Murder Hole Beach is a small, isolated beach on the north coast of Donegal, Ireland. It is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful and unique beaches in both Donegal and Ireland. Murder Hole Beach is a true hidden gem along the Wild Atlantic Way. Having visited Murder Hole Beach many times on our Donegal travels we’ve put together a guide with everything you need to know about visiting Murder Hole Beach.
Murder Hole Beach
The secluded Murder Hole Beach is dotted with small caves and surrounded by stunning cliffs.While most people know the beach as Murder Hole Beach its actual name is Boyeeghter Bay. No one seems to know exactly how it got its eerie title although many agree it’s likely derived from the aggressive tidal currents that make swimming at the beach very dangerous.
Despite it’s ominous name, Murder Hole beach is one of the most stunning beaches we’ve ever visited!
Murder Hole Beach tip: (updated April 2021) We’ve had numerous reports from readers that the beach is not now accessible from the road. There is new signage on the gate forbidding access across the land. This is likely due to a surge in visitors to the beach.
Map of Murder Hole Beach
We’ve put this map together to help anyone visiting Murder Hole beach. We’ve marked where to access the hike and the various spots that you should visit while exploring the beach
How to Use This Google Map: Click on the grey star at the top of the map and this map will be added to your Google Maps account. You can then view it on your phone or computer in Google Maps by clicking on the menu button, going to ‘Your Places’and selecting this map. We use these saved maps all the time to plan our itineraries in advance and quickly reference the saved maps.
How to get to Murder Hole Beach
To get to Murder Hole beach you’ll need to drive to Melmore Head on the Rosguill Peninsula in northern Donegal. This is a remote and beautiful part of Ireland so the drive is both winding and stunning at the same time – try not to get too distracted with the views! Most recently, we visited Murder Hole Beach for sunrise and the blue hour drive to Melmore head was unforgettable.
Once you reach Melmore you’ll need to park your car and head to the entrance of the field where the hike to Murder Hole beach starts. There is no assigned car park here and most visitors park along the side of the narrow road. As we were there early we had no trouble finding parking however during busy summer days finding a space might be tricky.
Murder Hole Beach is accessed via a short hike from the main road at Melmore through a local farmers field. The farmer kindly allows people to cross his land, however as it’s an active farm please be aware of your surroundings as there are sheep and cows in the fields – for this reason dogs are not allowed to cross the field. We have also seen notices on the gate stating that the gate will remained locked during mating season – a bull is brought to the field for mating and access is not permitted for safety reasons.
Murder Hole Beach tip: Please be considerate when crossing the farmers land to Murder Hole beach. Make sure to close the gate behind you after you enter the field and don’t interfere with the animals or litter!
Hike to Murder Hole Beach
The hike itself is relatively straight forward and it is less than 1km from the road to the sea. There is a small lake, Lough Melmore, on your left as you walk through the field from the main road. Follow the lake and then the stone wall at the end of it. This route will take you to the cliffs between the two stone walls which directly overlooks Murder Hole Beach. There is a fantastic view of the beach and the raging Atlantic waves from here.
Accessing Murder Hole Beach
The easiest way to access the beach from the top of the cliffs is to follow the hill down to the right as you face the beach. There is easy access to the north end of the beach from this side.
The amount of beach you’ll be able to access depends on the tide level when you visit. At low tide you can walk along the full length of the beach however at higher tides the beach gets split in two by the tide waters.
Murder Hole Beach tip: The tide and waves at Murder Hole Beach can be very dangerous and visitors should exercise caution when walking on the beach. This is especially important as the tide is rising as waves can come from both the left and right of the beach due to the turbulent waters in the bay.
We just missed low tide when we last visited and the tide had started to come in when we reached the beach. As the photo shows, it was not possible to walk along the entire beach as it had split in two with the tide.
Exploring Murder Hole Beach
Despite its small size, there are lots to explore at Murder Hole Beach. The beach itself it wild and exciting albeit relatively dangerous due to the riptides.
Murder Hole Beach tip: Swimming is not recommended at Murder Hole Beach. The waters in the bay are notoriously dangerous and the riptides are extremely unpredictable. There have reported near drownings at the beach due to the dangerous riptides.
The cliff section to the north has great views of the beach and the headlands to the south.
There is also a beautiful sea cave on the south section of the beach. Getting to the sea cave outside of low tide can be tricky so we’ve got some directions below.
Murder Hole Sea Cave
Lots of people visit Murder Hole beach for the stunning views but many don’t realise that there is a fantastic sea cave located right on the beach itself. You can find the cliff face on the southerly stretch of sand which is accessible at low tide.
If the tide is higher you won’t be able to walk along the entire beach. This means that if you want to access the sea cave when the beach is cut off you’ll to hike back up to the clifftop at the centre of Murder Hole Beach and scramble down the steep grassy slope on the southern side of the beach.
From here it’s a short walk across the dunes.
Murder Hole Beach tip: be very careful exploring the sea cave at Murder Hole beach, especially if the tide is coming in. While we were there the sea rose very quickly to the mouth of the cave.
Tips for Visiting Murder Hole Beach
- Check the tide time: For the best experience try to visit Murder Hole Beach either at low tide or as the tide is going out. The beach and sea cave are really only accessible at low tide. We took these photos on a visit to Murder Hole Beach during low tide just after sunrise and had the place to ourselves.
- Be respectful of locals: access to the beach is really only possible as the farmer who owns the land between the main road and the sea generously allows visitors to cross his land to the beach. As the farmer keeps sheep and cows on the land it’s requested that visitors do not take dogs across the land. There also may be a bull present in the field so pay attention to any warning signs upon entry! Also, when parking make sure not to block any entrances or the narrow road.
- No swimming: due to the dangerous currents and rip-tides at Murder Hole beach it’s highly recommended not to swim
- Be careful! – take care when navigating the cliffs close to the sea and when walking on the beach. Conditions at Murder Hole Beach can get pretty wild so be aware of your surroundings. It was a relatively calm day when we visited, yet the waves were very unpredictable and caught us off guard a number of times when walking on the beach. Definitely take care and avoid going near the water when the weather is more windy.
- Leave no trace – one of the best things about the remote beaches in Ireland is that they look untouched by humans. So to keep it that way please don’t litter or leave any trace. As they say, leave only footprints, take only memories
7 thoughts on “Murder Hole Beach, Donegal”
Thank you so much for this helpful article. The Murder Hole Beach looks stunning. We are going to visit Donegal soon and I can’t wait to see that beach. Sarka 🙂
All access to the beach is now prohibited by the farmer who is highly aggressive and obnoxious to all visitors. Gate is now padlocked, covered in barbed wire and thick grease. It was overrun by people.in 2020, hence the change.
Hi Brian, thanks for letting us know. It’s a shame that this is the current situation. Hopefully it improves.
You should unpublish this as the beach can no longer be accessed. The landowner has withdrawn permission to access it and angrily chases off anyone trying to access.
Hi Damien, thanks for letting us know. I’ve updated the post to reflect the current situation at the beach.
Missed this post when planning our trip – unfortunately! The farmer was incredibly angry and his language unprintable as he chased us away.
Sorry to hear that Catherine. From the many messages from other readers I believe the farmer has had a really bad experience with the crowds and parked cars at his field entrance over the past year, hence the reluctance for him to allow anyone access across his field.