Marble Hill in Donegal really is hard to beat.
During the autumn and winter, it’s lovely and quiet, and you’ll often have the whole place to yourself.
During the summer, the area comes alive with people flocking to what’s arguably one of the best beaches in Donegal.
In the guide below, you’ll find info on everything from surfing and swimming to where to grab parking near Marble Hill Strand.
Some quick need-to-knows about Marble Hill Beach
Although a visit to Marble Hill in Donegal is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
Marble Hill Beach sits on the western side of Sheephaven Bay in northern Donegal. It’s a 5-minute drive from Dunfanaghy, a 20-minute drive from Falcarragh and a 25-minute drive from Downings.
Marble Hill Ct is the road that flanks the strand and there’s plenty of parking to be had on the sandy roadside on the beach side (around here on Google Maps). Just make sure to keep as close to the side as possible and not block the road for the other drivers!
3. Toilets (warning)
Last year, there were public toilets just down from the parking area (here on Google Maps). There was just the one, if memory serves correct, but we’re not 100% certain they’re still there. Also, please be extremely careful when walking to them, as there’s no path and cars often fly along the road here.
Donegal is famous for the quality of its water and beaches and Marble Hill is no exception. Awarded Blue Flag status due to its cleanliness and facilities, Marble Hill also has lifeguards on duty at this beach during the summer between the hours of 12:00pm and 18:30pm (note: times may change).
Marble Hill and Killahoey Beach are two popular surfing spots and a couple of surf schools (Jaws Watersports and Narosa Surf School) operate in the area.
5. Water safety (please read)
Understanding water safety is absolutely crucial when visiting beaches in Ireland. Please take a minute to read these water safety tips. Cheers!
About Marble Hill in Donegal
Marble Hill Strand is a beaut of a beach that tends to have almost Jekyll and Hyde levels of busyness. During the summer, locals and tourists alike flock to the sand here and the place is abuzz with people.
During the ‘off-season’, it’s gloriously quiet, and you’ll often have the entire place to yourself if you visit early in the morning.
One of the reasons that a walk here is so enjoyable is thanks to the beach’s view across Sheephaven Bay towards the Rosguill Peninsula. Marble Hill Beach also has two rocky uninhabited islands to its east – the larger Clonmass Island and the tiny Gull Island.
Conservation is important here too and the area is rich in wildlife. The sand dunes surrounding the beach are a fine spot for bird watching and spotting wildflowers.
Marble Hill is also one of the few areas in Ireland where visitors can hear the distinct sound of the corncrake calling.
Things to do at Marble Hill Strand
There’s plenty of things to do in and around Marble Hill in Donegal. Here’s some ideas for when you arrive:
1. Grab a coffee from The Shack
Among its many qualities, Marble Hill Strand is also served by one of Donegal’s best coffee vans (look at the effort they put into the design of their cups if you don’t believe me!).
Located just off the main road, The Shack’s cyan-coloured van is super easy to spot and they offer up a bunch of coffee options (all double shots too) so pick your caffeine poison and head to the beach or park yourself on a nearby bench.
Or, even better, pair your drink with one of their awesome ice creams or cakes if the sun’s out (thank me later!).
2. Then saunter along the sand
While I said it can very busy here in the summer, Marble Hill is a pretty big beach so you’ll have loads of room to choose from even on those packed sunny weekends! And if you’re here in the winter then you’ll have near enough the whole gaff to yourself.
So pick up a coffee from The Shack and head out for a ramble on Marble Hill’s soft sands. If it’s a fine summer’s day then kick your shoes off and go for a paddle in the gentle waters of the bay.
And if you time your trip here well (and the weather plays ball!), then the golden views across to the Rosguill Peninsula at sunrise and sunset are worth the journey alone.
3. Give surfing a crack
If you fancy hitting the water, there’s a couple of surf schools operating in and around Dunfanaghy – Narosa Surf School and Jaws Watersports who cater for all levels.
Now, from what we can tell, they both appear to run lessons on Marble Hill Strand and on Killahoey Beach, but just double check that before you book!
Places to visit near Marble Hill Beach
One of the beauties of Marble Hill Strand is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best things to do in Donegal.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from the sand!
1. Dunfanaghy for food (5-minute drive)
Dunfanaghy’s a great spot on the way up to Horn Head and is located in between a couple of other fine beaches which you might want to check out – Tramore Beach and Killahoey Beach. Pop up here for supplies for the day at Marble Hill or simply stop off at one of the great places to eat in Dunfanaghy, like the Rusty Oven or Muck n Muffins.
2. Doe Castle (15-minute drive)
Sitting in a cinematic spot right at the base of Sheephaven Bay, Doe Castle dates back to the early 15th century. You can’t tour the castle at the time of writing, but you can visit the grounds. With Sheephaven Bay’s distant mountains and gentle beaches unfolding around the castle, the views are well worth the journey!
3. Errigal Mountain (25-minute drive)
The tallest and steepest of Donegal’s Seven Sisters mountain range, Errigal Mountain climbs up to a gaudy 2,464 ft and can be seen for miles around! It’s an epic mountain to see in person, but if you’re planning on climbing it then be prepared for a solid 2-3 hour hike, so make all the right preparations beforehand
4. Horn Head (15-minute drive)
Sticking out into the North Atlantic from the north Donegal coast, Horn Head offers some seriously stunning views! Offering sweeping panoramas, dramatic cliffs and even a WW2 lookout tower, it’s a rugged windswept spot that’s only a 15-minute drive from Marble Hill Beach.
FAQs about visiting Marble Hill Beach
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What’s the parking like?’ to ‘Are there toilets?’.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
Can you swim at Marble Hill in Donegal?
When it’s safe to do so, Marble Hill is a fine spot for a swim. Just keep in mind that lifeguards are only on duty during the summer, so only enter the water if you’re a capable swimmer.
Is there parking and toilets at Marble Hill?
There’s parking along the road across from the beach. There was public toilets near the parking area last year but we’re not sure if they’re still in place.