Two miles from Roundstone, Co Galway, on the road to Clifden, are two of the finest beaches in Ireland. Gurteen Beach and Dog’s Bay lie back to back forming a tombolo jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean.
Dog's Bay has a spectacular horseshoe shape with more than a mile long stretch of white sandy beach. Similar to Gurteen Bay, the sand is not comprised of traditional limestone but rather made entirely of fragments of seashells which give it a pure white colour.
Both beaches are well sheltered from currents boasting crystal clear waters and are considered safe for swimming and other water based activities such as windsurfing and kitesurfing. The beach is naturally protected by the headland which it faces to the south and this is a very popular destination for holidaymakers in the summer.
The beaches were formed by a sand spit and tombolo which now separates the two bays and their beaches. The area has international importance for its rare and interesting ecological, geological and archaeological features. The sand and grassland habitats are of particular interest as the sand was not formed from rocks, but rather from the shells of tiny sea creatures known as foraminifera. The grasslands, made up of machair vegetation is considered rare and is found only on the west coast of Ireland and Scotland.