AUTUMN IS well and truly over and we already find ourselves pining for the Irish summer (it's not much different but the rain is warmer).
While we can't turn back the clock, we can start looking forward to next summer already-- and what better way to spend the summer than exploring the best beaches Ireland has to offer?
Then again, even if it's the middle of Autumn or the dead of Winter, those in the know will tell you there's nothing more relaxing than strolling along a deserted grey beach during stormy weather.
Here are 8 of Ireland's best beaches to spend your day, whatever the weather.
1 Ballybunion, County Kerry
Bally B by the sea: It's got a long, sandy strand, a golf course, towering cliffs, prehistoric seastacks, jutting rockpools and a sea crater that's rumoured to be haunted-- what more could you want?
2 Keem Bay, Achill Island
Keem Bay on Achill Island off the coast of County Mayo is a hidden gem-- despite being voted one of the best beaches in the entire world! The picturesque bay came in 3rd in a list of the 20 Best Beaches In The World, beating beaches in Greece and Polynesia among others. Now if only we had the weather.
3 Lahinch, County Clare
If you're looking for gorgeous views, colourful houses, soft sand, great surf and even better food, look no further than Lahinch in County Clare.
4 Killiney, County Dublin
Can you believe this beautiful beach is just a short distance from the hub of the centre of the capital city? Wash away the stresses of the rat race with a walk down the stoney strand.
5 Bundoran, County Donegal
There's a lot happening in Bundoran-- it's known as one of the best spots to surf on the entire island, and is home to the annual Sea Sessions musical festival each summer. Just beware the rough seas.
6 Salthill, County Galway
Another gorgeous beach town just a stone's throw from the city centre, Galway's Salthill Promenade has so much to offer-- but its most famous for its Blackrock Diving Tower, which has locals and tourists jumping into the Atlantic year-round.
7 Mullaghmore, County Sligo
Another jewel along the coast of the Wild Atlantic Way, Mullaghmore in County Sligo offers some truly exquisite views, and is close to Sligo's iconic Benbulbin mountain. A grand day out.
8 Barleycove, County Cork
The name itself sounds full of magic, and the views from Barleycove in County Cork are the closest thing to magic you're ever likely to experience. Catch this beach on a sunny day and you'll be completely awestruck.