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A Guide To Getting To Murder Hole Beach In Donegal (Location, Parking + Warnings)

A Guide To Getting To Murder Hole Beach In Donegal (Location, Parking + Warnings)

Getting to Murder Hole Beach in Donegal has just got a whole lot easier.

A new trail and car park has launched at Melmore (near the caravan park) that makes getting to the beach much more straightforward.

Murder Hole Beach (aka Boyeeghter Bay) is one of the more unique places to visit in Donegal, but getting to it has been tricky up to now with parking issues.

Below, you’ll find info on the new trail, an alternative way to reach it and 3 VERY IMPORTANT warnings to keep in mind.

Some quick need-to-knows before you visit Murder Hole Beach in Donegal

how to get to murder hole beach

Top left photo via Shutterstock. All others via Gareth Wray

As was the case with our guide to getting to Donegal’s secret waterfall, a visit to this beach comes with some warnings. Please take some time to read the bullets below, first:

1. Location

Murder Hole Beach (aka Boyeeghter Bay) is located on the Melmore Head Peninsula close to Downings in County Donegal. It’s a 35-minute drive from Dunfanaghy, a 45-minute drive from both Letterkenny and Falcarragh and a 50-minute drive from Gweedore.

2. How to get to it

There’s two ways to get to Murder Hole Beach – you can use the brand new trail that launched in 2022 (info below) or you can access it via Tra Na Rossan Beach. Both require a bit of effort and you’ll need a moderate level of fitness.

3. Parking

There’s two Murder Hole Beach car parks, depending on your route. There’s a new car park just to the side of the caravan site at Melmore (here on Google Maps). If you use this trail, it’s due to be (not confirmed) €5 per car or €2 per person if you’re walking in. If you’re going via Tra Na Rossan, there’s a little bit of parking here.

4. The new trail

A new trail leading from near the caravan park at Melmore straight into Boyeeghter Bay launched in April 2022. It’s a short, 15-20 minute walk to the beach from here, but it’s a tough aul slog (more info below).

5. Warning 1: Kids

If you’re using the new Murder Hole Beach Car Park, please drive VERY SLOWLY. This is a busy campsite frequented by families, so be vigilant for kids running about the place. There’s a wall at the entrance that’s about head hight for a child, which will make them invisible to drivers. BE CAREFUL.

6. Warning 2: Swimming

Because of the strong currents and unpredictable rip tides, swimming at Murder Hole Beach is not allowed. The location is remote and the rip tides are extremely dangerous – swimming here just isn’t worth the risk, so PLEASE keep your feet on dry land.

7. Warning 3: Tide times

It’s important to check the Murder Hole Beach tide times in advance of visiting. At low tide, you will be able to walk a section of the beach that is normally blocked off by the ocean. If you visit at high tide, you’ll have less opportunity to ramble. It’s also VERY IMPORTANT to know when high tide is approaching (more info below).

8. The name

The reason Boyeeghter Bay got it’s rather unfortunate name is open to debate. Some say that it came from an incident in the 1800s where a woman fell from a cliff near the beach. Others believe the name Murder Hole Beach comes from the dangerous and unpredictable currents that the beach experiences.

Getting to Murder Hole Beach via the new trail

murder hole car park

Photos by Gareth Wray

We’ve had (literally) hundreds of emails over the last year asking how to get to Murder Hole Beach in Donegal, and it was always a tricky one to answer, as the main access point was via a farmers field that wasn’t always accessible.

However, in April of 2022 a new trail opened that made getting to the beach nice and straightforward. Aim for the car park here on Google Maps and then hit the trail.

How long it takes

It’ll take you 15-20 minutes to walk to Murder Hole Beach from the car park here, depending on pace. So, you’re looking at around a 40-minute walk in total with around the same again spent admiring the beach (or however long you like).

Difficulty

You’ll need a moderate level of fitness for this walk as it’s pretty steep at the beginning and when you’re making your way back to the car park as it follows a very steep hill (see the photos above). Due to the steepness and the rocky gravel, it’s not suitable for buggies or wheelchairs. 

The tides

Pay particular attention to our warning above about tide times. When high tide is en route, the waves can come from both the left and right of the beach, which can result in walkers getting caught in a very dangerous situation! If in doubt, ask locally.

Things to look out for

To the south section of the beach is a sea cave. The sea cave can ONLY be reached when the tide is low, however. DO. NOT. TRY. AND. ENTER. THE. CAVE. IF. YOU. HAVEN’T. CHECKED. THE. TIDE. TIMES. OR. IF. YOU’RE. IN. ANY. DOUBT.

The views out over Murder Hole Beach from above are also spectacular.

Murder Hole Beach access via Tra Na Rossan

In our Murder Hole Beach map above, you’ll see the two different ways to reach the beach, along with where to park. The second access point is a good bit different, and requires a lot more effort.

Aim for the car park at Tra Na Rossan. Just keep in mind that this’ll be mobbed on fine days, especially during the summer.

How long it takes

This trail takes around 40 minutes to 1 hour in total to reach the beach, so it’s much longer than the first. You’re looking at around 80 – 120 minutes of walking to and from the sand.

Difficulty

Although not hugely difficult, you’ll still need a moderate level of fitness to get to the beach from Tra Na Rossan. You’ll follow a make shift trail from Tra Na Rossan that takes you up and around the hill to a point above Boyeeghter Bay.

There isn’t a clearly marked trail here, but you’ll be able to see where people have walked previously to guide you.

Handy if you don’t want to hit the sand

When you reach the top of the hill (around 30 minutes), you’ll start to get some views of Murder Hole. Now, you can head down to the sand if you like, or you can just kick back and soak up the arial views.

Places to visit near Boyeeghter Bay

One of the beauties of Murder Hole Beach is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best places to visit in Donegal.

Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Boyeeghter Bay!

1. Portsalon Beach

Portsalon Beach

Photos via Shutterstock

Portsalon Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Donegal, and it tends to get missed by many visiting the area. This is a lovely spot for a ramble that randomly shot to fame when Taylor Swift visited a few years back.

2. Fanad Head Lighthouse (35-minute drive)

fanad lighthouse in donegal

Photo left: Artur Kosmatka. Right: Niall Dunne/shutterstock

Fanad Head Lighthouse is one of the more popular attractions near Murder Hole Beach in Donegal and it’s well worth a visit. There’s tours, a cafe and some mighty coastal views.

3. Parks, Castles and hikes (35-minute drive)

Glenveagh National Park walks guide

Photo left: Gerry McNally. Photo right: Lyd Photography (Shutterstock)

Glenveagh National Park, Doe Castle, Ards Forest Park and Glenveagh Castle are another few nearby spots well worth visiting. Especially if you like to explore on foot.

FAQs about how to get to Murder Hole Beach in Donegal

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What is the best Murder Hole beach access point?’ to ‘How tough is the walk?’.

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.

How do you get to Murder Hole Beach in Donegal?

You can access it via a new trail at Melmore Head (the handiest option) or you can go via the hill that sits to the right of Tra Na Rossan.

Where do you park for Murder Hole Beach?

You can park at either Tra Na Rossan or you can use the brand new car park at Melmore Head that sits at the foot of the new Boyeeghter Bay trail.

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Eveanna

Tuesday 28th of June 2022

Are dogs permitted on murderhole beach please?

Keith O'Hara

Tuesday 28th of June 2022

Hey - the route is via the new car park passes through farmland so dogs aren't allowed, is my understanding.

Julia Doherty

Saturday 25th of June 2022

The Singing Pub is worth a stop for food and refreshments when in the area!

Bart

Sunday 5th of June 2022

This new car park is useless, I arrived specifically to take some sunset photos. First surprise, five euro charge, didn't know this beforehand, but it didn't bother me much at the time. However, I was walking and half-way there and then I was told that the car park closes at 8pm and I won't be able to drive away afterwards. Wasted my time planning the whole trip, what a disappointment. Luckily there are much better places than this.

M

Thursday 21st of April 2022

Strictly NO DOGS either. Walked all the way from Doagh Cottages to Meelmore and realised there was new access to the Murderhole Beach so I continued my walk. I had my small dog on a lead and went to walk up the path only to be turned away....rudely too!

Orla Crilly

Thursday 21st of April 2022

Thank you. I was wondering about wheelchair access but looks like it's not suitable.

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