The Murder Hole on Melmore Head in Donegal is considered a secret location for many in the Irish landscape photography community. This is not quite the case anymore as the location has grown in huge popularity over the last couple of years. If it is a secret, its the worst kept secret in the country.
The Murder Hole
Known locally as “The Murder Hole”, nobody seems to quite know which of the many stories truly gave it the infamous nickname. It was the dark nature of the name that first sparked my interest in the location 3 or 4 years back when it was only a whisper to many. Back then it was hard to find details. A little research narrowed it down to Melmore Head and a quick look on google maps identified it perfectly. I’ve saved you a little work – these co-ordinates will get you inches away to the parking spot (55.241062, -7.794064).
The Murder Hole is easily found from this spot. Cross the gate, head due west until you reach the 2nd fence and follow it to your left. It will literally lead you directly to the path of the beach. Some people will claim its a remote location with a long difficult hike in. Honestly, any more than 10-15 minutes means you’ve taken the wrong path. It is isolated and there is absolutely no phone signal. There are signs on the gate warning about a bull but I’ve never encountered any problems once I’ve steered clear the grazing herd of cows. There are also donkey’s on the land. They are more than happy to get a petting if you have 5 minutes to spare.
The walk in is a sandy downhill incline, not too bad on the way in but a nuisance on the way back out. Its this beautiful deep yellow sand which helps makes the beach so appealing. There is a long wash up the beach from the waves which combine beautifully with the jagged rock formations. If strong foreground details with water action are your thing, then this is the location for you. Surrounded by high cliffs on either side, there is also potential for the grand vista shots as well.
My Last Visit
I made my 4th trip to this location a few weeks back. On the previous 3 attempts, I literally got nothing but a soaking. The Murder Hole lives up to its name in rough weather and strong west winds. It is literally dangerous. Rogue waves drive in at this spot and don’t stop half way up the beach. Be Warned……You could be taking your life in your hands venturing onto the sands in these conditions.
My latest trip was very different, calm weather, no wind, sun and broken cloud. It was actually hugely frustrating. A long period of light east winds took all the wash and power out of the waves. There was absolutely no water action to be found. The foreground rocks were completely covered with sand hat had been deposited in the last few weeks. A large bank of soft sand surrounded the beach on my visit and I sunk up to my knees when I stood on it.
I worked the location as best I could and ended up further up the bank shooting a panoramic through lack of options on the night. The light was fantastic but most compositions left me shooting directly into it which is tough at the best of times. A visit in March or April may be a better time to get nice directional light.
Murder Hole…… I’ll be back to conquer you!!!!