Restricted access for dogs at Donegal beaches confirmed

PETS will not be allowed on certain parts of Donegal’s most popular beaches this summer. 

On 10 of  Donegal’s Blue Flag beaches, plus two other beaches that are hoped will gain Blue Flags in the coming years, pets will be restricted from accessing a portion of the beach from 11am to 7pm each day from June 1 to September 15.

This will include the area supervised by our beach lifeguards plus a buffer either side.


Pet owners can continue to enjoy the other parts of these beaches with their pets, in accordance with the existing beach byelaws, at all times.

The beaches where these restrictions will apply are Rossnowlagh, Murvagh, Fintra, Portnoo/Narin, An Charraig Fhinn (Carrickfinn), Trá na Cille (Killahoey), Marblehill, Na Dúnaibh (Downings), Portsalon, Rathmullan, Lisfannan and Culdaff.

Given the size of two of our smaller beaches, Bundoran and Stroove, there is not sufficient space to fulfil our compliance with the Blue Flag criteria and also allow for an additional area for pet access.

Therefore, pets will be restricted from accessing these beaches from 11am to 7pm each day from June 1 to September 15.  In the case of both beaches, there are ample local alternative beaches and walks for pet owners and their pets to enjoy.

The decision has been made after An Taisce, which operates the blue-flag programme in Ireland, has been requested by the FEE to advise local authorities they must meet all the rules of the programme if they are to retain their flags in 2022 and beyond.

These rules include restricting access for dogs and other pets, other than assistance dogs, to blue-flag beaches or in the blue-flag area if it is part of a larger beach. The rule applies during the Bathing Season only.

Donegal County Council will implement these measures for the 2022 Bathing Season.  In parallel with this the Council will be undertaking a public consultation on incorporating the changes into the existing bye-laws relating to beaches.


There will be further awareness campaigns to keep the public informed of the specific changes at these beaches.

A spokesperson for Donegal County Council said, “With a coastline of over 1100 km, County Donegal is blessed with many beautiful sandy beaches and Donegal currently has the joint highest number of Blue Flags nationally with 12 beaches in the county holding the award.

“To retain these iconic awards, Donegal County Council is putting in place arrangements to allow pet owners to continue to enjoy beaches while limiting pet access to certain areas of certain beaches at certain times during the bathing season.

“These arrangements were presented at the Council’s Climate Action and Environment Strategic Policy Committee on 26th January 2022.”




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