One of my Favorite Coffee Shops/Cafes
My wife and I have been to Ireland several times now. As we plan our next trip, my fourth, her fifth, I started reminiscing about the places that we liked best. One of these places is The Bogbean Cafe, in Roundstone, County Galway.
Roundstone is a small tourist town on the Wild Atlantic Way in County Galway, in the Connemara region of Ireland. As you drive down the narrow, twisting almost-two lane road to Roundstone, you come around the corner of Monastery Road. Roundstone Harbor is on your left. On your right, encroaching on the road, are a couple of pubs, a convenience store, and a butcher’s shop. Further up the hill across from the harbor are the hotels and nicer restaurants that house and feed the tourists that flock to Roundstone. Pressing against the street on the left, hemmed in by the harbour, is a row of connected buildings with a couple of pubs/restaurants, a small sandwich and pizza shop, and the Bogbean Cafe.
As you walk into the Bogbean, you are greeted by the cheery round face and short golden blonde hair of Orla, the owner of Bogbean. Orla stands behind a glass counter to the left of the doorway at the cash register, which sits next to a plate or two of tempting freshly baked cookies. Typically, the seating area is full, or almost full, and on a nice day, there will be couples at small tables in front of and on the side of the Bogbean.
The Bogbean is a cute, little place, decorated in what I would call country/cafe cute. There is a bench, with scattered small square pillows, across the back wall. Three two-top tables stand in front of the bench, each with a chair or two. There is a bigger table in the corner, with three chairs around it to provide seating for five or maybe six people. There is a table with a small bench opposite the cash register, behind a small waist-high wall, with two more chairs. And there is a small, intimate table in the front right corner. Black and white photographs of the Roundstone area, taken by a local photographer, adorn the walls. Big windows across the front of the cafe and on the far side from the cash register and the white walls give the Bogbean a bright, light feeling that somewhat offsets the smallness of the space.
In addition to espresso drinks (nobody serves American type coffee in Ireland), a large assortment of teas, and fresh baked good, the Bogbean serves fresh, light food that is pretty typical for cafes in Ireland these days. The menu is maintained on a blackboard mounted on the back wall above the bench. For breakfast, there is the standard “Full Irish” as well as yogurt and granola, eggs, sausage rolls, and a fresh fruit dish. For lunch, of course there’s the ubiquitous vegetable soup, a quiche of the day, a sandwich or panini, and a fresh salad or two. Most of the items are on the light and healthy side.
The Bogbean Cafe is one of the main reasons that my wife and I like to visit Roundstone, in addition to the Roundstone Blanket Bog. The food and espresso drinks are good. But, what makes a coffee shop is the ambience. The cheery, friendly character of Orla is evident in the decor, food, and general feeling of the Bogbean. It’s a great place to sit with an espresso drink, or a cup of tea, and a fresh home baked scone while planning your day. Or for relaxing over a fresh light lunch after a morning of photographing the bog or maybe one of the nearby beaches.