One of the beached whales in Tra Mór in Dunfanaghy, Co Donegal.

One of the beached whales in Tra Mór in Dunfanaghy, Co Donegal.
Locals have been left shocked after three whales were washed up on one of the country's most scenic beaches.

Tra Mór in Dunfanaghy, Co Donegal was named in the top ten Irish beaches by the Lonely Planet guide this week.

However, walkers were left stunned at the weekend when they came across the whales washed up on the beach.

The three large carcasses are believed to be that of two adult and one juvenile Cuvier's beaked whales The three whales measure around 6ft, 10ft and 10ft, and two of them have scarring around their bodies.

Scarring is common on the heads of such species of whales because of fighting amongst competing males.

It is understood the whales may have been washed up on the beach a number of days ago.

One woman walking the beach said "It was such a sad sight. We'll probably never know how they died.

It was bad enough to see one but when I came across a second and then a third in just a few hundred yards of each other I was almost in tears."

"It's a beautiful, peaceful beach and you just don't expect to see such a horrible scene on it."

The beach is only accessible by foot over sand-dunes and stretches for around three kilometres.

Swimming along Tra Mor is not recommended because of very dangerous currents and rip tides and it is most enjoyed by walkers looking to get away from busier beaches.

Donegal County Council has been alerted to the discovery.

However, it is uncertain if the creatures will be allowed to wash out to sea naturally because of the inaccessibility of the beach.

Burial of such huge carcasses is no longer allowed.