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What to do in Galway

Coleraine, United...
Level Contributor
11 posts
30 reviews
What to do in Galway

So following on from my last question my sister and I are visiting Galway, arriving later afternoon on Monday and leaving late afternoon on Thursday.

If you were me what would you do?

I know we want to visit one of the Aran Islands, probably Inishmore. beyond that I'm not sure what to prioritize. We will have a car so can travel to surrounding area's. On the Thursday morning we were considering taking it easy and doing a bit of shopping. Is the shopping in Galway good?

In the evenings we're hoping to do a bit of pub hoping to hear some good traditional music (We are both musicians) and have a few good pints. So far I hear the Crane and Tig Coili's are the places to go for this. Any other recommendations? food recommendations also?

Also we will be driving from Londonderry to Galway. Were is good along the way to stop for a bite to eat and a stretch of the legs?

Sorry for the million questions but super excited about this trip so I want to get it right :D

10 replies to this topic
boston, ma
Destination Expert
for Western Ireland
Level Contributor
2,057 posts
15 reviews
1. Re: What to do in Galway

If you are interested in beautiful scenery you should visit Connemara. Clifden is a nice town to visit in the heart of Connemara. If you are interested in hiking at all you could visit Connemara National Park.

Western Ireland...
Destination Expert
for Sligo, Charlottesville, Virginia, County Donegal, Western Ireland
Level Contributor
22,547 posts
293 reviews
2. Re: What to do in Galway

That many days, I would head to Clifden.. Head to Dog's Bay Beach.. Wonderful walks near Rounstone > Ballynahinch...Rent a bike. Explore Omey Island, (Tide Dependent). Hike / walk Connemara National Park. Take the Inishbofin Ferry to Inishbofin Island & stay a day or two.


Galway, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Connemara, The Burren, Galway, Western Ireland
Level Contributor
3,896 posts
102 reviews
3. Re: What to do in Galway

Some great walks in Galway – take a stroll up along the Eglington Canal. Or the nice walk along the promenade leading to the seaside suburb of 


(1) Forthill Cemetery - It's been in continual use since the 1500s and witnessed the gruesome beheading of 300 shipwrecked Spanish sailors who were put to death in 1589 by Sir William Fitzwilliam. There is a small plaque commemorating the tragic event but it's one of the few in Ireland that is inscribed in both Irish and Spanish negating the English language. An intended snub to the language of the perpetrator. The cemetery is located right around the corner from the Harbour Hotel heading towards Lough Atalia.

(2)  Claddagh Arts Centre: Located on Upper Fairhill Road in the Claddagh and just a short stroll from Galway City centre. This locally owned arts centre has grown in recent years and this year sees the opening of “Katie's Cottage” - a must see if you want to see how people lived in times gone by. Lots of locally sourced stone, wood, hand carved giftware made to customer requirements with many more gifts available in the showroom. Stay for a cup of tea/coffee and learn more about Irish culture and heritage. Check the website for opening hours.

(3) A Galway landmark that has been happening every Saturday morning for as long as anyone can remember. The Galway market fills the streets around St Nicholas Church and is the place to see and sample the many wholesome and dairy delights the county has to offer. It's a great local market that is a blended mixture of local food producers and artisans selling their wares

(4) William Street West – Lower Dominick Street area: Let the visitors jostle for places and space in and around the Quay Street area and head on over the bridge and go where many of the locals frequent. This small compact area has an array of coffee shops, bars and a restaurant or two. Definitely worth a visit if staying in and around Galway.

(5) Just down from the Quays Pub lies a remarkable insight into mediaeval Galway: The Hall of the Red Earl in the heart of Galway remains one of the city’s top visitor attractions. The site which dates from the 13th century is now linked to the founding of Galway by the Anglo-Norman De Burgo family.  FREE ENTRY

(6) It's often described as "the smallest museum in Europe with the biggest gift shop". It proudly houses some of the very first Claddagh rings made by Goldsmiths Nicholas Burge, Richard Joyce and George Robinson - from 1700-1800. It also displays the "world's smallest Claddagh ring" which is on the top of a tailor's pin. Located on Quay Street.

(7) Galway now boasts two Michel Star restaurants at Aniar and Loam, but if you are looking for something more homely (and also offering up some terrific outdoor summer seating), pop down to the Latin Quarter around the Quay Street – Cross Street – High Street area. Amble through an array of great restaurants and bars all offering a unique aspect to Galway's growing reputation as a haven for foodies. There are many other fine eating establishments all over the city centre too. If you are in town around Easter – the Galway Food Festival is usually in full swing and always serves up something for everyone.

(8) Shop Street is the main thoroughfare in the city centre which is also completely pedestrianised offering more time to watch and listen to some of the finest street performers and buskers that the country has to offer.

(9) Eyre Square is an ideal place to watch the “world go by”. In 1965, the square was officially renamed "John F. Kennedy Memorial Park" in honour of John F. Kennedy, who visited Galway city and made a speech in the square on 29 June 1963. The first U.S. President to do so during his term of office. Since its recent redevelopment the finished square received the Irish Landscape Institute Design Award in 2007.

(10) Irish music in Galway - several places around town but The Crane Bar on Sea Road is a great option. Get there early as it's often standing room only!

(11) Sample the wonderful theatrical tradition Galway has to offer: (12) Druid Theatre – an iconic and long-established award-winning theatre, famed for staging experimental works by young Irish playwrights, as well as new adaptations of the classics. Located off Quay Street in an old tea warehouse. (A) A Galway institution - An Taibhdhearc offers many of the classic and new adaptations in Irish and English - the atmosphere is simply enough to experience. There are also many concerts held here too – check the website for details. (B) Town Hall Theatre: Always something on from musicals to dance to performing arts at this Galway landmark. Check local listings for details.

(13) Galway Cathedral and St Nicholas' Collegiate Church – two architectural landmarks open to visitors throughout the day. Notice the two-foot high boundary wall circling the Galway Cathedral – these are the partial remains of the old Galway gaol and once inside marvel at the Connemara Marble floor. See if you can locate the mosaic of President John F Kennedy.

(14) Galway City Museum. Located close to the Spanish Arch. This museum is a spacious modern building, situated in the heart of the city on the banks of the River Corrib. The museum contains a variety of permanent and touring exhibitions delving into Galway's rich archaeological and historical past. FREE

(15) Down by the Waterside: A local Galway secret. This is an oasis of tranquillity right in the city centre on the banks of the River Corrib behind the Town Hall Theatre. Walk back towards the three concrete towers jutting out of the water – these are the partial remains of the old Galway - Clifden railway line that is sadly no more.

(16) Galway is the ideal city to explore on foot. Some terrific walks along the Eglington Canal up to the university campus - but the most popular of all is down by the Claddagh and out to Salthill. It's an ideal way to engage with the locals. Don't forget to “kick the wall” at Blackrock!

(17) The Corrib Princess: during the summertime take a guided boat trip up the River Corrib from Woodquay - a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon or evening (bar onboard too). Summer only

(18) Fish and Chips – Fisherman Seafood Bar and Grill in Salthill. McDonagh's on Quay Street Galway. Fish and Chips at Hooked is located on Henry Street. All extensively reviewed on Trip Advisor.

(19) Galway Fisheries Watchtower Museum: Located right on the banks of the River Corrib - Known as the Fishery Watchtower and also as the Tower Station, it is the only building of its kind in the whole country. Dating from 1853 and built by the Ashworth family. It's staffed by a group of volunteers and I believe it's free entry too.

(20) Charlie Byrne's Bookstore: Middle Street Galway. A treasure trove of used, second hand and new books and a personal favourite of mine. A great source of Irish History books too, with super-friendly staff to assist. There's also the warehouse in Oranmore too with lots of books for sale.

(21) An Gailearai Beag at 4 Flood Street: Located right around the corner from Charlie Byrne's bookstore. Lots of old antiques and trinkets on sale here. You never know what you might dig at up this long established independent store. No. 4 Flood Street

(22) Galway Arts Centre: 47 Dominick Street. Located at Number 47 Dominick Street. A 3,000 sq ft gallery, showing national and international contemporary arts housed in a building dating from the1840's. Admission is free and everyone is welcome. This building also hosts a wide range of activities from classes in art, writing and photography to workshops in drama, music and voice.

(23) Griffin's Bakery Shop Street: Originally established in 1876 this iconic bakery is still serving up the finest of bread and cakes. Pop in a gaze at the array of delicious home-made chocolate and tempting treats.

(24) Celia Griffin Memorial Park: Grattan Road. The park at Grattan Beach has been named for Celia Griffin and is dedicated to all the children who lost their lives in the Great Famine including a monument to the 100 famine ships which sailed out of Galway between the years 1847 and 1850. These ships saved the lives of many thousands of people and the services of their captains and crews ought not to be forgotten. The stone monuments bear the names of these ships

(25) Nora Barnacle Museum – 8 Bowling Green Galway: James Joyce's Galway-born wife lived here in the early 1900s. Said to be the smallest house on the street, the small museum displaying the couple's letters and photographs among the period furniture. Looking all of its 100 years, the house had no running water until the 1940s; instead, the Barnacle family used a communal pump across the street. Unfortunately, it seems to open sporadically, but worth stopping by if you are in the area. It's a very short walk from Eyre Square

(26) No visit to the city is complete without a stop at Kirwan's Lane. This is one of the original medieval laneways in Galway and is located in what is now referred to as the Latin Quarter. The wider area has been significantly restored over the past several years and has reignited the heart of Galway’s historical town centre. Additionally, it is also home to many bohemian-style cafes, street buskers and performers, restaurants, bars and craft shops

(27) Cupán Tae: Located across from Jurys Hotel: A traditional styled Irish Tea Shop specialising in quality home baking using only the best of local Galway produce. Styled in a 1920's theme throughout, the interior décor reflects a time long gone. Tea and other beverages are only served in fine China with the tables set in the best of linen and lace. Sample one of thirty different types of herbal loose-leaf teas. If the weather is up, combine the tradition of afternoon tea sitting outside watching the world and in this case, Galway City go by.

(28)  Menlough Castle: Easily found after driving past Eamonn Deacy Park home of Galway United Football Club and keeping left all the way until you encounter the exterior entrance, consisting of a small tower at the entrance. The large gate may be closed but most people walk around it. You can also view the castle from the opposite of the River Corrib along the walkway that straddles the university campus. Menlough Castle: Nestled along the banks of the River Corrib, it was originally constructed in 1569 and was the ancestral home of the Blake family until July 1910 when disaster struck and the castle was destroyed by fire. Up until 1910, Menlough Castle was the home of Sir Valentine Blake the 14th Baronet, his wife and their daughter Miss Eleanor Blake. In July of that year, Sir Valentine was in Dublin for a number of days undergoing an operation. On a fateful night in 1910, a fire broke out on the suite of rooms occupied by Miss Blake who could not escape because of her disability and was engulfed in the blazing inferno.

(29) Lynch's Castle: This well-preserved edifice is located on Shop Street in the heart of Galway. Definitely Galway’s best example of a fortified house, built by the prosperous Lynch family in the 16th century. Its exterior is adorned with Spanish decorative motifs and finely carved gargoyles or water spouts that project outwards from the building. The Lynch coat-of-arms is to be found at the front of the building. Today sees a branch of the Allied Irish Bank located on the premises of Lynch’s Castle.

(30) Galway City Cycling Tours: A great way to explore the city with a guided tour heading out to the Famine Memorial in Lower Salthill. Check the website for more details

(31) Galway Bay Boat Tours: Running trips out on the bay in the summer months. Check the website for additional details.

(32) Galway Food Tours: A unique culinary walking tour of Galway operated by Sheena Dignam. People will get the opportunity to try local produce ranging from oysters (Saturday) to cheese; Sushi to Crab and Doughnuts to Strawberry tarts and some local local beers, Check the website for additional details.

(33) Charter Ireland. Running unique trips over to the Aran Islands via private yacht. Worth the splurge for a once in a lifetime experience. https://charterireland.ie/

(34) Galway Walking Tours with Brian Nolan. A great way to spend a few hours walking the streets of Galway and getting fascinating some historical insights. www.galwaywalks.com

(35) Galway on Foot - Walking Tours of Galway City by Sean Leonard. Very well reviewed on Trip Advisor and all the info is on Facebook.

(36) Galway Escape Rooms: I won't even begin to describe this!! Check the website and the excellent Trip Advisor reviews. Www.galwayescaperooms.

(37) Ireland's Smallest Comedy Club: Mainguard Street, Galway. All the details are on the Facebook Page


(1) Dog's Bay Beach near Roundstone: Just to sample the texture of the excessively, almost flour-like sand. Not the usual type you see in most places here in Ireland as it's comprised of countless crushed shells over tens of thousands of years. Overlooked by Errisbeg, Dog's Bay Beach on a fine summer's evening is as good as it gets, it's glorious.

(2) Call it by whatever name or moniker it uses and there are several. “The Bog Road”, “Old Bog Road” or just the plan and simple L1150 Road. This drive or my preferred cycle option cuts through some extraordinarily wild, rugged and uncompromising scenery. This area is sown with wild mountains to one side and countless small lakes and peat bogs circle the area with wild abandon on the other. One of the most noticeable features that make the region so unique is the dearth of natural woodland. An endless exposure to Atlantic storms inhibits natural tree growth. Located off the R341 Road keeping Ballynahinch Castle to the right.

(3) Signposted just off the R341 Road: The Derrigimlagh/Marconi Looped Walk is a pleasant five-kilometre stretch through an area of outstanding natural beauty. Walking this trail is also a step back in time served up through a series of interesting and attractive features along the route, which are designed to engage visitors and encourage them to interact with the history of the location.  The Derrygimlagh bog is a rugged and wild landscape closely linked to two early 20th-century historical events. Pilots John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown crashed-landed in the bog in 1919 after completing the world’s first transatlantic flight. They landed close to a wireless telegraphy station which had been set up 14 years earlier by Italian inventor, Guglielmo Marconi. Today the location of the Marconi wireless station is home to a memorial cairn dedicated to the pair. Overall it's a beautiful area in a wild and rugged sense and nearby Clifden or Roundstone offer the ideal places to relax and unwind

(4) Rosroe Pier: Mweelrea mountain dominates the entire landscape here with Killary Fjord providing a great backdrop too. The pier is small and offers only a few places for the boats to berth. It's a beautiful setting at the mouth of Killary Fjord.

(5) Lough Fee and Lough Muck: Easily found by taking a detour off the much-travelled N59. It's signposted as Tully Cross and the turnoff from the road is about 1 mile from the Killary Adventure Centre. Two glorious freshwater lakes hollowed out through a rugged mountain pass. Lots of places to pull over and enjoy such marvellous scenery. Like all things in Connemara this area too was ravaged by the Great Famine in 1847.

(6) Loch Scainnimh: Located off the R340 Road about 1 mile before you enter Carna, this off the beaten track, hidden gem is definitely worth the time and effort. This location contains one of the best preserved Crannógs in the region. The settlements constructed over water used by the early settlers over 4000-years-ago. The backdrop of the Connemara mountains adds to the picture-postcard setting. Park the car and walk back as far a the large field gate and from there follow the trail to the lakeside. It's striking.

(7) The starting point for this is just before you depart Oughterard over the small bridge that straddles the river. Do not cross the bridge, but turn sharp left, just after the small supermarket. I've only ever cycled this, but it's definitely one of the many hidden treasures in Connemara - the Seanafeisteen Pass. Linking Oughterard all the way over to Costelloe (at the R336 Road in the Connemara Gaeltacht.) It's a 16-mile jaunt through some wondrous scenery – typical Connemara landscape passing through a mosaic of mountains, lakes and bogs. It can and does get narrow in parts and some of those ascents are almost perpendicular. The initial part of this route presents some amazing elevated views of Lough Corrib and beyond.

(8) Take a bracing walk anywhere on the array of breathtaking beaches and wind-swept headlands, before sheltering with a warm drink in one of the region's many cosy pubs. One of Ireland's most iconic destinations, Find out why it's truly wild at heart and discover the awe-inspiring landscapes, flora, fauna, heritage, culture and people.

(9) A walk on Omey Island during low tide – Google Galway Tides Times for low tide information: Park the car at Claddaghduff and walk across the strand following the large signs embedded in the sand. At Omey Island there is just one paved road and follow this in a clockwise direction until you see the sand dunes and Fahy Lake to your right – continue walking towards the sand dunes. The scenery here is just stunning as the uninhabited small islands off the Omey Island shoreline all emerge into view. Next up is the “sunken treasure” - the ruin of Teampaill Feichin, the medieval parish church, (illegally) excavated from the sand in 1981. Constructed from rough stone at this present time there is the general concern that it may not stand the test of time much longer. Continue walking in a clockwise direction heading past the cemetery and finally trekking back towards the mainland at Claddaghduff.

(10) Kylemore Abbey: Located off the N59 Road at Pollacappall Lough. Kylemore Abbey is a beautiful neo-Gothic Castle built by Mitchell Henry in 1868 and is one of the most popular locations to visit throughout Connemara. Nearby is Diamond Hill at the Connemara National Park at Letterfrack: Offers up some incredible views on a fine day. It's a well laid out trail all the way to the summit. Many mistakenly return back down the way they came up. The track continues on down the far side making the descent a whole lot easier.

(11) Sky Road outside Clifden: I always prefer to cycle this but it's equally enjoyable driving too. Several great sights along the way include the D'arcy Monument on the left-hand-side as you leave Clifden. Some unique elevated views of Clifden and the surrounding countryside served up here. Next up is Clifden Demesne (Castle) – left-hand-side again and what a great location to construct a castle all those years ago. Take a detour through the Lower Sky Road getting you closer to the sea. Eyrephort Beach is just off the Sky Road – Not many make it down here but so well worth the effort.

(12) R336 Road. Originates in Galway and travels through a kaleidoscope of scenery as it initially cuts through the Gaeltacht – the Irish speaking area of south Connemara. On a fine day the Cliffs of Moher, Aran Islands all emerge into view usually after passing through An Spidéal (Spiddal). Keep track of the road signs all the way to the N59 at Maam Cross and continue on towards Maam Bridge turning left towards Leenane. There is a great parking spot at Kilmilkin Church displaying some of the finest scenery throughout the area. This Roman Catholic Church is home to some very fine stained glass windows by Evie Hone.

(13) R344 Road – Lough Inagh. There is a photo opportunity at every turn as the Inagh Valley road snakes its way through the lofty heather covered mountains and enchanting lakes. The vista is ever-changing from day to day as the slightest change in the day is reflected in the lakes below and mountains above. There are several off road parking areas to pull over and inhale this picture postcard scenery and if you find a Canon Lens cap down by the lake do let me know – it's mine. lol

(14) R341 Road: Perhaps my personal favourite. There is a great elevated location with a parking area to view Ballynahinch Lake and the backdrop of the mountains. It's on the left-hand-side just before reaching Ballynahinch Castle. There are also fabulous walking trails located here at Ballynahinch Castle. The Railway Loop, opened in 2011, follows the path of the now dismantled Galway to Clifden railway line. Further along the R341 is Inis Ní, one of the most northerly outposts of the south Connemara Gaeltacht (Irish speaking region). There is a trail through the island route past the ruined chapel of St Mathias and well worth the effort in order to build up an appetite before you hit nearby Roundstone. Dog's Bay beach is definitely one of the finest beaches in Connemara and it's located off the R341 after departing Roundstone.

(15) Inishbofin: Take the 11.30 ferry from Cleggan and explore this beautiful island. It is estimated that Inishbofin was inhabited as far back as 4000 B.C. The first documented history of the island dates from early Christian times. As you sail around the tower and signal light into the harbour you will notice Oliver Cromwell’s 16th Century Barracks. It was used as a prison for Catholic priests from all over the country after the English Statute of 1585 declared them guilty of high treason. Inishbofin is also home to some fabulous walks throughout the island particularity in the Western Quarter. See if you can charter a boat to visit the now deserted neighbouring island of Inishshark. There's a small monument at the rear of the island dedicated to the three North American students who drowned off the island in 1976. Don't forget to take the 5.00 pm ferry back to Cleggan

(16) Killary Fjord Cruise: Children under 10 go free on this great summertime 90-minute excursion up Killary Fjord with majestic views of Mweelrea mountain and the deserted Foher Famine village. Runs from April to October. Departure point is about 3 miles outside Leenane off the N59 – right-hand-side heading towards Letterfrack.

(17) One Hour Boat Trip on Letterfrack Bay: Another great Connemara summertime activity

(18) In south Connemara, one man's private collection has been on display since 2009. Local historian John Bhaba Jeaic Ó Confhaola has collected an array of artefacts and photographs in a well presented and detailed historical collection. Along with an equally fine collection of tools and instruments used by past generations. Although it's a small exhibition there is enough to illustrate an insightful view of this unique region. Located in the Gaeltacht heartland of south Connemara. Lettermullen & Garumna Heritage Centre (Ionad Oidhreachta Leitir Mealláin & Gharumna) on

Lettermullen Island. Admission is free, but a small donation is welcome.

(19) Máméan Pilgrim's Path: Part of the Western Way hiking trail through Connemara. This site is located in a spectacular setting in the shadow of the Mamturk mountains.

Ideally, you can start at Keane's Pub (where you can park opposite the bar) in Maam Bridge just over the bridge where the trail commences. There is a large display board at the football pitch which is the actual starting point up this single lane road. From here you can just follow the signposts all the way to the site. Or as some people prefer to drive all the way to the parking spot right at the point where the road ends. And from here it's the gravel/sand compacted path that leads all the way to the site. As it's part of a long linear trail the best option is to double back to your original departure point near Keane's Bar or you can continue on to the Lough Inagh exit point but in this case, you would need someone waiting there to pick you up to return you to your original departure point. Or if you are super-fit then just turn back all the way and enjoy this wondrous scenery again

(20) Just off the N59 outside Clifden (and well signposted) lies the Dan O' Hara Heritage Centre. The display is centred around the pre-famine cottage of Connemara native Dan O Hara, who like many thousands like him were forcibly evicted from their homes.

(21) Patrick Pearse's cottage located off the R340 Road near Rosmuc - A small restored cottage overlooking the ubiquitous scenic lakes and mountains of Connemara, used by Patrick Pearse (1879-1916) a central figure of the 1916 Rising - as a summer residence and summer school for his pupils from St Enda's in Dublin. An important historical site in Connemara.

(22) Bunowen Castle: Located on the left-hand-side as you are heading in the general direction of the Ballyconneely golf course (and the Connemara Smokehouse). It is located on private property but you can get some great views from the road if you park at the disused seaweed factory on the right-hand-side of the road. It's an imposing and somewhat haunting sight and one wonders why this structure was chosen in such a windswept, evocative and daunting location at the foot of Doon Hill

(23) Trá an Dóilín (Coral Strand) outside An Cheathrú Rua (Carraroe). Trá an Dóilín is located in an area of outstanding natural beauty. It is well known for its clear waters and is a popular beach for swimming and snorkelling or just a walk along this unique shoreline.

(24) R345 Road “Joyce Country” – another great Connemara drive all the way to Clonbur. The remains of Castle Kirk are located on a small island after you leave Maam Bridge – one of the earliest castles constructed in Connemara and what a setting for a castle. Just past Cornamona there is wonderful seating and parking area down by the water. On a fine summer's day it's glorious.

(25) Doolough Valley: A stunning drive through a very beautiful but evocative and tragic location. From Leenane take the N59 heading towards Westport. It's then a left-hand-turn on to the R335 Road that encompasses some of the finest scenery in the region – if not the entire country. If time permits spend some time at the Famine Memorial and take the time to reflect on the events that occurred here in 1845-49 where many died during the Great Famine. A cross and an annual Famine Walk between Louisburgh and Doolough commemorate the tragic period of the Famine. The monument in Doolough valley also has an inscription from Mahatma Gandhi: How can men feel honoured by the humiliation of their fellow beings?”

(26) On the N59 road heading towards Leenane watch out for the signposts indicating the Killary Sheep farm. Turn left here and look for a place to park. From here walk all the way back past the sheep farm, to the small waterfall until you come to a few deserted stone cabins. Although well off the beaten track and set in a stunning location, north Connemara offers one of the last remaining original Famine Villages in Ireland. Including the original potato ridges at the rear of the few remaining cabins. Note that many lived in the conventional mud huts at the time. And perhaps the most poignant reminder of this tragic period in Irish history, that of the "famine road" snaking its way up and over the mountainside. At the time local men and women worked on such schemes in return for meagre rations and a small allowance from the authorities to stave off hunger and death. The path like others was an entirely useless creation but Victorian high-mindedness decreed that the Irish shouldn't be paid an allowance simply out of charity, in other words, nothing for nothing.  So just where did the many inhabitants of Foher go? Many died and remain buried in unmarked graves, countless more emigrated to the United States and beyond.

(27) Sheffrey Pass: L1824 Road – If you have the time take a slight detour off the R335 and turn right heading into the midst of the Sheeffry Hills. Drive and absorb some wondrous scenery and look out for the seating area above Tawnyard Lough. This might be one of the most idyllic and sedate locations throughout Connemara and the good news is the tour buses generally avoid this area as the road gets too narrow. Nearby too you have the Tawnyard Lough Forest Trail. This area is steeped in history as countless perished here during the Great Famine of the 1840s.

(28) Feenish Island is a true off-the-beaten-track hidden gem in south Connemara. This treasure trove of local history can be accessed at low tide by approaching the left side of the island and strolling across the soft sand. There are several beaches sprinkled around the island but perhaps the best is situated at the southern shore – it's nothing short of idyllic on a fine summer's day. Feenish Island is a noted low-lying island of small meadows and countless wild flowers sprouting throughout the landscape. The south and west of the island serve up a fascinating glimpse into a time gone by, where a number of the original stone homesteads remain standing. Long abandoned and desolate, most are now slowly filling with sand which blows in on the westerly winds and is trapped within the crumbling stone walls. It is a harsh and unforgiving landscape where survival, as opposed to living, was the order of the day. Such harsh living juxtaposes with some of the finest scenery on show in south Connemara. For tidal information – Google “Galway Tides”. Located off the R340 Road before entering Carna.

(29) L1301 Road: A short detour off the R336 heading towards Leenane, but the rewards are just wondrous. You'll encounter a charming single-arched bridge straddling the small stream below. It's a picture-postcard setting and after seeing this continue on until you reach the elevated view of Lough Nafooey. Easily some of the finest scenery in the entire country. Watch out on the left-hand-side for the Shanafaraghaun Burial Ground – this I believe is a small cemetery used to inter deceased children many years ago. It's a beautiful setting and one of the most tranquil places I have ever encountered in Connemara. You can continue on until you come to the old schoolhouse, long abandoned and from there, to the south shore of Lough Mask.



Aran Islands:

(1) Inis Mór: The largest and the busiest of the three islands, more so between the months of June, July and August, although in recent years this is now starting to stretch into September. The majority of visitors are mostly day-trippers from Galway via the departure point at Rossaveel (Ros an Mhíl or Ros a' Mhíl), where the ferry operates several daily crossings per day. There is a large parking area near the pier and for those not driving, there is a shuttle bus from Galway. Others choose the short flight option over from Indreabhán (Inverin) with Aer Arann, this is a short but scenic flight over and offers up some astounding scenery from the air.

Aer Arann fly to all three islands throughout the year. The airport is located in the south of the island and for 5 euro you will be able to hop on a mini bus or taxi back to Kilronan. Any of the Aran Islands deserve an overnight stay and there is a multitude of accommodation options available on Inis Mór.

Dún Aonghasa (Dun Aengus) is the most visited historical site on the island. It's an imposing edifice perched at the edge of a cliff. Archaeologists believe it to be originally inhabited around 1500 BC. Hire a bike in Kilronan and cycle back or avail of the many locals offering transport to this and several of the sites and sights on the island. 15 euro is the current rate. Some notables I would suggest are Cill Mhuirbhigh (Kilmurvey Beach and the craft centre), Poll na Bpeist (Worm Hole), The Black Fort and Na Seacht dTeampaill (the Seven Churches) and Clochan na Carraige, Teampall Bheanain (St. Benan's Chapel) and Teaghlach Einne (The household of Enda), The Seal Colony.

In terms of history, Inis Mór is literally one outdoor museum, the island has over 25 national monuments dotted across the landscape. An island enthroned with an array of ancient churches, beehive huts, Celtic crosses, standing stones and burial sites of saints. If you are looking for a more customised or specialised tour perhaps contact Dara Molloy via his website. Daramolloy.com and click on the tour guide section.

(2) Inis Meáin: Definitely the quietest and my personal favourite due to the great walks and hikes around the island. Many locals will tell you that it's the somewhat distant location of the pier and airport that compounds the island's dearth of visitors – is this such a bad thing? It is a trek back to the centre of the island and the main hub of activity, but if staying overnight, the accommodation hosts will dispatch someone to collect you at the pier or airport. Such solitude is no bad thing for those of you looking for that ideal getaway.

Inis Meáin is host to a maze of threadlike winding roads, sheltered paths and trails that haphazardly criss-cross the island, from the rocky hillsides of the south including the visual feast on display at Synge's Chair. Not to be confused with Teach Synge, the restored island cottage of writer John Millington Synge for whom the island was a favourite retreat. Further back on North shore there is a wonderful sense of tranquillity, sedateness and certainly a place where time loses its importance. Inis Meáin is littered with some great historical sites and contains one of the best-preserved 10th century early Christian oratories - Cill Cheannannach,  near the rear of the island. The stone forts, Dún Fearbhaí (Ferboy’s Fort) and Dún Crocbhur (Conor’s Fort) are a true marvel and a joy to explore and the elevated views of the island from these forts is striking. Both forts were so well constructed over 1500-years-ago and continue to stand defiantly on the main rise on the island if only those walls could talk!

(3) Inis Oírr: The smallest and more intimate of the three islands that in recent years has also seen a large influx of visitors. It is a truly wonderful island to explore on foot as all the main sites and sights are easily accessible. Although several of the locals offer scenic trips around the island usually from May to October. Some notables on the inland include the M. V. Plassey shipwreck which ran aground in 1960 and lies forlornly along the shoreline. Further on is the lighthouse and from there, there are some great views looking over towards the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare. O'Brien's Castle dominates the island from its hilltop perch and is well worth the short walk up to sample the elevated scenery. Teampall Chaomháin is definitely one of the most interesting sites on the island having to be cleared annually of the beach sand that sweeps in throughout the year. Bike rental is available too or you can hire a traditional pony and trap or the more conventional horse and cart near the pier – don't be afraid to negotiate a price. Or allow yourself to be picked up as you walk along the winding paths heading back towards the lighthouse. The Islanders who operate these have a wealth of information about the island and quite a lot you will not read in any guide book.

Fáilte go dtí Oileáin Árann

Ventura, California
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4. Re: What to do in Galway

Another great post by Damien!

Los Angeles...
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5. Re: What to do in Galway

Awesome post !! Many thanks from a soon to be Galway vistor :)

Coleraine, United...
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6. Re: What to do in Galway

Wow Damien. Thank-you so much for taking the time to give such a detailed answer. much appreciated!

Vancouver Island...
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7. Re: What to do in Galway

Anything I add is insignificant following Damien, however, I have exchanged emails with a delightful gentleman, Joe Joyce of Joyce Country Sheep Dogs, on the shores of Lough Nafooey. I’ve not been, but am told it is a beautiful drive an hour or so NW of Galway.

They have sheepdog demonstrations at 11am, 1 & 3:30pm.



Edited: 29 April 2018, 17:59
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8. Re: What to do in Galway

Incredible and Informative post...Leaving in 3 weeks and this was so helpful! Thank You from New York!


Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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9. Re: What to do in Galway

Thanks as well for the post. We go in June and this gives us some great ideas as we are staying in Clifden and Galway.

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10. Re: What to do in Galway

Wow, outstanding advice! Not sure our proposed 5 or 6 day trip is going to even begin to look at that lot!!

Thank you

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