Beaches may not be the first thing that comes to mind when planning travel to Ireland, but read on to learn about why Dogs Bay Beach is a must visit during your next Irish getaway!
When people think about Ireland it's not uncommon to dream of late nights drinking Guinness at Dublin pubs, a round of golf in the Irish countryside or a day trip to the epic Cliffs of Moher.
But during my road trip across the Emerald Isle we made sure to include plenty of stops at beaches along the way and this strategy really paid off!
Along the way we dipped our toes into some of the most beautiful white sand beaches we've ever seen. Not only that, but the lush green Irish countrysides made for a beach backdrop unlike anything else I've experienced elsewhere in the world.
In this post I'm going to cover everything to know before visiting Dogs Bay Beach in Western Ireland. I'll cover useful tips like how to incorporate this stop into your roadtrip and help prepare you to navigate the narrow one lane road that leads down to the beach area!
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Where is Dogs Bay Beach located?
Dogs Bay Beach is a stunning, crescent-shaped beach located in Connemara, County Galway, on the west coast of Ireland. It lies approximately 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) from the charming village of Roundstone.
The largest nearby cities to Dogs Bay Beach are Galway and Westport. During my trip through Ireland we had stayed in Westport the prior evening after hiking Croagh Patrick. From Westport we were traveling on to Liscannor where we'd eventually stay to view the Cliffs of Moher at sunset.
But before heading on to Liscannor we decided to explore the Connemara region by car. We made stops at Doo Lough, Clifden and eventually Dogs Bay Beach.
If you're staying in Westport (or Galway) I'd highly recommend spending some time traveling further west to spend an afternoon at the beach or exploring some of the beautiful remote landscapes in this region.
What to expect when visiting Dogs Bay Beach?
When visiting Dogs Bay Beach, expect to find pristine white sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters. We stopped at numerous Irish beaches during my road trip around the island but this was undoubtedly the most beautiful one we encountered. It was so beautiful that I even named it one of the most beautiful Ireland landscapes that we encountered on this trip.
The beach is backed by sand dunes and is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and various water activities. The location of the bay protects swimmers from strong currents making it an ideal swimming destination. Dogs Bay Beach is known for its peaceful atmosphere, making it an ideal location for a relaxing day at the beach.
Be mindful that facilities such as restrooms or a restaurant are absent from this area so you'll need to plan accordingly. Additionally, parking here can be a challenge on sunny summer afternoons where you won't be the only person in the area thinking about spending some time at the beach!
The narrow road leading down to the beach eventually reaches a small parking lot. Be prepared to share the road and pull offs along the way with other drivers. We had to stop several times while navigating this road to let traffic pass by. At times you may even need to reverse to access one of the small pull offs until traffic clears.
While the parking situation can be a pain, it does prevent this area from being overcrowded so you'll have plenty of room to spread out, kick off your shoes and dip your toes in the sand!
Is visiting Dogs Bay Beach worth it?
Absolutely! Visiting Dogs Bay Beach is worth it for anyone who appreciates unspoiled natural beauty and a relaxing afternoon at the beach. The stunning white sands, crystal-clear waters, and surrounding sand dunes create a picturesque setting that is perfect for a relaxing day at the beach.
Be sure to pack a beach towel, swim trunks, a book and some cold drinks to enjoy an afternoon soaking up the sun along one of Ireland's best beaches.
The bay's location location in the heart of Connemara makes it an ideal stop for those exploring the region's breathtaking landscapes and charming villages. If you're staying in Westport, Galway, Clifden or anywhere in between this stop should be on your itinerary.
What are some interesting facts about Dogs Bay Beach?
The beautiful white sand at Dogs Bay Beach is actually made up of shell fragments from tiny marine organisms that have accumulated over many years.
The unique combination of vegetation native to this region, the composition of the sand and sand dunes have resulted in this area being designated a special area of conservation.
Since the beach faces to the west it makes for an incredible spot to watch the sunset. If you're staying in this area it would make for a great sunset photography spot.
How much does Dogs Bay Beach cost?
There is no entrance fee to visit Dogs Bay Beach, making it a budget-friendly option for travelers. Visitors can enjoy the beach's natural beauty without having to worry about any additional costs.
Just be sure to pack water, snacks and anything else you might want to enjoy during your stay since you won't find any vendors or shops in the immediate area.
How much time should I spend at Dogs Bay Beach?
During my trip through Ireland we were driving from Westport to Liscannor when we made our stop at Dogs Bay Beach. We spent about an hour here relaxing on the beach, wading in the water, enjoying some photography opportunities and taking in the incredible scenery.
If you're just passing through the area I'd probably budget between one and two hours for a stop here. For anyone staying nearby, you could spend upwards of a full day relaxing on the beach. Just be sure to bring enough supplies and check the weather forecast ahead of your visit.
Are dogs allowed on Dogs Bay Beach?
There are currently no policies against bringing dogs to Dogs Bay Beach which means your pet is free to enjoy the beach with you. Just be sure to clean up after your pet and keep them leashed as there will be many other families enjoying this area as well.
It would be disappointing and a bit ironic if you couldn't bring your pooch to a place called Dogs Bay Beach!
Are there bathrooms at Dogs Bay Beach?
We visited the beach during the last weekend in May and there weren't any restroom facilities or port-a-lets available at the beach or parking lot area.
I have read from others that port-a-lets make an appearance during peak summer season, but this isn't a guarantee and I wouldn't plan on having this option during a visit.
Can you swim at Dogs Bay Beach?
Dogs Bay Beach is an excellent swimming destination in Ireland. The beach area is wide and allows for visitors to spread out on the pristine white sand. While the water temperature will remain cool during the summer, it's quite refreshing when swimming on a warm afternoon.
The bay is largely protected from ocean currents and waves making it a safe area to swim and enjoy other water based activities.
Is there a restaurant at Dogs Bay Beach?
You won't find any restaurants, bars or vendors here. Your best bet would be to visit the nearby village of Roundstone if you're in need of a hot meal.
What is the best time of year to visit Dogs Bay Beach?
The best time of year to visit Dogs Bay Beach is during the summer months when the weather is warmer and more suitable for beach activities. However, the beach can be enjoyed year-round, as long as you dress appropriately for the weather conditions.
Ireland is notorious for rainy weather, but if you can time a stop here during a sunny summer afternoon it will be the highlight of your travels through this region.
If you're looking for tips on planning a trip abroad be sure to check out my post covering that topic in depth before you go. Another useful trip planning resource I've put together for readers is a complete list of my hacks for booking the cheapest flights possible.
Another one of my favorite stops in Ireland is the remote island of Skellig Michael. The island is home to a massive bird nesting habitat (including puffins!), an ancient monastery and some of the most incredible views you'll see in the entire country. Be sure to read up and add that stop to your Ireland trip itinerary!
You can also find a list of bookable Ireland tours and activities here to help fill out your travel plans.
What is the best time of day to visit Dogs Bay Beach?
The best time of day to visit is during the late morning into late afternoon when the sun is out and temperatures are at their warmest. Even during the summer temperatures in Ireland rarely exceed the 70 degrees F level (21 degrees C). Be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen if you plan to spend time here while the sun is at its peak.
Additionally, the beach faces west towards the Atlantic Ocean making this a great spot to enjoy a sunset. Be sure to dress appropriately if you plan to enjoy a sunset here as temperatures will dip quickly as the sun disappears. Keep in mind that during the summer months sunset through much of Ireland can occur at 10pm or later.
How do I reach Dogs Bay Beach?
To reach Dogs Bay Beach you'll need a car of your own. It's difficult to move around Ireland without a vehicle of your own, even if you start your travels in Dublin. Be sure to secure a vehicle reservation ahead of your trip to avoid any issues. Having a vehicle also means you can road trip the Dingle Peninsula which was another one of my favorite activities we did during our trip.
Peak travel season in Ireland is focused around summer, which means rental cars will be in high demand during this period. If you wait too long prices can be significantly higher or you could face issues securing the vehicle you want.
If you're staying in Galway the fastest route will be to drive 90 minutes west along N59. Alternatively, you could take R336 which will add about 15 minutes to your drive but will allow for scenic views of the coast.
Visitors staying in Westport are also looking at a 90 minute drive to the bay, largely along N59 but in the opposite direction. If you add 30 minutes to this drive you can take a slightly longer route that passes through the stunning Doo Lough.
This is the route we took during our travels and I would highly recommend stopping at Doo Lough as the landscapes in this region are incredible.
During my travels throughout Ireland I encountered what seemed like a never ending series of beautiful landscapes such as Benbulben, the Dark Hedges, Carrick-a-Rede, Giant's Causeway, Slieve League, and the Assaranca Waterfall in Donegal. From this trip I also created an hour long aerial drone video highlighting some of these beautiful Irish landscapes. The video is great for throwing on in the background to create a relaxing atmosphere to rest or focus.
Hopefully you find this post highlighting Dogs Bay Ireland helpful as you plan your travels throughout the country!