I’ve been busy recently visiting a load of beaches in Co Donegal, getting new photos of some old favourites, and photographing a few that I’ve never been to before. I’ve decided to do a series of slideshow videos on Youtube, moving anti-clockwise around the Donegal coast from Lough Foyle to Bundoran, featuring as many beaches as possible (I would say “all” but I’m sure to have missed out a few, and definitely haven’t considered all Donegal’s islands!). It turned out to be a fairly big task, as Donegal has more beaches than any other Irish county, and the longest coastline at approximately 1134km.
I thought it would be just a matter of looking through my archives as I would probably have been to every beach, having toured round Donegal extensively. But, when I looked into it, it turns out, there are a lot of small strands I was unaware of, and there are even a few large beaches that are little visited as there is no road in. I became aware of some of these from spotting them from high ground while hill walking, and others from the google maps satellite view. I’ve started uploading the series now, but there will many more slideshows to come, and there are even a few beaches I still have to get to!
The photos here are from some of the recent trips I’ve taken over the last month or so, just to give a sample of what will appear in the slideshows, and here’s a link to my Youtube channel:
Slievebane, or Slievebawn, on the Inishowen Peninsula.
Slievebane, next to the pier.
Ballyhillin Beach. A fanstatic stony storm beach near Malin Head with the lookout tower visible on the hill. The waves were crashing into the steeply angled beach making great swirling patterns, and causing the pebbles to rattle together making a wonderful sound. I met a man from Alaska there, who said he had come all the way to Ireland specifically to see this beach!
Ballyhillin Beach again. The beach is well known for the presence of several types of semi-precious stones including cornelian, chalcedony, jasper, serpentine and agate. Our Alaskan visitor, showing great wisdom, said he didn’t “waste time looking for the precious ones because it means I miss the pretty ones”.
Another stony, Inishowen beach – Binreagh Beach, on the western side of the peninsula, and also not far from Malin Head.
High above the stunning Five Finger Strand – another Inishowen beach.
One more Inishowen beach before I move on – Stragill, closer to the southern end of the peninsula. As mentioned, these are just the beaches I visited in the last month or so – there are many more in Inishowen, and most if not all, will appear in the Youtube slideshows.
On the neighbouring Fanad Peninsula now, and this is Drumnacraig Beach. It is a secluded spot, with no one else there on this visit.
Less than a kilometer further north on the Fanad coast is Doagh Beg beach. I found this little hidden passage through the rock at the southern end.
This storm beach at Ballyhoorisky in the north of the Fanad Peninsula has some fantastically shaped rocks.
This beach has almost a kilometer of golden sand, but there is no road in, and requires a bit of a hike over hilly ground, so despite it being a beautiful day, I had the whole thing to myself! The amazing variety of ripples and patterns in the sand were all completely footprint free – a photographer’s paradise.
On the same beach, and if there wasn’t enough already to make a photographer happy, there is this boat wreck too!
Over on the next peninsula for this shot, on Rosguill at Gortnalaghoge Bay, with the late evening sun picking out the ripples on the beach.
On the other side of the Rosguill Peninsula at the Murder Hole beach on Boyeeghter Bay.
One of the most well-known and photographed views in Ireland, looking across to Tra na Rossan Beach from the Atlantic Drive coastal route on the Rosguill Peninsula.
Tra Mor beach, near Downings at sunset.
Moving on from Fanad, there is a good beach beside Ards Friary, but a bit further northwest around the headland is this strand, closed in by low cliffs on each end.
A big jump round the coast to west Donegal for this unnamed (as far as I could see) beach on Cruit Island.
Choppy seas at the same beach on Cruit Island.
Another beach for which I couldn’t find a name. According to the map, it is near an area known as Arlands, which is between Kincasslagh and Burtonport.
Only a couple of hundred metres west – yet another unnamed strand. Only in Donegal I think, where there are so many beaches, would large, beautiful strands like this not have a name, or at least one that is not well known or marked on maps!
The beach at Narin is well known and popular, but if you walk to the end, turn east around the corner, walking towards the Gweebarra River estuary, there is another long expanse of beach, and you will generally have the whole place to yourself.
Narin Strand, a very popular and attractive beach.
Another view along Narin Strand with brooding skies over Inishkeel Island.
A small cove south of Tramore Strand, Rosbeg. The white sand and blue-green water in the bright sunshine made it seem like a Pacific desert island!
This beach at Sheskinmore is stunning, and on this visit I only met one other couple. They were visiting after having seen the beach on the fantastic BBC television programmes Wild Ireland: The Edge Of The World, in which Colin Stafford-Johnson travels the west coast.
Another shot on Sheskinmore Beach showing some of the magnificent sand dunes. In the TV programme mentioned above, you could tell that despite the many stunning places he had visited on his journey, this location made a big impression on Colin.
I can only give a small sample of the many beaches of Donegal in one post, but I will have individual posts of many on them already, or coming in future. If you click on the Youtube link, and subscribe, you can watch the slideshows as they are added too.