunity to learn about other places you might like to visit and camp.

Managed camping grounds often worry people about if they are safe. Is it true camping, or will you be able to enjoy the peace of camping outdoors at a campsite. Managed campsites offer a wonderful opportunity for public members to camp without fear in some of the most beautiful locations around Ireland for a minimal fee. They are a great option; as long as you research the camping ground you will stay at, you should never have a problem.

The best time I find for using managed camping grounds is often out of season. Out of season, you almost have the whole camping grounds to yourself, and you can have much more privacy if that is what you are looking for.

In summary

Camping on the beach in Ireland should be avoided as you could get a fine if caught. Many secluded beaches around the Irish shores receive very little to no visitors. These beaches would still fall under the local by-laws, and a fine would be issued if a member of the local authorities came across you camping.

To ensure you don’t run afoul of local authorities, it is probably best to camp in locations where permission has been granted by the local authorities or by private owners. This could be in the form of public land where permission has been granted, private land where you received personal permission or managed camping sites.

As with all camping, I strongly advise campers to respect the land and leave no trace. When camping, don’t do activities that draw attention to you, like having huge open fires, drinking excessively and playing loud music. It just brings attention to you and will almost always lose your right to camp in that location.

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