The village of Roundstone in Galway is one of our favourite villages in Ireland.
Roundstone lies to the west of Bertraghboy Baby in Connemara, 77 km from the city of Galway at the foot of Errisbeg Mountain.
It isn’t hard to work out why this little town scores highly in the tourism stakes. Roundstone overlooks the Atlantic and the scenery is truly breath-taking.
In the guide below, you’ll discover everything from things to do in Roundstone in Connemara to places to eat, sleep and drink.
About Roundstone in Galway
Built in the 1820s by the Scottish engineer Alexander Nimmo, Roundstone has been the birthplace and inspiration for many artists over the years.
The area is also popular with botanists thanks to its proliferation of rare wild flowers, and walkers and hikers who want to take in the delights of the spectacular scenery.
Errisbeg Mountain rises to almost 1,000 feet behind the town and Roundstone is surrounded by lakes and the effects of ice age sculpted landscape is clearly visible.
The town itself boasts many craft and art shops, as well as hotels and restaurants that offer you the chance to sample the area’s outstanding fish and shellfish.
Things to do in Roundstone in Galway (and nearby)
One of the beauties of making Roundstone in Connemara your base for a few nights is that it’s a short spin away from a clatter of other attractions, both man-made and natural.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do in and near Roundstone village (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. Ramble along Dog’s Bay Beach
Admire the white sands, as the beach is comprised of the fragments of broken shellfish and it is this that gives the beach its tropical look.
Stroll the mile-long beach, sunbathe, kite surf or swim—the beach is sheltered enough to accommodate all your favourite summertime outdoor activities.
Since the 1990s, the local community has put in a great deal of effort to prevent coastal erosion, so please respect the signs that direct you away from certain dunes.
2. Sip a pint with a view from O’Dowd’s
O’Dowd’s is a lovely little bar and restaurant right across from the water in Roundstone. It has been in the O’Dowd family since 1906 and thought to be the oldest pub in Connemara—there’s been a pub on the premises since the 1840s.
The small and intimate bar has a traditional turf fire. Sip your drink while watching the fishermen go about their business in the harbour.
Should you feel peckish, the menu relies heavily on local fish and shellfish—crab, mussels and smoked salmon.
3. Head for a paddle at Gurteen Beach
Gurteen Beach is Dogs Bay Beach’s ‘twin’, the two beaches forming a tombola that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean, each as popular and pretty as the other.
Gurteen Beach is the larger of the two and is closer to Roundstone. Why not wander around with the kids picking up beautiful examples of the seashells that litter the beach?
The grasslands you see on the beach are comprised of machair vegetation—very rare and found only on the west coasts of Ireland and Scotland.
As you can see from the photo above, there’s a reason why this is widely regarded as one of the best beaches in Ireland.
4. Explore Connemara National Park
Connemara National Park has 2,000 hectares of mountains, forests, bogs and heathlands. It is owned by the state and an excellent place to walk and wonder at nature’s munificence.
The park lands were used for agriculture in the past—cattle and sheep grazing, and vegetable growing. Peat in the bogs in the park was used for fuel.
Evidence of ancient communities can be seen in the park, including megalithic court tombs said to be 4,000 years old, and ruined houses, disused lime kilns and old sheep pens speak to its agricultural past.
5. Visit the often-missed Inishbofin Island
If the rat race is the disease, Inishbofin Island is the cure… Escape to the island of the white cow!
The island is seven miles off the Galway Coast and is a special area of conservation and protection.
Its beaches are prized for their exceptional water quality. Come here to walk, relax and watch the birds, or join the walking and arts festivals.
6. Spin along the Sky Road (Clifden)
The circular Sky Road (16km long) will take you out west from Clifden and along the Kingstown peninsula.
It is part of the Wild Atlantic Way driving route and one of those bucket list drives that combine mountains and coastal views in all their rugged magnificence.
The route is well signposted and at the highest point, there is a viewing area with plenty of room to park, so you can take pictures that will make you the envy of all your friends.
Roundstone restaurants and pubs
The village of Roundstone in Galway is well-known for it’s food, and hungry travellers don’t have far to look for a tasty feed.
1. O’Dowd’s Seafood Bar and Restaurant
As we’ve already pointed out, O’Dowd’s has charms a-plenty to offer the visitor from the views and olde-wordly charm to the seafood on its menu. Pub of the Year in 2017, O’Dowd’s works closely with local suppliers to source the delicious ingredients that form its menus, and the place has a friendly, informal atmosphere that makes it popular with locals and residents alike.
2. The Shamrock Bar & Restaurant
if you’re a craft beer fan, The Shamrock’s locally crafted beer will point you in its favour, and it offers ‘traditional with a twist’ freshly-made food for the hungry visitor. There’s an open peat fire to gather around and chat with family and friends, and there is regular live music for all those who seek out the truly authentic Irish pub experience.
3. Beola (Eldon’s) Restaurant
This family-run, 12-bedroom hotel and restaurant overlooks Roundstone Harbour, and its back view is the Twelve Bens Mountain range. The perfect spot for stopping off when you’re following the Wild Atlantic Way coastline. Like many hotels and restaurants close by, the restaurant specialises in fresh local produce—serving up delicious crab, oyster, mussels and lobster dishes. Find a wonderful selection of gins and beers in the bar, and of course you’ll need to order a pint of Guinness!
4. King’s Bar
Your typical Irish village pub, a visit to Roundstone is not complete without a trip to the King’s Bar. Why not sip your pint outside on a sunny day, enjoying the beautiful scenery and making the most of the peace all around you?
Hotels in Roundstone in Galway
If you want to base yourself in Roundstone in Galway for a few nights, you’ve a good few options to choose from, accommodation wise.
The Roundstone House Hotel is up their with our favourite hotels in Galway and there’s plenty of great B&Bs and Airbnbs on offer, too!
1. Roundstone House Hotel
A particular favourite with couples, Roundstone House is up there with the best hotels in Galway has an onsite restaurant, rooms with flatscreen TVs, ensuite bathrooms and views of the sea or garden.
The deluxe double room has an extra-large bed. Feeling sociable? The shared lounge is a lovely place to sit and make new friends, and guests rave about the quality of the breakfast on offer.
2. Eldon’s Hotel Roundstone
The hotel overlooks Roundstone Harbour, providing guests with rooms with gorgeous views. Family-run, the Eldon’s Hotel offers six standard double rooms, with a laundry service available on request just in case all that walking/hiking makes your clothes mud-splattered.
The restaurant offers a Table d’Hote set menu and an a la carte menu that takes advantage of the local abundance of seafood and shellfish. There is also a lunchtime snack menu.
B&Bs in Roundstone in Connemara
We’re going to tackle B&Bs in Roundstone, next, for those of you that fancy kicking back in a home-from-home for a few nights.
1. Errisbeg House B&B
Errisbeg House is, in our opinion, one of the best B&Bs in Galway. This place really is a fine little place to chill for a few nights.
The B&B is part of the Connemara Garden Trail, so its three acres of garden feature sculptures and statues, as well as beautiful flowers and plants.
Each room has a private bathroom and distinctive, antique furniture with views over the extensive gardens. Ask for a tour of them.
2. The Old Store
The Old Store—with a shared lounge and free WiFi, The Old Store offers guests a continental or a la carte breakfast. There is table tennis on site, or guests can explore the great outdoors on a bicycle.
A golf course nearby offers the chance to play golf in an incredibly beautiful setting. You can also have breakfast outdoors on a table that overlooks the water.
The beaches are only a seven-minute drive away, although the more energetic might prefer to walk or cycle there to work off some of those delicious breakfast calories!
Airbnbs in Roundstone in Galway
And finally, Roundstone Airbnbs!
1. Folan’s Cottage
Folan’s Cottage is a beautiful, architecturally designed holiday home built from two ruined stone cottages. Here is where you come if you want total peace as your only neighbours will be rabbits, sheep and Connemara ponies.
The cottage is located just metres from a sandy beach, and you have views of the Twelve Bens and the Arann Islands. The cottage sleeps six to seven people and is rented out on a weekly basis.
2. The Old Bakery
The Old Bakery—this newly renovated, semi-detached house is situated in the heart of Roundstone and within walking distance of all those lovely seafood bars and restaurants. The house has been a bakery, fish shop, newsagents and coffeeshop and has been renovated to an exceptionally high standard. It’s an ideal place for your tour of Connemara.
3. Suas Thuas
Suas Thuas—Suas Thuas means Up Above, reflecting this property’s views and location. Overlooking Dogs Bay Beach, the house sits at the foot of Errisbeg and is a six-minute drive from Roundstone. Choose between hill climbing or beach strolling, the bungalow has room for four guests (two bedrooms).
Holiday Homes in Roundstone in Connemara
1. Roundstone Quay House
Roundstone Quay House—situated in the town, this holiday home is modern and spacious. It makes the perfect base for a family wanting to spend their time in outdoor pursuits such as cycling, walking, hiking, fishing and canoeing. There are three bedrooms and two bathrooms, and a kitchen with a dishwasher and microwave.
Dolan’s—this holiday home has four bedrooms and is beautifully designed, its location providing stunning views over the Atlantic Ocean. The house is off the main road, so guests can enjoy enhanced peace and quiet. Complementary private parking is provided. The house is close to the beaches too, so you will never be short of nice places to take a walk, morning or afternoon.
3. Cottage 170
Cottage 170—this fabulous two-bedroomed holiday home is beautifully done out and in the middle of the town, so convenient for all the shops, restaurants and bars. There is free Wi-fi throughout and private parking on site. The patio includes outdoor furniture—just the thing on a nice summer’s afternoon or evening. The dining kitchen is well stocked and the property light and spacious throughout.
Gurteen Bay Caravan and Camping Park is arguably one of the best places to go camping in Galway. It’s a mere 50 metres from the beach and a great spot to park your mobile home/caravan.
There are 80 pitches in total, 40 tent only, and 15 with hardstandings. All have electricity and there are water taps all over the site. There are two apartments and two houses available for renting out all year round, and WiFi throughout.
Facilities include a central toilet block with hot showers that are token operated and wash basins.
There is a campers’ kitchen, laundry facilities and motorhome services. A shop operates on site from May to September selling groceries, ice cream and beach toys. There is also a games and TV room behind it.
The owners organise group activities in the summer and you can hire a bike to explore the local countryside. Your perfect venue for a beach holiday in exceptional surroundings, with plenty to do, see and take in.
FAQs about Roundstone in Connemara
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from the best things to do in Roundstone in Galway to where to stay.
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.
What are the best things to do in Roundstone?
Walk along Dog’s Bay, sip a pint with a view at O’Dowd’s, head for a paddle at Gurteen, explore Connemara National Park or spin along the Sky Road.
Where’s the best place to stay in Roundstone?
There’s lots of difference places to stay in Roundstone in Connemara. Above, you’ll find a mix of hotels, holiday homes and Airbnbs that are worth a look.
What pubs and restaurants in Roundstone are worth visiting?
O’Dowd’s Seafood Bar and Restaurant, King’s Bar, Beola (Eldon’s) Restaurant and The Shamrock Bar & Restaurant are great places to eat.
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.