You’ll find the secret waterfall in Donegal on the Slieve League peninsula at Largy. It’s a 5-minute drive from Killybegs, a 10-minute drive from Carrick, a 20-minute drive from Glencolmcille and a 35-minute drive from Donegal Town.
2. Parking (warning 1)
There’s a tiny amount parking at Largy Viewpoint, a short walk from the entrance to the secret waterfall in Donegal (here on Google Maps). As this is a popular spot, parking fills up quickly. Do not, under any circumstances, park anywhere other than the designated space at the viewpoint and NEVER park along the road outside of the designated area.
3. The route (warning 2)
The route to the waterfall is treacherous – you need to walk along rocks and it’s extremely slippy. Great care is needed here as is good mobility. We’ve heard of countless people that have fallen here and broken wrists and ankles so attempt this as your own risk. Shoes with good grip are needed. More info on getting to the waterfall below.
4. Tide times (warning 3)
ONLY visit Donegal’s secret waterfall if you are 100% confident that you understand how to read tide times (we’d recommend asking locally if you’re unsure). It can only be accessed at low tide but, as John O’Hara mentions in the comments section, low tide varies greatly depending on day/time of year. This waterfall is inside a cave. If you don’t check the tide-tables in advance, you could easily be cut off by the incoming tide. And there’s no other way back.
5. Cracking coffee
There’s two spots for coffee near the entrance to the waterfall; there’s The Pod at Largy Viewpoint and Cookey’s Coffee (great iced coffee in summer!) near the entrance to the field. If you’re in doubt about the tide times, grab a coffee and ask the folks here for advice.
How to get to the hidden waterfall in Donegal
Getting to the hidden waterfall in Donegal isn’t overly straightforward when you visit for the first time. There’s also (again, yes) several warnings to take note of.
The waterfall is in Largy, an area between the towns of Killybegs and Kilcar. Park in the designated area at Largy Viewpoint and then look down the road towards Cookey’s Coffee.
You need to head for a point past that. Care is needed as there’s no footpath and it’s a busy road.
Step 1: Getting to the gate / entrance point
Access to the secret waterfall in Donegal is via a private field (pictured above and located here on Google Maps).
Last summer, the owner of the field was granting access to people – there was three signs on the gate instructing people to keep dogs on a lead, to note that the land owners weren’t liable for injuries and to not sit or stand on the gate.
When you visit, make sure that access is still being granted (check for the signs). If so, make sure to close the gate behind you and take any rubbish you bring back home with you.
Step 2: The trail to the waterfall
When you’re through the gate, it’s just under 500m to the coast. At this point, if you haven’t checked the tide times, please do so and take heed to the safety warnings above.
Here’s where the walk to the hidden waterfall in Donegal gets dangerous. You’ll need to walk around 350m from the exit point of the field down along the coast.
There’s no path, you’re walking along rocks and it’s very slippy, so be vigilant with each step.
Step 3: Arriving at the waterfall
You’ll hear the waterfall before you see it. Depending on your pace, it should take 20 to 25 minutes to get to the waterfall from where you exit the field.
It’s especially impressive after heavy rainfall when the water thunders down onto the rocks below. When you visit, please ensure to leave no trace behind you.
When you’ve finished, head back the way you came and make your way back to the parking area.
Again, as a final warning, please do not visit Donegal’s secret waterfall if you don’t understand tide times.