The Wild Atlantic Way is littered with hidden gems and you don’t have to travel far before stumbling across some idyll. About 80km west of Galway, one such place exists.
Roundstone, a popular destination for tourists, artists and walkers, nestles compactly between Errisbeg Mountain and a sheltered Atlantic inlet, and with uninterrupted views of the Twelve Bens Mountains in the distance, offers scenic walks and excellent photo opportunities to those hallowed by a clear, dry day.
The village is also a popular base for marine biologists thanks to the West of Ireland’s rich and diverse marine ecosystem. The closest I’ve been to studying the region’s marine life however, is examining the menu at O’Dowd’s award winning Seafood Bar & Restaurant, and if you’re trying to get as much of Roundstone’s coastal bio-diversity in your mouth in one go, their seafood chowder comes highly recommended.
On this occasion, our destination was about 2.5km outside of Roundstone – Gurteen Bay Camping & Caravan Park – a lovely little campsite which, if you’re fortunate enough to get one, offers stands adjacent to the beach, extending breath-taking ocean vistas that hotels would charge a premium for.
A minute away is a quiet, secluded, white-sandy beach, lapped by a crystal-clear sea and protected by the full force of the Atlantic by the Errisbeg Peninsula; perfect for water-babies.
A walk along the mile long beach brings you to the head of the peninsula and promises of views of America. The haze of the sunset across the Atlantic that evening made it difficult for us to see out that far, so we followed our footprints back to van for a BBQ and a game of snap.
Expect to be fully off-grid in Gurteen Bay as the campsite doesn’t offer Wi-Fi, nor is the mobile phone signal very strong there, but to be honest, the tranquil milieu really needs to be enjoyed without the distraction of telephonic communication devices.
Coole Park, Lady Gregory House and Visitors Centre