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

murder hole beach donegal
Photos via Shutterstock

Yes, there’s a place called Murder Hole Beach in Donegal…

However, if you’re after a creepy experience, don’t get too excited – you won’t find skeletons or ghosts or, eh, ghost skeletons here…

What you will find though is one of the most unique places to visit in Donegal – a ‘hidden’ beach, worthy of a Leonardo Di Caprio movie.

In the guide below, you’ll find everything from how to get to Murder Hole Beach in Donegal to a whole load of warnings for first time visitors!

WARNING: This guide, as was the case in our guide to Donegal’s secret waterfall, comes with A LOT OF WARNINGS. Please read them carefully. 

About Murder Hole Beach in Donegal

murder hole beach
Photo by RR Photo (Shutterstock)

The real name of Murder Hole Beach is Boyeeghter Bay. Boyeeghter derives from ‘Trá Bhá Íochtair’ which means ‘the strand of the lower (or northern) bay. 

This beach shot to fame over the last 4 or 5 years when a number of aerial photos of the beach went viral online.

1. Location

Murder Hole Beach is located on the Melmore Head peninsula close to Downings in County Donegal. There is currently no direct access to the beach and, up until recently, access was granted via a gated field, however this access is no longer being granted.

2. Meaning behind 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.

3. June 2021 update: You can no longer enter via the field

The entry point via the farmers field is now closed and you cannot enter via here anymore. Please respect this (Thanks to Ciara O’Dwyer for the message about this!). More info below.

Warnings you need to take heed of before visiting Murder Hole Beach / Boyeeghter Bay

murder hole beach map
Photo via Google Maps

Murder Hole Beach in Donegal isn’t like any of the other beaches in Donegal. There are a number of things you really need to take note of before visiting.

The most important things to note are the warnings around swimming and parking. Please read these and keep them in mind when you visit.

1. Parking 

There is no direct road access to Murder Hole Beach. Which means you’ll need to find parking nearby. Now, please don’t be one of those silly people that just chucks their car anywhere.

The narrow country roads leading up to the access point to the beach regularly get blocked by inconsiderate people who just dump their cars and head off.

There’s no designated parking for Murder Hole Beach, so you’ll need to park on the side of the road where there’s room. Ensure that you DO NOT BLOCK THE ROAD.

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.

3. Tide times are key

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.

The reason for this is that, when the 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 – please check tide times before setting foot on the beach!

4. If the signs say ‘don’t enter’, then don’t enter

The only way to access Murder Hole Beach in Donegal is via a field that sits near where you park (see photo above showing field entrance).

Up until recently, access was granted by the land owner (who, according to anyone that I that has encountered him, is a gentleman), but this access is no longer being given due to increased footfall and a lack of respect from some people that pass through his land.

RESPECT ANY SIGNS TELLING YOU NOT TO ENTER: This access is given at the generosity of the owner – if there are signs placed on the gate telling you not to enter, do not do so!

5. Proper preparation

As the field entrance is now closed, some people are hiking from a nearby beach. Many of these people are doing so without proper hiking gear, and are risking getting stranded (it’s a tricky climb – see the comments section of this article). If you access from this point, admire the views from above, and avoid walking down to the beach itself.

A map of Murder Hole Beach in Donegal (with the entrance)

In the map of Murder Hole Beach above, you can see the entrance point to the field (it’s marked with the purple arrow).

The orange arrow shows you where the beach itself is located. It looks like you need to make a long hike to reach it but, as you’ll discover below, that that isn’t the case.

How to get to Murder Hole Beach

murder hole beach walk
Photo via Google Maps

OK, now that you know all about Murder Hole Beach, it is time to tell you how to get there (it’s more straightforward that you may think).

To get to Murder Hole beach, you need to drive to Melmore Head on the Rosguill Peninsula, located in northern Donegal. 

Murder Hole Beach location

Once you have made it to Melmore, you will need to find a spot to park the car, preferably somewhere close to the McBrides Caravan site. 

There isn’t an assigned car park and most visitors will park along the side of the narrow road (NEVER BLOCK IT). If you arrive early, you should find a spot with ease.

The hike to the beach (10-15 minutes)

From the main road at Melmore, you can access the field and take a short, 10 – 15 minute hike to the beach. If it takes you any longer you’ve likely gone astray.

The hike is less than 1km from the main road to Murder Hole Beach. Here’s some directions/things to look out for:

  • When you cross the field, keep an eye out for the small lake (Lough Melmore) on the left as you go through the field
  • Follow the lake and the route will then take you to the stone wall at the end of it
  • From here, you can’t go wrong – you’ll get a mighty view from above (just be careful an don’t go to close to the edge!)

Getting down to the beach

The easiest way to get to the beach is by following the hill down on the right when you face the beach. Use common sense and diligence when descending towards the beach.

If you’re unsure about the Murder Hole Beach tide times (see warning above!), I really do recommend that you just admire the beach from above.

Things to see at Murder Hole Beach

murder hole beach donegal
Photos via Shutterstock

You made it! Well done, 10 points to Gryffindor. Now, there are a number of things to keep an eye out for at Boyeeghter Bay when you visit.

The views

Obvious. I know! The cliff section has some amazing views, to the north you can see the beautiful beach and to the south you can see the headlands. 

It’s worth checking the weather at Murder Hole Beach before you leave the house – it gets wild here – very wild. You’re best bet is to visit on a calm day, when possible.

Murder Hole Sea Cave

In 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.

FAQs about visiting Boyeeghter Bay in Donegal

We’ve received a lot of emails here over the years, but one of the topics that has come up time and time again is Murder Hole Beach.

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.

What are the GPS coordinates for Murder Hole Beach?

The GPS coordinates for the beach itself are 55.24024696978578, -7.805257195752432 (you can pop these straight into Google Maps.

Where do you park?

There’s no designated parking, and parking here can be a nightmare. If you go to the section at the start of this guide on parking, you’ll find what you need to do to park here safely.

What’s the meaning behind the name?

The meaning of the name Murder Hole Beach is up for debate. Some link it back to an accident that took place here many years ago while others say it’s due to the dangerous rip tide.

Originally from County Tyrone, Johnny's yearning for new experiences and cultures has taken from Bundoran to Bangkok and everywhere in between!

1 COMMENT

  1. Hi! Helpful guide but as of 2021 you can no longer access it through the farmers field, lots of people told me he is very angry with people walking on his land which I understand. I’m an avid hiker so I took the high route from strand beach in my hiking boots just for the views but there were so many eejits in sandals struggling and getting stuck, it’s not safe for people who are unprepared, quite boggy and a difficult climb. I didn’t go down to the beach because the views are nicest from the peak. A couple told me they went down the steep slope to the beach and couldn’t get back up. Might be added as another warning.

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