A Guide To Visiting The Stunning Dog’s Bay Beach in Galway (Parking, Swim Info)

dogs bay beach galway
Photo left: Silvio Pizzulli. Photo right: Jacek Rogoz (Shutterstock)

The incredible Dog’s Bay beach is arguably one of the best beaches in Ireland.

It’s easily my favourite out of the many beaches in Galway, anyway (and you’ll see why in a second!).

This spectacular horseshoe shaped bay has more than a mile of white sand beach and crystal-clear, azure water.

It’s one of the best places to head in summer, when you can enjoy a range of water-based activities. Here’s a quick guide to Dog’s Bay Beach so you can start planning for summer.

Water safety warning: Understanding water safety is absolutely crucial when visiting beaches in Ireland. Please take a minute to read these water safety tips. Cheers!

Some quick need-to-knows before visiting Dog’s Bay Beach in Roundstone

dog's bay roundstone
Photo by Jacek Rogoz on Shutterstock

A visit to Dog’s Bay is one of the most popular of the many things to do in Connemara, but there’s a few ‘need-to-knows’.

While a visit to Dog’s Bay Beach in Connemara is pretty straightforward, there’s a few things to know that’ll make your visit more enjoyable.

1. Parking

Dog’s Bay is one of the most popular places to visit in Galway, during the summer months and, while there’s some parking next to the beach, it can get pretty busy!

If it is busy around the parking area, just remember to be responsible with where you park. Think about other people and never block the road.

2. Swimming

Dog’s Bay is situated in a very ideal place in that it is well sheltered from currents. This means that the crystal-clear blue water is perfect for swimming and other water-based activities, like kitesurfing.

3. Camping

If you want to stay nearby to enjoy the beach over multiple days, then you’re in luck. Gurteen Bay Caravan and Camping Park, one of the best places to go camping in Galway, is located nearby.

They have a range of site options including tent pitches, motorhome and caravan powered sites and cabins and huts available.

4. Respect

As with any natural space, you should respect the environment of the area. Since 1991, there has been extensive efforts to plant Marram Grass on the dunes separating Gurteen Beach and Dog’s Bay.

The aim of this is to stop coastal erosion, so please respect the signs restricting access to the dunes. 

About Dog’s Bay Beach in Galway

dog's bay beach in galway
Photo by AerialIreland on Shutterstock

Dog’s Bay Beach sits just two miles from Roundstone in Galway, on the road to Clifden, making it a popular place to visit from the capital of the Connemara region.

The beach is unique in that the white sand you find there is actually made from tiny fragments of seashells, which give it the bright white colour.

Dog’s Bay actually lies back-to-back with Gurteen Beach, which is equally a nice white sand beach to visit.

The unique position of the beaches means that they are sheltered from currents and are completely safe for swimming. It is also a popular place to head for windsurfing and kitesurfing in summer.

Things to do near Dog’s Bay Beach in Connemara

connemara national park
Photo by AlbertMi on Shutterstock

One of the beauties of Dog’s Bay Beach in Galway is that it’s a short spin away from a clatter of other attractions, both man-made and natural.

From the magnificent Connemara National Park (home to the brilliant Diamond Hill walk) to beaches, lively towns and much more, there’s loads to see and do nearby, as you’ll discover below.

1. Gurteen Beach

aerial view of Gurteen Beach
Photo by mbrand85 on Shutterstock

Literally just over the other side of the bay, you’ll find Gurteen Beach. This beautiful beach also has incredibly pure white sand and crystal-clear water but is slightly bigger than Dog’s Bay. It’s also closer to Roundstone village and is just as popular on a warm summer day. 

2. Roundstone Village

gurteen beach roundstone
Photo by Magui RF on Shutetrstock

Roundstone is a pretty little town on the coast. It’s just two miles from Dog’s Bay Beach and offers a great place to stop for a meal and a pint after a day at the beach.

There’s a lovely pint of Guinness to be had at O’Dowd’s Bar and Restaurant which is right by the pier on main street. There’s nothing better than sitting back to enjoy the sunset with a drink and a view on a summer’s day.

3. Alcock and Brown Landing Site

connemara national park
Photo by Nigel Rusby on Shutterstock

You can check out this monument dedicated to the crash-landing site of the world’s first transatlantic flight.

Alcock and Brown crashed landed their Vickers Vimy aircraft in the Derrygimlagh Bog, south of Clifden, after a 16-hour flight from Newfoundland. The monument is perched on top of the High Road in Errislannan which overlooks the bog. 

4. Derrigimlagh Discovery Point

Derrigimlagh discovery point
Photo by Semmick Photo on Shutterstock

If you want to explore the natural beauty of the Derrigimlagh Bog some more, then this 5km loop walk is the perfect way. It takes in a number of important stops where you can learn about the history of the area, as you navigate through the tiny lakes. 

5. Ballynahinch

Ballynahinch castle hotel galway
Photo via Ballynahinch Castle

The stunning Ballynahinch Castle is a short, 19-minute drive from Dog’s Bay. This is a castle hotel with a colourful history, as you’ll discover here.

The castle grounds are magnificent and the restaurants on-site will make your belly very happy. 

FAQs about visiting Dog’s Bay

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from where to park at Dog’s Bay to whether or not it’s OK to swim.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

Is it easy to get parking at Dog’s Bay Beach?

During the off-season, yes – you won’t have any hassle. During the warmer summer months, you’ll want to arrive early, as the car park is reasonably small.

Is it safe to swim on Dog’s Bay?

Yes, once you use common sense and be careful. Dog’s Bay is situated in a very ideal place in that it is well sheltered from currents. This means that the crystal-clear blue water is perfect for swimming and other water-based activities, like kitesurfing.

Emma Baird is a lifestyle editor and novelist. She has worked in the communications industry for more than 25 years, and loves animals, the countryside and lingering in a great pub for the food and the craic.

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