Close-up of the wavy sand at Maghera beach at ebb tide, County Donegal, Ireland; Shutterstock ID 2286569939; purchase_order: 65050; job: ; client: ; other:

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Maghera Strand

Top choice in Southwestern Donegal

This astonishing beach is a dream come true, especially if you are rewarded with a gorgeous sunset. Get here during lowish tide to explore the caves in the south end, where some spectacular geology awaits. If you get clear skies, the sun dipping into the Atlantic is one of Ireland's most treasured and priceless experiences. During Cromwell's 17th-century destruction, 100 villagers sought refuge here but all except one were discovered and massacred.

There's a car park outside a farm just before the dunes that lead to the beach (signed Maghera Caves; €3 per car). You'll need to walk through a metal gate – remember to shut it after you.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Southwestern Donegal attractions

1. Assarancagh Waterfall

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These impressive falls are a worthwhile stop on the way to Maghera Strand. There's a small makeshift shrine to the left of the waterfall.

2. Tramore Beach

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Backed by sand dunes, this remote and beautiful beach is worth a detour. It's south of Kiltoorish; look for a right turn off the R261 just north of…

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Set in the old town courthouse, this volunteer-run centre traces the story of Donegal tweed, from sheep shearing to dye production and weaving.

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6. Iniskeel Island

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