Mushrooms in the sand dunes at Tramore, Rossbeg, Co Donegal

When the citizens and business people of Ardara found they had been bypassed by the Wild Atlantic Way route, their roads being considered too narrow for a large volume of traffic and coaches, in true entrepreneurial style they then set up their own scenic route to entice the self-drivers and cyclists. Follow the Wild Atlantic Bay signs, the icon of a crossed-out coach to show the roads will be narrow, winding and tricky. However, there is a fitting prize for the effort.

North of Ardara, take a left turn where the Wild Atlantic Bay sign guides you and pass through mature vegetation into rugged and craggy low hills. Another left turn signed to Tramore Beach and Caravan Park brings you first to Sheskinmore Nature Reserve. The reserve gate is on the roadside. There is car parking space at a lay-by and a basic map of the reserve. One of the most important reserves in Ireland, Sheskinmore covers around 1,000 acres of marsh and sand dunes. Many different species of butterfly are to be found here, alongside many rare orchids. Wildlife is plentiful here, including badgers, foxes and otters, and, in the sky, peregrine falcons and merlin.

Grassy dunes at Tramore, Rossbeg, Co Donegal

A 3km walk through the dunes leads to the wide expanse of the almost deserted Ballinareavy Strand. You can continue to walk from here along to Tramore Strand by veering right and following the shoreline, alternatively return to the car at the gate to the reserve and follow the road on down to a small parking area by the entrance to the camping park. Walk through the sandy track to the beach along which tiny mushrooms growat the base of the sand grasses, looking like a curious miniature forest. You expect at any moment a tiny figure to walk out from behind one of these mushroom stalks and scuttle to the safety of the nearby tall reeds.

The low hummocks of white sand provide places to shelter from the wind and even near the caravan park you are soon out of sight. The beach is stunning with fine white sand and shelves very gradually. 

At a glance

Tramore is a lovely white sand beach with dunes behind. Walk through the nature reserve where you may see falcons hunting. 

Looking from Magheramore, Tramore at Rossbeg, Co Donegal

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