Surfing in donegal

15 Surfing In Donegal Spots [2022 update]

Looking for the best spots for surfing in Donegal? Look no further than Donegal! 

This northwest county of Northern Ireland is known for its amazing waves and stunning coastline. In fact, it is also home to one of the best surf towns in the world!

So whether you’re a seasoned surfer or just looking to get your feet wet, keep reading as we share some of the best and gnarliest places to catch these mighty Irish waves, as well as some great tips!

In this article, we will take a look at the 15 beaches that have the best surfing in Donegal.

If you’re looking for the best beach to surf (based on your surfing skills), here are our top recommendations!

  • Best beach for surfing in Donegal (Beginner surfer): Stroove Beach
  • Best beach for surfing in Donegal (Advanced surfer): Bundoran Beach
Surfing in donegal

15 Amazing Spots For Surfing In Donegal

1. Culdaff Bay

2. Pollan Bay

3. Glencolumbkille Beach

4. Ballymastocker Beach

5. Ballyhiernan Beach

6. Killahoey Beach

7. Stroove Beach

8. Falcarragh Beach

9. Magheoarty Beach

10. Maghera Strand Beach

11. Five Finger Strand Beach

12. Mullaghmore Beach

13. Rossnowlagh Beach

14. Tulland Strand Beach

15. Bundoran Beach

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If surfing isn’t really your thing, you can always try out other fabulous adventurous tours nearby Donegal : 

& many more! 

When you visit Ireland you want to be prepared because it can get COLD! And it also rains a lot O_O If you want to enjoy this charming country in comfort, make sure you pack some essentials that we ALWAYS pack:

15 Amazing Spots For Surfing In Donegal

Some of the beaches enlisted here are blue flag beaches (meaning they are some of the best beaches to go to for surfing Donegal, Ireland, and even the world!). 

Waves in surfing are often called swells (which is a type of wave that is generally produced by storm surges in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean). 

In fact,  there are 2 types of swells:

  • Groundswells: waves from storm surges (consistent, powerful waves)
  • Wind swells:  waves from local wind by the shoreline (short-lived, mild waves)

To put it simply, the groundswell is ideal for surfing,  which you can discover on these 15 best beaches in Donegal.

So, without wasting any more time, let’s surf through some of the best surf spots in Donegal. 

Surfing in donegal

1. Culdaff Bay

This beautiful Culdaff Bay of the Inishowen peninsula attracts both local and traveling surfers to come here for its medium-sized, consistent waves, especially during its cold winter month of November.

If you have strong resistance to cold, icy water, be sure to surf here as it is truly one of the best spots for surfing Donegal.

However, do note that there are several rocks nearby that can be dangerous during your surfing session, so stay alert to your surroundings as you surf!

What you need to know:

  • The best month to surf: November
  • Wind: Offshore winds
  • Waves: Mid-sized swells
  • Need to watch out for rocks

2. Pollan Bay

Pollan Bay is also a popular location for both visitors and local surfers due to its isolated location. It is truly one of Donegal surfing spots that are not too crowded with great, consistent mid-sized swells.

While others enjoy Pollan Bay as one of the nice spots to surf, it also has nearby coastal attractions such as Binion Hill (which is a popular destination for hikers and nature lovers).

Ideally, we recommend that you try surfing during the spring of April as the medium-sized swells are fairly easy to enjoy!

The nearest major city to Pollan Bay, Malin Head, is 9 kilometers (6 miles) away. 

You may even find several hotels and various types of accommodation nearby, along with public transit and car rental, making it an ideal starting point for a coastal trip to Donegal. 

What you need to know:

  • The best month to surf: April
  • Wind: Light offshore winds
  • Waves: Mid-sized swells

3. Glencolumbkille Beach

Glencolumbkille beach is a sheltered surfing beaches Donegal that also produces waves throughout the year.

There is no protection from the heavy offshore winds as this bay is surrounded by gradual coastal cliffs. 

Since wind plays an important role when it comes to surfing, you should watch out for a sudden gust of onshore winds!

Do note that there are several sharp, submerged rocks below the waterline, which can be dangerous and hazardous. Ideally, this beach is suitable for experienced surfers.

What you need to know:

  • The best month to surf: February
  • Wind: Light offshore winds
  • Waves: Mid-sized swells
  • Need to watch out for rocks

4. Ballymastocker Beach

Ballymastocker Beach in Donegal, on the Fanad peninsula, is one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Ireland. On top of its natural beauty, it is also one of the best surfing spots in Donegal.

This beach, which also goes by the name of Portsalon, can generate small swells, which is perfect for new surfers to learn and practice surfing.

We do recommend enjoying Ballymastocker’s swells in the month of April.

What you need to know:

  • The best month to surf: April
  • Wind: Mild offshore winds
  • Waves: Small swells
Surfing in donegal

5. Ballyhiernan Bay

Ballyhiernan Bay in Donegal is a popular surfing destination due to its reliable waves and year-round availability. It is exposed to onshore winds, which can provide some of the finest waves.

It is one of the best surf spots in Donegal during autumn, where both new and experienced surfers can enjoy it due to its open, long beach, which can generate medium to large swells!

However, do note that there are some hidden rocks beneath the waves that can pose a serious danger if you’re not alert when surfing.

What you need to know:

  • The best month to surf: October
  • Wind: Mild offshore winds
  • Waves: Medium swells
  • Need to watch out for rocks

6. Killahoey Beach

If you have strong resistance to cold water, then catch some of the waves at Killahoey Beach, a fairly exposed beach with consistent waves for practice, especially in the month of January.

It is one of the nicest beaches to learn surfing as it is nearby Narosa surf Donegal. 

In fact, the Narosa Donegal surf school offers plenty of lessons for those who wish to surf as the size of the swell on this beach is relatively small (perfect for newbie surfers!).

What you need to know:

  • The best month to surf: January
  • Wind: Mild offshore winds
  • Waves: Small swells
  • Ideal surf spots Donegal for beginners

7. Stroove Beach

Donegal’s Stroove Beach is a protected cove beach that produces milder waves, depending on the weather (which can be quite unpredictable).

While this is one of the blue-flag beaches in Donegal, its consistent medium-sized swells certainly attract both new and experienced surfers from all over the world. 

This is one of the best places to surf for beginners as there are seasonal lifeguards (especially during summer) who can be on the lookout. 

However, the best swells to catch on Stroove beach are usually in the winter month of January.

What you need to know:

  • The best month to surf: January
  • Wind: Mild offshore winds
  • Waves: Small swells
  • Ideal surf spots Donegal for beginners

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Surfing in donegal

8. Falcarragh Beach

You can try surfing here on this open beach at Falcarragh Beach, where it generally produces small, consistent swells, which is great for new surfers to practice. 

Ideally, the best time to go surfing at Falcarragh Beach is in April, since this is when the waves are the cleanest (rideable swell with low and offshore breezes). 

What you need to know:

  • The best month to surf: January
  • Wind: Light offshore winds
  • Waves: Small swells
  • Ideal surf spots Donegal for beginners

9. Magheoarty Reef Beach

Magheroarty Reef is another popular surfing destination in Donegal, as this enclosed reef beach can produce medium-sized waves, depending on the wind conditions for the day. 

This beach is also not too far from Tory Island (one of the best diving spots in Donegal). If the weather isn’t great for surfing, you can hop on a nearby ferry and go for a dive on that island.

The best time to surf at Magheroarty Reef is in the winter, namely the month of January, when the waves are often rideable and the winds are light and offshore.

However, do note that several nearby rocks are submerged underneath the coastline, which can be dangerous to surf if you’re not careful! So, surf with extra caution!

What you need to know:

  • The best month to surf: January
  • Wind: Light offshore winds
  • Waves: Medium swells

10. Maghera Strand Beach

Visit Maghera Beach, one of Donegal’s surfing beaches that is beautiful and produces consistent medium-sized swells, which is perfect for both new and experienced surfers.

With its surrounding cliff as high as 30 meters (98 ft) and stunning pearly white sands, it’s no surprise that this beach is one of the most scenic places for surfing in Donegal.

Once you’re done surfing here, be sure to explore its nearby coastal caves as well as the famous Assaranca waterfall.

What you need to know:

  • The best month to surf: February
  • Wind: Mild offshore winds
  • Waves: Small swells
  • Ideal surf spots in Donegal for beginners

11. Five Finger Strand Beach

This is a great beginner-friendly spot for surfing in Donegal. Inishowen’s Five Finger Strand beach is not too aggressive and is easy to practice for new surfers as it has small swells. 

If you’re looking for really good surf in Five Finger Strand, then try to surf  towards the west, and catch the mild offshore winds.

Plus, you don’t have to fight for waves on this beach as it is not usually crowded.

What you need to know:

  • The best month to surf: January
  • Wind: Mild offshore winds
  • Waves: Small swells

12. Mullaghmore Beach

For big wave surfers, Mullaghmore Beach is a must-visit. This surf spot is very challenging due to its freezing water and intense rainy and windy weather, which produces consistent large swells during winter.

It has even broken records as one of the largest monster waves in the world at a staggering height of 18-meter (60 ft), which is twice the size of a normal bus by length! 

We recommend this beach ideally to experienced surfers due to its high risk factor.

What you need to know:

  • The best month to surf: November
  • Wind: strong offshore winds
  • Waves: large swells

13. Rossnowlagh Beach

If you are looking for the best beaches for surfing Donegal? Rossnowlagh beach is definitely your best bet for a reliable beach break that is surfable throughout the year.

It has some of the best surf shops in Donegal such as Rossnowlagh Surf Camp, Fin McCool Surf School & Surf Shop, and many more. In fact, it is also one of the closest places for surfing Donegal town, which is only 18km (11 miles).

If you plan to catch the best waves in Rossnowlagh, be sure to bring your surfboard by spring, namely in the month of April, as the waves are at their cleanest (rideable swell with light and offshore breezes).

What you need to know:

  • The best month to surf: April
  • Wind: Medium offshore winds
  • Waves: Medium swells
  • Has plenty of nearby surfing schools and shops
Surfing in donegal

14. Tulland Strand Beach

Tullan Strand in Donegal is a renowned beach break with a wide bay area that converts this quaint beach into one of the top Donegal surf spots!

In fact, Tullan Strand has some of the best weather conditions (rideable swell with light/offshore winds), especially during winter. 

Do note that this beach is ideally suitable for experienced surfers, due to its large winter-cold swells. Nonetheless, it is still one of the best surfing beaches in Donegal!

What you need to know:

  • The best month to surf: February
  • Wind: Mild offshore winds
  • Waves: Large swells

15. Bundoran Beach

Oh swells, we are already near the end of our list! 

This is one of the best surf spots in Donegal and is near Donegal Town Center.

Bundoran beach is ultimately one of the best beaches in Donegal for surfing, as it has one of the most consistent waves and can be surfed at any time of the year as a result of its exposure. 

What we do love about Bundoran beach is that it is one of the most family-friendly beaches with plenty of activities to do aside from surfing, such as kite surfing Donegal, attending nearby adventure parks, and many more.

This beach also has plenty of surf shops and surf schools nearby. If you plan to introduce surfing to your little one, you can try enrolling in Bundoran Surf School (which is one of the best beginner-friendly surfing lessons in Donegal).

Surfing in Bundoran, Donegal is certainly one of the best things to do in Donegal, Ireland!

What you need to know:

  • The best month to surf: April
  • Wind: Mild offshore winds
  • Waves: Large swells
  • One of the most consistent waves
  • Has plenty of nearby surfing schools and shops

-And there you have it, the top 15 best beaches for surfing in Donegal, Ireland!

Surfing in donegal

Important Factors For Surfing In Donegal

There are several important factors to consider when looking for the best waves for surfing in Donegal as it can get relatively very cold and windy at times. 

Generally, you need to remember these 3 factors:

  • Wind factor: Understand the direction of offshore or onshore winds
  • Waves height: Small/ Medium/Large swells
  • Wavelength: Distance between two waves’ internal

   Summary:

Size of SwellsWave lengthWave Height
Small Swells 0-100 meters2-4 meters
Medium Swellsover 200 meters4-6 meters
Large Swellsover 200 metersMore than 6 meters

A general rule of thumb for wind factors:

  • Onshore winds: winds from the sea to land (not ideal for surfing)
  • Offshore winds: winds from land to sea (perfect for surfing)

We strongly recommend that you also check out these beaches via magic seaweed Donegal, where they share some of the best times to catch the best swells based on weather conditions.

How To Maintain Your Surfboard

You know what sucks – when you’re already at some of the best places in the world to surf, but your surfboard just says “not today sucker!’ and breaks itself into 2 pieces?

If that has happened to you before, it can be quite frustrating, right? 

Sure, waves can be harsh and may be the immediate cause of a broken surfboard, and there are actually 2 ways that you can prevent your surfboard from being damaged: 

1. Observe the waves’ condition first:

Surfboards will often break if you attempt to surf in big waves above 10 ft, as these large waves tend to have a strong kinetic force and will very likely break your board upon wrong entry.

2. Regular Maintenance: 

Whether you are new to the sport or a seasoned surfer, it’s fairly common that you will get some dings and dents on your board, but a good storage habit and DIY maintenance would certainly make a big difference in extending your surfboard’s lifespan.

Easy Basic Maintenance Checklist For Surfboard:

If you are minimalist and you want to surf a lot of places, you surely wouldn’t want to take your entire surfboard collection, right? So it’s best to know some basic surfboard maintenance so that you can do quick maintenance on the go. 

Pre-surfing Session:

  • Do not leave your surfboard exposed to sunlight, as this will damage and discolor your board.
  • Keep your surfboard in a proper padded storage bag (ideally with a thickness of 5mm 10mm) and place it horizontally with the fin facing forward.
  • Know the proper way to remove & reapply the surfboard’s pre-wax coat before the surfing session
  • Do not leave your surfboard in a car or any place that’s hot.
  • Inspect your board thoroughly before each surfing session.

Surfing Session:

  • Wear a leash.
  • Standby with a repair kit during the surfing session.
  • Pro tip: Be sure to bring an extra board in case one of your boards is damaged during your surf and requires attention.

Post-surfing Session:

  • Rinse off salt water as it is corrosive and can damage the surfboard in the long term.
  • Inspect for any dings or dents.
  • If there are small minor issues, you can try to DIY and fix them using your own repair kit.
  • If there are major issues, it is best to get professional help.
  • Clean & dry your surfboard thoroughly prior to storage.

There you have it—a super easy, basic maintenance checklist for surfboards!

FAQs On Surfing in Donegal

Where Can You Surf In Donegal?

There are a lot of nice surfing places in Donegal, but here are some of the best surf spots in County Donegal: 

Which Town In Donegal Is Famous For Surfing?

The town that is famous for surfing is Bundoran, County Donegal. Thanks to its location within Donegal Bay, Bundoran is renowned worldwide for the quality, consistency, and variety of surf on offer, making it one of the world’s best surf towns. 

It welcomes all levels of surfers; from 2 ft beginner-friendly waves all the way to 30 ft monster waves for seasoned surfers. It is also home to a number of surfing schools, making it a perfect spot to start learning to surf.

Where Are The Biggest Waves In Ireland?

The biggest waves you can surf in Ireland are mostly located in the mid-northwest of the country, on the bottom of Donegal Bay. They have a magnificent reef break off the cliffs at Mullaghmore, Bundoran, and Rossnowlagh, which makes these locations home to some of the top big-wave surfing spots in Ireland and around the world due to the consistent quality of waves that they receive throughout the whole year. 

How Big Do Waves Get In Ireland?

The waves in Ireland can typically generate waves that are between 6 – 9 meters (20ft–30ft) in height.

If you don’t fear death, then try conquering the mighty, frosty waves of Mullaghmore (a surfing town near Sligo, Ireland) has recorded a monster wave at the towering height of 18 meters (60 ft). You can catch these massive waves during the winter period, which is usually between the months of October and March.

Surfing in donegal

So there you have it, the 15 best spots for surfing in Donegal, Ireland for 2022. 

Ultimately, Donegal is a great place to enjoy as it has a lot of fun,  water-based activities that will keep you and your loved one entertained.

If you’re also looking for the best beaches to enjoy with your loved one, be sure to check out my other article on the 23 best beaches in Donegal for Families and Solo Travellers

Finally, a final reminder: always check the weather prior to your surfing activity. Now, get out there and enjoy the waves! 

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15 Surfing In Donegal Spots [2022 update]