A Speedy Guide To Kinnagoe Bay in Donegal

kinnagoe bat donegal
Photos by Chris Hill via Tourism Ireland

When I first stumbled across Kinnagoe Bay, I had to pinch myself to check that I was still in Ireland and not Bali!

This place is hands down one of my favourite beaches in Donegal and it’s easily up there with the best beaches in Ireland.

Tucked away among steep, craggy hills, this small stretch of beach offers a mini slice of paradise. Here’s all you need to know about visiting Kinnagoe Bay.

About Kinnagoe Bay

kinnagoe bay donegal
Photo by Chris Hill via Failte Ireland

What Kinnagoe Bay lacks in size, it more than makes up for in natural beauty! The yellow sands and sparkling blue ocean are stunning on a sunny day, though the bay never fails to impress, even on the moodiest days.

Located on the stunning Inishowen peninsula, Kinnagoe Bay is arguably the most overlooked viewing point on the Wild Atlantic Way – mainly as it’s slightly off-the-beaten-path.

It’s well worth stopping by, either for the views (more below on how to see it from the view above!) or to take a dip in the calm, blue waters.

Just 4km from the fishing village of Greencastle, Kinnagoe Bay is a popular destination on public holidays, yet remains a relatively hidden gem the rest of the time.

Need-to-knows before visiting Kinnagoe Bay

If you’re thinking about visiting Kinnagoe Bay while exploring the Inishowen Peninsula, there are several things you need to know before you go.

1. Parking

The Kinnagoe Bay parking area is at the bottom of a very steep, winding road, so extreme care should be taken both on the way down and back up again! Here’s where to find it.

2. A view from above

Some of the best views of Kinnagoe Bay are from above, and you’ll find a pull-in area at the top of the track down to the parking. There’s only space for one car – take care not to block the road!

3. Camping

Camping is allowed at Kinnagoe Bay, and since it’s pretty sheltered you can enjoy a pretty peaceful night. Be sure to respect the area and take all your rubbish with you!

4. Kinnagoe Bay tide times

Fancy a swim or a spot of fishing? You can check out the tide times for Kinnagoe Bay right here! Note: tide times aside, you should never enter the water during bad weather conditions.

The Kinnagoe Bay shipwreck

kinnagoe bat donegal
Photos by Chris Hill via Tourism Ireland

One of the main attractions of Kinnagoe Bay is the shipwrecked La Trinidad Valencera. Discovered by members of the Derry Sub-Aqua Club in 1971, the ship itself actually dates back to more than 400 years ago.

In fact, La Trinidad Valencera was among the 130 ships that made up the Spanish Armada. After defeat in the English Channel, the remaining fleet eventually ended up on the west coast of Ireland.

La Trinidad Valencera ran aground after striking a reef in Kinnagoe Bay, where her wreckage lay undiscovered for hundreds of years. Since her discovery, an entire battery of cannons has been recovered, among many other treasures.

Places to visit near Kinnagoe Bay

One of the beauties of Kinnagoe Bay is that it’s a stone’s throw form heaps of other things to do and places to see.

Now, you can do the likes of the Inishowen 100 drive (or cycle!) and see all of these attractions together, or you can tick them off one by one.

1. Malin Head

malin head
Malin Head: Photo by Lukassek (Shutterstock)

Visit the most northerly point of mainland Ireland and be awestruck by the immense views. Witness the wide open Atlantic Ocean come crashing into the craggy cliffs of Malin Head.

2. Doagh Famine Village

Doagh Famine Village donegal
Photo via Doagh Famine Village on Facebook

Doagh Famine Village is a museum like no other. Various hands-on exhibits tell the bitter-sweet story of how a community living on the edge struggled and survived against all odds from the 1800s to the present day.

3. Mamore Gap

mamore gap in donegal
Photo via Failte Ireland

Breathtaking, panoramic views await those who tackle the Gap of Mamore, a steep, narrow pass through the Urris Hills.

4. Glenevin Waterfall

Glenevin Waterfall
Photo left: By Pavel_Voitukovic. Photo right: By Michelle Holihan. (on shutterstock.com)

Lose yourself in the magical beauty of the stunning Glenevin Waterfall. Follow the wooded, riverside trail to the crashing waters and immerse yourself in one of Ireland’s many wonders.

5. Dunree Military Museum

dunree fort military museum
Photo left: Lukassek. Right: Lucky Team Studio/shutterstock

Once an important defensive fort, Fort Dunree is now open to the public. Discover what life in the fort would have been like, take in a wealth of exhibits, and explore the underground bunkers.

Andy was once on a glorious worldwide trip on his equally glorious motorcycle. After 4 years, he'd still only made it as far as Eastern Europe, before falling in love with his surroundings and deciding to settle down a while. Nowadays, he spends his time writing about traveling through the places he once explored, normally while sipping a pint.

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