Protected from the Atlantic Ocean, good shelter is afforded at the quay and the anchorages. The access to Bunbeg through the entrance to Gweedore Harbour is quite complicated which requires attentive navigation.
Keyfacts for Bunbeg
SummaryA good location with attentive navigation required for access.
Position and approaches
Haven position55° 3.453' N, 008° 18.755' W
this is the position at Bunbeg quay
What are the key points of the approach?
- The 'Erris Head to Malin Head' coastal description provides approach information to the suggested initial fix. Vessels approaching from the south should select the northeast bound sequenced description; vessels approaching from the north should select the southwest bound sequence; western approaches may use either description.
Not what you need?
How to get in?
Approached through a short channel Bunbeg Quay is located on the north bank at the mouth of the River Clady where it discharges into Gweedore Harbour.
The quay at Bunbeg is relatively new and the approach channel deepened, which has meant that it is extremely busy with local fishing vessels and charter boats, and this makes it unsuitable for a yacht to remain there for any length of time, but given that the shelter is very good it may be possible to find a temporary berth alongside one of the local boats.
Gweedore Harbour is an open west facing inlet off the Atlantic Ocean that has its entrance to the south of Gola island between Inishinny and the mainland peninsula of Carnboy. The entrance is quite complicated and requires attentive navigation therefore a night entrance is not recommended, but it is a well sheltered location that offers some attractive anchorages in a scenic environment.
The most pleasant anchorage where there is lots of space and no traffic is southwest of the entrance channel to Bunbeg before you reach the overhead electric cables. There are two further reasonable anchorages before the entrance to Bunbeg, between Carrickfin isthmus and The Bluff on the mainland.
Why visit here?Bunbeg, Irish : An Bun Beag meaning “the small river mouth” is a small fishing village in the heart of the Gaeltacht, Irish speaking, district of Gweedore in County Donegal and is referred to as being Europe's smallest active harbour.
Irish is the day to day spoken language of the Gweedore district, which is the largest Irish speaking parish in Ireland, although the locals are happy to converse in English with visiting tourists. Gweedore is also the home of the northwest regional studios of the Irish language radio station RTE as well as an external campus of the National University of Ireland, Galway. Gweedore's official name in Irish is Gaoth Dobhair.
Gweedore is known for being the cradle of Irish culture, with old Irish customs, traditional music, theatre, Gaelic games, and the Irish language playing a central and pivotal role in the lives of the local people. This along with its scenery and many beaches has made the area a popular tourist destination especially with visitors from Northern Ireland. Gweedore is situated between Cloughaneely and the Rosses, collectively known locally as “the three parishes”, together they form a social and cultural region distinct from the rest of the county, with Gweedore serving as the main centre for socialising and industry.
With Donegals largest peak Mount Errigal as its backdrop, Bunbeg is an extremely picturesque location that attracts many visitors, particularly anglers and deep sea fishermen and divers. The River Clady on which Bunbeg sits is a river rich in salmon for anglers, whilst sea fishermen charter local boats from the harbour quay to go out into the Atlantic Ocean for their sport. Boats also sail from Bunbeg harbour taking tourists to Gola Island in the Atlantic Ocean to experience its deserted golden beaches and beautiful views. The harbour is one of the two docking places for Donegal Coastal cruises, and a ferry service to Tory Island departs daily. With all this traffic the harbour quay can be extremely busy especially during the holiday season.
The harbour was a main exit and entry point during the height of the British Occupation of Ireland, and relics from the period such as military barracks, grain stores and lookout towers line the harbour.
Bunbeg beach is a lovely golden sandy beach, safe and well sheltered with shallow water that stretches for miles across the dunes to Magheragallon pier, and on the beach at Magherclogher sits the iconic “Bad Eddie” (Eddies Boat) a shipwreck which ran ashore due to rough seas in the 1970's and has remained there ever since.
Although the access through Gweedore harbour is quite intricate, Bunbeg is an attractive place and well worth a visit with safe well sheltered anchorages nearby. The village which is half a mile up the road from the quay has a general store, butcher, chemist, a bank and post office, garage, and the usual complement of bars, restaurants and a good hotel. Fresh water and diesel are available at the quay as well as a slip and the coastguard station. Donegal regional airport at Carrickfinn is within easy reach making Bunbeg an ideal place for a crew change.
With thanks to:inyourfootsteps.com site research. Photography with thanks to Joseph and Suzanne Mischyshyn, John Daye, Kenneth Allen, Kieran Evans and Jack Bhan.
The following video presents a overview Bunbeg.
Add your review or comment:
Ron Marson wrote this review on Nov 5th 2017:
Wonderful place, but do not rely on the marks as the sand shifts. Not a problem on a rising tide with a bilge keeler.
The man living in the cottage on the quayside will draw a chart for your exit.
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