The village of Roundstone in the Connemara region of western Ireland is quaint, charming and a delight. It’s one of the oldest fishing villages on the west coast and is not much more than a row of shops, pubs and restaurants along the waterfront. But, it is packed with good accommodation, delectable restaurants and artisan shops – oh, and a few pubs, of course. The 12 Bens loom off in the distance. The smell of salt lingers in the air. It’s a great place to base yourself for exploring the southern part of Connemara. Though Clifden is bigger and has more to offer in terms of lodging and restaurants, Roundstone is the place to experience Connemara’s coastal charms in a more authentic way.
I stayed at the Errisbeg Lodge which is 2km from Roundstone, so within walking distance for most folks. It is a lovely setting at the base of Errisbeg Mountain with views to the mountain at the back of the house and views to the Atlantic Ocean from the front of the house. The rooms are simple and clean, breakfast is tasty and the hospitality is very warm. There’s a nice beach across the road and down a hill. It’s a fantastic spot to talk a walk in the sand. Or if you’re brave enough, to take a swim.
After hearing stories about the old bog road, which is believed to be haunted, I had to take a drive down it. It seems no one likes to drive down it at night. However, during the day it is a gorgeous drive through boggy areas where sheep graze. The views are stunning across the boggy land to the 12 Bens (mountains). Pack a lunch and stop along the way to soak it all in. It’s just a few miles from Roundstone and you can make a loop drive by coming back around to Ballyconneely then back to Roundstone.
Dinner at Vaughan’s Restaurant in the Roundstone House Hotel is a must for seafood lovers – fresh off the boats just across the street in the Roundstone harbor. The sea scallops were amazing! For good pub food along with more incredible seafood, or for a pint or 2, O’Dowd’s is the place. You can find traditional Irish music here as well. For a small town, there are plenty of choices to fit every budget.
Roundstone has turned into a bit of an artist’s haven, with shops featuring hand crafted pottery, jewelry and instruments. The pieces are beautiful and you’ll often be greeted by the actual artisan. If something more “sporty” is your style, then try some of the walks around the area including walking up Errisbeg Mountain. Or perhaps you’d like to try tackling one of the 12 Bens that lie to the northeast of Roundstone. They’re not particularly high and have good trails. There are also stellar cycling routes in the area and the fishing is fabulous.
For history buffs check out some of the islands just off the coast where the remains of early Christian settlements have been found. And, just two miles north of Roundstone lie the ruins of a 15th century Dominican Priory.
Are you ready to make a trip to Roundstone and take in the Connemara region of western Ireland? If so, be sure to contact us here at Wander Your Way. We love it here.