Blue Flag Beaches

Many of Donegal’s beaches maintain a very high quality and have been awarded Blue Flag Beaches. There are strict criteria to reach before a beach can be awarded this pan-European, eco-label award. High standards are needed in the following areas:

  • Water quality

  • Beach management

  • Safety

  • Environmental information/education

Of particular note is Carrickfinn beach in Gweedore, which is a Natural Heritage Area (NHA). The extensive machair grasslands at Carrickfinn are noted for their rare plant species. These are very fertile grasslands because their sand has a very high seashell content. The unique ecosystem of machair grasslands are habitat to many rare flower species, such as Lady’s Tresses, orchids and Yellow Rattle. Diverse bird species include corn crake, dunlin, redshank and ringed plover.

Lisfannon beach, located on the shores of Lough Swilly, is a very important wetlands site for birds. As a result, Lough Swilly is a designated Marine Special Area of Conservation (SAC). As with many other beaches in Donegal, many seabirds are often flying overheads. Examples include the Oyster Catcher, Tern, Dunlin, Cormorant and Grey Heron.

Other Blue Flag beaches in Donegal include:

  • Killahoey/Dunfanaghy
  • Killybegs

  • Portsalon

  • Bundoran

  • Rosnowlagh

  • Carrickfad

  • Marble Hill

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