There are two main beaches in Ballybunion, divided by a cliff on which stands a ruined castle. The beach to the left (looking toward the sea) is called the Men’s Beach or South Beach, and the one to the right the Ladies Beach or North Beach. These names hark back to an era when women and children bathed in separate beaches. Both beaches have the Blue Flag award and are perfect for walking, swimming, surfing and other watersports.
Ballybunion South Beach is a wonderful stretch of golden sand. This beach has a lifeguard during the high season. North Beach has extensive rock formations and some shallow caves to explore at low tide.
From the north beach there is path which leads round to a beautiful beach that is overlooked by an old convent. This beach is known as Nun’s Beach and is is accessed only via a steep pathway with a rope hand-rail. The cliffs over the beach have a lovely walking path with great views of sea stacks. This walk passes a blowhole, naturally formed, known as The 9 Daughters Hole. Local legend has it that the 9 daughters of a local chieftain fell in love with 9 invading Vikings. The chieftain, on hearing that his daughters planned to run away with the Vikings threw his daughters and the Vikings into the blowhole where they drowned.
A little further along the cliff path walk is Scolt Na Dhriada or ‘Druid’s Layer’ which has it’s own gruesome past of Druid worship and stories of human sacrifices made to the Celtic god Mananann where people where thrown to their deaths over the sheer cliffs. This history is in sharp contrast to the fun loving place that is Ballybunion.
Ballybunion’s general ambiance is that of a busy seaside resort. The area is famous for it’s seaweed baths and the world famous Ballybunion Links Golf Course much favoured by Bill Clinton who has played the course a number of times and has a bronze statue erected in his honor on the Main Street. This was the first statue of Bill Clinton on public display in the world.