A Guide To Visiting Maghera Caves And Beach In Donegal

maghera beach and caves
Photo left: Johannes Rigg. Right: Artur Kosmatka/shutterstock

If you’re in search of some handy info about Maghera Caves and Maghera beach, you’ve landed in the right place!

The Maghera Caves and beach is a handy 16 minutes’ drive from Ardara in Donegal which is a village vibrant with plenty of pubs, restaurants, music and events.

The car park is not full and the beach is not crowded; you can explore the caves at low tide but be careful, it comes in quickly. 

Maghera Beach

Maghera Strand
Photo by Lukassek (Shutterstock)

The stunning Maghera Beach is arguably one of the most impressive of the many magnificent beaches in Donegal.

It runs for almost 5km when the tide is out and you’ll often find yourself the only visitor there, apart, that is, from the sand martins in the cliffs and the Burnet Moths in the sand dunes.

Perfect white sand, deep blue water and the dunes for shelter if the wind is strong, entice tourists from all over the world to visit this hidden gem.

The road to the beach is narrow, and you’ll need to be patient, but the views are worth it. If you’re the energetic type, bring a picnic and spend time exploring.

Maghera Caves

maghera caves ardara
Photo by Lukassek/shutterstock

If you’re arriving at the beach specifically to see the Maghera Caves you must be there at low tide. This is extremely important to note as the tide can come in quickly.

Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to enter the Maghera Caves without checking the tide times in advance

With more than 20 caves, 8 arches, and 5 tunnels there’s a lot to see here. The Maghera Caves can be dark, so a touch comes in handy if you want to explore!

History has it that locals sheltered in the caves from Cromwell but, in fact, he never ventured this far north. More likely is that they sheltered from Vikings who did land in Donegal.

Things to know before you visit Maghera Caves and Beach

maghera beach and caves
Photo left: Johannes Rigg. Right: Artur Kosmatka/shutterstock

There’s a handful of things worth knowing before you head off to visit the beach and caves, like where to park and why you’re better off keeping your feet dry during your visit.

The one thing we haven’t mentioned below is that you should ensure that you leave no trace when you visit – in other words, leave only your footprints!

1. Parking at Maghera Beach

The road to the beach is single track but there are places to pull over if needed. The car park is run by a local who charges a very reasonable €3 and he also maintains the pathways.

2. Getting to the beach

Access to the beach is a short walk while taking in the stunning views and your breath will catch when the beach itself comes into sight. 

3. Swimming at Maghera

Swimming on Maghera Beach is not encouraged due to the strong tides. The locals don’t swim there very often so take note–there’s a riptide and it’s dangerous. And remote.

Things to do near Maghera Caves and Beach

One of the beauties of this corner of Donegal is that you can visit a number of brilliant natural attractions without having to drive for longer than 50 minutes.

Below, you’ll discover some of the best places to visit in and around Maghera Beach and Caves, from cliffs and waterfalls to scenic drives and more.

1. Assaranca Waterfall (3-minutes away)

ardara waterfall donegal
Photo by Yevhen Nosulko/shutterstock

Spectacular after rainfall, Assaranca Waterfall is within walking distance of Maghera Beach. There’s parking in front of the waterfall but you may have to queue for photos.

2. Glengesh Pass (23-minutes away)

glengesh pass ardara
Photos by Lukassek/shutterstock.com

On your way from Sliabh Liag to Maghera Beach discover the jaw-dropping views of Glengesh Pass from the lookout/picnic area at the top, overlooking the Pass and the Atlantic Ocean.

3. Ardara Village (19-minutes away)

ardara in donegal
Photo via Google Maps

Ardara is often described as the festival capital of Donegal. It’s perfectly situated to stop for lunch or pick up the makings of a picnic for the beach. 

4. Silver Strand Beach (49-minutes away)

Silver Strand Beach
Photo by Milosz Maslanka (Shutterstock)

The dramatic Silver Strand Beach is both scenic and secluded, reached only by steep steps down the cliff.  Not great for those with mobility issues but worth the view.

5. Slieve League (40-minutes away)

Slieve league hike
Photo taken by MNStudio (shutterstock)

A key discover point on the Wild Atlantic Way, the Slieve League Cliffs are located in south-west Donegal. A visit to the surrounding region is a must.

Donegal’s hidden waterfall is also a stone’s throw from the cliffs, but this is a much trickier place to visit!

Norah is a writer and self-publisher of fiction and non-fiction. She adores the excitement of unknown places and together with several locations in Ireland, has, over 21 years, made her home in London, The Hague and New Zealand, returning to Ireland with her Kiwi rescue dog Barney, in tow.

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