Dog’s Bay and Gurteen Bay Beaches were in the news recently for being named by the Lonely Planet Guide as one of the top 10 beaches in Ireland. Described as “separated by a dog-bone shaped sand spit and tombolo are the golden sands of Gurteen Bay and Dog’s Bay, made up of dazzling white sand. Unlike other beaches, the sands are not formed from rocks but from crushed seashells, which give them more of a Caribbean feeling.”
3.5 hours driving time, not including stops.
This has to be one of the most scenic drives on the Wild Atlantic Way and one of the most popular things to do in Galway for guests staying at the Park House Hotel.
From Galway you will drive through Moycullen, Oughterard, Maam Cross, Recess and Roundstone to get to Dog’s Bay and Gurteen Bay beaches. Mannin Bay and Coral Strand, also known as White Strand, is a roadside beach where the bright white sand allows a clear view of the marine life passing underneath. This is a very popular beach for kayaking and snorkelling and a great place to enjoy water-based activities when enjoying your staycation in Galway.
It is really worthwhile to stop off at Roundstone, a beautiful fishing village located 3 km from Dog’s Bay Beach. One of the oldest fishing villages on the west coast of Ireland, its harbour is still busy today with local fishermen returning with the day’s catch of lobster, crayfish and crag. The scenery is spectacular and has been the inspiration for many artists and musicians, Sting wrote most of the songs for The Police’s third album while staying at Roundstone and the local ‘Arts Week’ is a highlight of the year. The village has some excellent cafés, pubs and art shops.
Derrigimlagh is the site of two historic events of the 20th century. Pilots John Alcock and Arthur Witten Brown crash-landed in the bog in1919 after completing the world’s first transatlantic flight. They landed close to the Marconi Wireless Station which had been set up on this exposed site in1905 and took 2 years to build. It was the first permanent trans-Atlantic radio station; at its peak it employed several hundred people and transmitted world news across the ocean.
The 5km scenic loop walk at Derrigimlagh is dotted with interactive exhibits and is a very popular tourist site for visitors to Connemara and Galway.
Clifden is the capital of Connemara and one of the most picturesque towns in Ireland. There’s a great choice of restaurants and bars for lunch and this cosmopolitan town is well worth a visit on your staycation in Galway.
Before your return journey to Galway, take the Sky Road, a 20km (12 mile) loop drive along the coast, well-known as one of the most scenic coastal drives in Ireland. Part of the Wild Atlantic Way, the Sky Road peninsula juts out into the Atlantic Ocean against the backdrop of the 12 Bens Mountain Range to the east. Along with the Inagh Valley scenic drive south of Leenaun, the sign posted Sky Road in Clifden is one of the top tourist attractions in the entire Connemara region. In addition to great scenic views overlooking Clifden Bay, Streamstown Bay, Inishturk and Turbot Island, the Sky Road Peninsula itself is rich in heritage. The rugged rocky coastline can also boast a number of fine sandy beaches and turquoise waters where you can relax for a picnic and enjoy the waters.
After your day touring Connemara’s beaches and the Sky Road scenic drive, the Park House Hotel is the best hotel to stay in Galway for luxurious accommodation, award-winning food and hospitality.