Search icon


31st Oct 2023

Best spots for a sauna and a swim this autumn in Ireland’s Ancient East

Sarah McKenna

Brought to you by DiscoverIreland

Ready to dust off those cobwebs?

As we gear up for cooler weather, now is the perfect opportunity to take some time for our bodies and minds with a reset on our next getaway.

This autumn, we can’t think of a better way to reset mind and body than with some wild swimming and a warm sauna afterwards. Thankfully, Ireland’s Ancient East is dotted with glorious swimming spots and nearby saunas, offering you that precious feeling of rejuvenation on your next break, whatever the weather.

This time of year is also an ideal time to take the plunge on your eastern getaway. After all, autumn tends to see moderate sea temperatures, while the crisp, fresh air makes wild swimming all the more refreshing. The sauna afterwards, meanwhile, is at its most satisfying.

To ensure you can enjoy ultimate relaxation on your next autumn break in Ireland’s Ancient East, we’ve put together some great spots to take a dip and a steam. Plus, we’ve highlighted some of our favourite nearby places for food and drink so that you can eat well throughout your getaway.

Kilmore Beach, Co. Wexford

No trip to Wexford is complete without a dip in the sea at one of its beautiful beaches, and with stretches of golden sand, Kilmore Beach is one of the finest in the sunny south-east. Take a dive into the cool waters here, and afterwards enjoy a brisk walk to the harbour and warm up at Saltee Sauna. The wood-fired saunas here were designed and crafted in Scandinavia, so you’re guaranteed an authentic experience to recharge your body and mind – an ideal way to boost your health during the colder months.

Ramble to the picturesque fishing village of Kilmore Quay and pop into Cocoa’s Coffee Shop & Kitchen for a warming brew, some restorative avocado toast and a sweet treat for dessert. When evening comes, round off your day with a visit to Kehoe’s Pub and Parlour, a nautical themed bar with plenty of hearty local dishes on the menu – the perfect setting to cosy up on a chilly autumn night.

Clonea Beach, Co. Waterford

Waterford makes for a great autumn getaway, and the village of Clonea offers the perfect reset for body and mind. Head to Clonea and, after taking in the cool air while walking the long sandy crescent of Clonea Beach, enjoy a fresh, rejuvenating sea swim at this beautiful spot. Once you’ve awakened your senses with a plunge, relax, unwind and warm-up with a well-earned steam in The Hot Pod. At this sauna, you’ll be able to take in stunning views of the Waterford coastline in the soft autumn light.

After your session, treat yourself with a toasty beverage and something sweet from The Railway Cottage. A day at the sea also warrants time spent warming up in cosy surrounds, so in the evening, call in to The Local in Dungarvan, and settle in for a night of tasty food and live music sessions.

The Hot Box, Co. Meath

Located in the Boyne Valley in Co. Meath, The Hot Box at the Bective Mill House in Navan offers experiences designed to ease guests into the colder seasons with a river swim and sauna. At The Hot Box, you’ll dip into the natural plunge pool in the river as you take in the scenery of the Boyne Valley, which is vibrant with autumnal colours at this time of year. After a dip, enjoy a steam in the barrel sauna, or breathe in the crisp air as you soak in the hot tub.

After your swim, steam and soak, visit the Bective Mill House’s coffee deck and enjoy a hot cuppa as you take in the peaceful surroundings throughout your Meath getaway. Stroll the grounds and admire the striking foliage. As night falls, head into the lively town of Navan and enjoy a cosy drink and warming meal at The Lantern, Navan’s oldest pub. Each Wednesday, the venue is alive with set dancing and live music – a must-do experience on your next trip to Meath.

Greystones, Co. Wicklow

Get your blood pumping and shake off those cobwebs on your next trip to Wicklow with an autumn swim and sauna session in Greystones. Stroll along the South Beach before dipping into the sea, and head to Fad Saoil for a recuperating sauna session. In addition to the wood-burning Finnish sauna service, there is also a cold waterfall facility to cool off in.

Emerge from Fad Saoil feeling refreshed and stroll to Greystones town where you can cosy up with a hot cup of coffee and a cinnamon swirl from the bakery – the ideal combination on a cool day. During your Wicklow getaway, head to the neighbouring town of Delgany, and feast your eyes on the surrounding foliage which will be alive with the colours of autumn. Then, finish off with a drink by the fire at the Horse and Hound, Delgany.

Brought to you by DiscoverIreland

Whatever the weather it’s always perfect weather to Keep Discovering. Plan your next short break at

The Leave No Trace principles help us make as little an impact as possible on the incredible Irish landscape as we explore the outdoors this autumn and beyond. Keep outdoor areas safe, clean and free from waste/hazards, and help protect the natural environment. Love this place, leave no trace. Brought to you by