Welcome To Ballymastocker Bay: The Most Magnificent Beach In Ireland

A very hidden gem

Ballymastocker Bay Donegal
Photo by Martin Flemming

Ireland’s home to many a beach, but few are as mighty as Ballymastocker Bay (also known as Portsalon Beach) in Donegal.

The name ‘Ballymastocker’ is also pretty damn enjoyable to say…

Moving swiftly on.

Once voted the second most beautiful beach in the world by the lads at Observer Magazine, Ballymastocker Bay is a little golden chunk of paradise.

Just look at it…

Ballymastocker Bay County Donegal
Photo by Martin Flemming

Welcome to Ballymastocker Bay

Ballymastocker Bay Donegal
Photo by Martin Flemming

Places like this make me happy.

I can nearly smell the salty ocean air and hear the crash of the waves by just looking at the photo above!

So, I can only imagine what a ramble along the sand would do to the senses!

A hidden gem, of sorts, this spot tends to get missed by tourists and locals alike.

Here’s everything you need to know.

About the only deadly Portsalon Beach

Ballymastocker Bay from the sky
Photo by Martin Flemming

Non-Irish folk – when I say ‘Deadly’ above, don’t worry.

It’s slang for good/great.

You won’t encounter any sharks here.

You’ll find Ballymastocker Bay on the western shore of Lough Swilly in County Donegal, where its golden beach stretches for around a mile, from Portsalon to the Knockalla Hills.

This spot is the ideal place for an early morning ramble (if you can get here for sunrise, do!) or for a stroll to round a day off.

Related Read: Have a read of our guide to 45+ of the best places to visit in Donegal.

Ballymastocker Beach: Blue Flag Bliss

Walking along Ballymastocker Bay
Photo by Martin Flemming

For those of you that fancy braving the chilly Atlantic, you’re in luck.

Portsalon Beach received the International Blue Flag award for 2019, meaning it’s the perfect spot for a post-adventure swim.

The beach is also a stone’s throw from some of Donegal’s top attractions, such as:

  • Fanad Head (20-minute drive)
  • Glenveagh (40-minute drive)
  • The Rosguill Peninsula (30-minute drive)
  • Plenty more

About the Blue Flag Award

The award is given to beaches and marinas that meet a specific set of criteria relating to water quality, information provision, environmental education, safety, and beach management.

Where to grab the best view of Ballymastocker Bay

Ballymastocker as seen from Knockalla
Photo via Google Maps

You’ll grab one of the best views of Ballymastocker Beach from the nearby Knockalla Hills or as you spin along the Knockalla coastal drive.

In the photo above, which I’ve just pulled from Google Maps, you’ll see the view that you’ll be treated to as you spin along the R268 road.

Pull in at the little viewing point as seen in the photo above and soak up the view.

Ballymastocker Bay Donegal
Photo by Martin Flemming

Ireland’s home to a tonne of places like this (Donegal’s Arranmore Island is another fine example) that lay ever so slightly off the beaten track.

Don’t miss out on a visit here. 

Pop it onto your to-see-in-2019 list and get explorin’.

Have you been here recently? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Howaya! Thanks for visiting the Irish road trip! This site exists to inspire and guide you on an Irish adventure that’ll give birth to a lifetime of memories (sounds very arsey altogether, I know!) You'll find everything from things to do in Ireland to where to stay in Ireland (unique and unusual places) if you have a nosey around!


  1. I was there over the long weekend. Knockalla campsite is 3 mins from the beach and the beach makes brittas bay look like Bray seafront. The sand is like powder and the sea stays nice and shallow. Lifeguards on duty too and so much space to fly a kite or Chuck a frisbee or just flake out.

    • Sounds like you had a solid day at the beach, Jer!

      The last time I was at Ballymastocker the rain was pouring down, so we admired through the car window…

      Cheers for commenting.



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