Sandycove is well known for its (formerly) gentlemen's bathing place, the Forty Foot, which in the past afforded a quiet swimming haven for males only. This remains a popular bathing place but since the late 20th century, mixed bathing is permissible.
The writer James Joyce lived for a time as a young man in a Martello Tower situated beside the Forty Foot bathing place at Sandycove. The opening scene of Joyce's Ulysses is set in this tower. It now hosts a small Joycean museum, open in summer time. Bloomsday is celebrated in Sandycove in Joyce's honour on the 16th of June every year.