What sea glass is,

and where to find it in co. Donegal?

By Elena T.

a person holding a baby's feet

The sea glass has many names - mermaid's tears, beach glass, sea gems, beach jewels, sea pearls, and drift glass. No matter what we call them it is hard to disagree they are beautiful pieces of art.

What is sea glass, and how does it form?


Sea glass is teamwork between humans and nature. When sadly, people throw glass in the ocean or leave it at the shore - empty bottles, jars, even ceramic dishes - a process of natural weathering begins. The glass is persistently tumbled by the sand, stones, and waves. The formation process could take 5 to 50 years, and the glass got smooth, rounded edges and a frosted surface.

Why are people collecting Sea glass?


Collecting sea glass is mainly a hobby - people fill up decorative jars. However, those beautiful glass pieces find common use in the jewelry and as a material for art - sea glass bowls, windows, pictures, and whatever your imagination decides.


Picture source:  Beach Creation on Etsy

a fish tank with fish in it

Sea Glass Rarity

Most Common (chance to find 1 in 25):

Brown, White, Green


Fairly Common (chance to find 1 in a 100):

MIlk white, Lime green, Light green, Dark green, Sea Foam, Amber brown

Rare (chance to find 1 in 1000):

Turquoise, Teal, Purple, Blak, Pink, Cornflower blue, Aqua, Citron, Grey


Very Rare (chance to find 1 in 10 000):

Red, Orange, Yellow

Picture source: https://www.beafunmum.com/

chart, bubble chart

Can we find sea glass in co. Donegal and where?


Yes, there is plenty of sea glass on the Donegal's shore. Indeed you can find them everywhere if you look long enough, but here is my list of 9 places where I found lots of pieces on our family trips around the county.

1. Kinnagoe beach, Inishowen


Keep walking along the beach until you reach the rocky part in the middle of the beach. There you can spend lots of time treasure hunting between the tiny pebbles. The pieces there are small and well-formed.

Kinnagoe bay, sea glass, Donegal

2.Leenakeel Bay Beach, Inishowen


Search near the river outfall. If you have a trained eye or want a challenge, look at the rock's ring on the edge of the beach. Some old and hard-to-recognize pieces of glass are waiting for their hunters. They look more like pebbles - smooth, round and frosty.

Leenakeel Bay Beach, Inishowen - sea glass

3. Lisfannon Beach, Inishowen


It is nothing secret here - have a nice walk along the beach and enjoy collecting beautiful pieces of sea glass and sea shells.

4. The Great Pollet Sea Arch, Fanad


The sea glass here is tough to find - small well tumbled pieces that look precisely like pebbles.

But even if you don't find any sea glass, you won't be sorry about visiting that majestic place!

Great pollet arch sea glass, donegal

5. Ballyheirnan Bay, Fanad


The sea glass on this beautiful green coast awarded beach is not at every step but follow the pebbles, and you will be rewarded.

6. Marblehill beach


If you want to find sea glass here, go to the northern side car park and down the steps to the rocky area. Have an excellent hunt!

marblehill sea glass

7. Magheragallan beach, Gweedore


There are plenty of pieces here - walk near the water and the rocks on the south side, and fill up your pockets and buckets.

8. Rosbeg beach, West Donegal


If you visit this stunning place but still want to collect some sea glass, go next to the right side of the pier wall, and you will find more than you can carry with you.

9. Glenveagh Castle and Gardens


Yes, it is not precisely sea glass. It is beach glass (formed by the lake or river water). If you want a glass souvenir from Glenveagh, go out of the gardens opposite the primary entrance and turn right to the lake before the picnic shades. A small beach full of tiny rocks and beach glass will welcome you.

a body of water with trees and rocks around it

Experts advise


Here are 15 tips that sea glass hunter experts will give you:

  1. Allow a minimum of TWO hours to search for sea glass.
  2. Skip the pristine sandy beach for a pebbly beach with lots of rocks.
  3. Go where the waves are.
  4. The best time to hunt for beach glass is after a storm.
  5. Visit the beach at low tide. Tides are lower around full moons, so plan your hunt accordingly.
  6. Don’t be afraid to wade out into the water if necessary.
  7. Face AWAY from the sun and look for sparkles.
  8. Begin your search near the lower low-tide lines or rocky areas, but search the entire shoreline if time allows.
  9. Carry a small bag to collect the beach glass you find.
  10. Use a small plastic rake or kitty litter scoop to sift through the sand.
  11. Areas of wet sand may turn up the best finds but look closely; the white glass may look invisible.
  12. Wear sturdy walking shoes for climbing down embankments when searching for beach glass along the shoreline near roads.
  13. Do not hunt sea glass on private property unless you have permission.
  14. Finished sea glass should not have any sharp edges. If the sea glass is not “mature,” throw it back, and it will continue to circulate for other people to find.
  15. The darker colors of sea glass may look like rocks at first glance so pay attention!


tips source: https://travelinspiredliving.com/tips-to-find-beach-glass/

If you found this article useful, if you want to share what you find in Donegal, or if we missed a sea glass mine in the county - send us an email or join our fabulous Facebook group - Donegal Day Out and tell us what is in your mind.

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