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So why should you visit Ireland? Tourists regularly describe Ireland as “feeling like home”, “peaceful and calm” with millions of tourists flocking to the Emerald Isle each year. In 2019, 11.3 million visited and the number has been rising steadily for years. It seems Ireland is the place to be, for the scenery, atmosphere and quality of life. In fact, in 2020, Ireland was voted second best for Quality of Life by the United Nations

Whether it’s for living or visiting, Ireland is hugely popular. With some tourists returning time after time again after being captivated by the countries charm and beauty. Why exactly do tourists like Ireland? Let’s discuss exactly why you should visit Ireland, and why it is so special.

Why You Should Visit Ireland – Best things about Ireland

1. Ireland offers Greenery Scenery like nowhere else

why you should visit ireland, best things to do in connemara, lake galway ireland

We couldn’t go any further without mentioning the rich green scenery that most tourists fall in love with. When people visit Ireland, some stick to the cities, but most get out to explore the rolling hills, steep sea cliffs, and of course, the endless number of sheep dotted around the countryside – and this is what you will remember most.

One thing is for sure, the Emerald Isle will leave you Green with Envy!

Ireland has such beautiful simple landscapes, which will undoubtedly fill you with a sense of calm and peace.

Some of the main scenic attractions include:

For some scenic drives check out:

2.  Ireland has World Famous Beaches – Reasons to visit Ireland

fanad head lighthouse, fanad peinsula, donegl, ireland, things to do in donegal, scenery, scenic, beach, gold sandy beach, irish beach, ballymastocker bay

Ireland is known for its stunning sandy beaches, particularly along the west coast. Among those are many awards such as:

  • Keem Bay in Co Mayo has been voted 11th in the “Big 7 Travels” best beaches in the world 2021.
  • Ballymastocker Beach in Donegal was once voted the 2nd Most Beautiful Beach in the world by the British Observer.

You can be sure that Ireland’s beaches are clean and welcoming. To top it off, in 2021 Ireland was awarded 82 Blue Flag Beaches. This is based on criteria such as water quality and environmental management.

On the west coast, it is not unusual to spot seals and even basking sharks and whales off the coast. In fact, the waters below the Cliffs of Moher are busy spots for marine life. The newest member to the Irish waters is “Wally the Walrus” who can be seen sinking small boats and basking in the sunshine!

Some of my all-time favourite beaches include:

Gurteen Bay and Dogs Bay in Galway, Malin Beg and Culdaff  in Donegal,

check out the Best Beaches in Galway!

3. Rich History which can be seen from Ruins across the Country

clifden castle, clifden, galway, ireland, ruins, ivy

Ireland has an interesting history that spans back thousands of years. This is a huge draw for people from the US and other places that don’t have such a lengthy history.

While you can learn all about it through the numerous museums, the best way to see Ireland’s history is by visiting the ruins which are peppered across the entire country. In fact, Ireland has over 1400 ruins.

Most of these are castles and abbeys, from Irelands medieval times. Although some stretch right back to neolithic times, with portal dolmens and passage tombs still standing today. And they still have an air of magic around them. They are well worth visiting.

Some of my favourite ruins are:

4. Ireland is safe – Why You Should Visit Ireland

Doolin, cottage, wild atlantic way, clare , ireland

Not only is Ireland incredibly welcoming, it’s also a very safe place to visit. In fact, it has been awarded the 6th safest place in Europe for studying abroad and was listed in the top 15 safest countries in the world by the Global Peace Index 2020. We all love a good statistic!

When compared with the rest of Europe and crime is much lower. While Europe is overall, the world’s “safest” destination.

As well as crime being much lower, the country is perfectly positioned so that there are no natural disaster threats, apart from some seasonal flooding. This isn’t too severe though, we’re all used to buckets of rain here!

As a woman, I am glad to say that Ireland is overall, very safe for the female solo travel. For my solo travel girls, be sure to check out:  Galway for solo female travel

5. Ireland is English-speaking (mostly!) – What is so special about Ireland?

killarney, kerry, dingle, ocean

English is the most spoken language in the world, and bar the odd gaeilgeoir (Irish speaking person), we all speak English!

For many, visiting English-speaking countries is a huge benefit as it makes everything a lot more straightforward and navigating the beautiful country is much easier. Overall, it’s

  • easier to order food/drinks
  • get help in an emergency
  • speak to locals
  • ask for directions

That being said, all road signs and place signs do have Irish noted above the English translation, in case you want to pick up a few words of Gaeilge on your trip!

6. Ireland has the World’s Oldest Pub! Why Tourists Love Ireland

While many places make this claim, it has been decided! The oldest pub in the world is “Sean’s Bar” in Athlone dating back to 800 AD. The pub has been pulling pints for a mind-blowing 1,100 years and is visited by locals and tourists alike.

7. Ireland is a Small Country – You can see a lot on your visitireland size comparison

Ireland is pretty small. The longest distance in the country is from Malin head to Mizen’s head. These are the furthest points north and south and are just an 8-hour drive apart. Conversely, Galway (the city in the west) to Dublin (on the east coast) is just 2 and a half hours drive on the motorway.

This makes a trip here pretty easy to navigate. You can see all the main attractions in a short visit, and a whole lot in between!

8. The Irish are friendly people and always up for the Craic

killarney, kerry, dingle, oceanIt may be a stereotype, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. The Irish are some of the friendliest people on the planet and are always up for the craic. However, while the Irish will do pretty much anything for a laugh, we do so in a polite manner!

Yes, the Irish like to have a good time while still respecting others around them which seems to be one of the reasons the Irish are loved around the world. So why not get speaking to a local in a pub? I can assure you, any elderly man sitting at the bar in the pub will be more than happy to tell you some stories about Ireland!

9. Warm Comforting Food – What attracts tourists to Ireland

What you will experience in bitter winds and sheets of rainfall, we well make up for with warm comforting food. Ireland is known for hearty, filling meals and producing alcohol. Ireland produces world-famous beef, brews delicious beers and distills spirits that are sold around the globe. Yep, if you love alcohol, you’re in for a real treat!

The most famous is of course, Guinness. Learn about the history of the black stuff and pull your own pint at the Guinness Storehouse, one of the most popular attractions in the city.

The top Irish meals include warm hearty Beef and Guinness Stew, flavourful Seafood Chowder. of course, be sure to try out a full Irish Breakfast along with some Irish soda bread.

Don’t forget the Irish delicacy – the Tayto Sandwich.

There are so many food tours, festivals and to make the most of the Irish Food culture on your visit.

 

So that’s it, my “Why you should visit Ireland” shpeal over. The truth is, people love visiting Ireland. The country will take a place in your heart and give you memories for a lifetime. What more can you ask for than that!

Tinyboots

These posts might help:

Stay tuned as I’ll be doing “5 interesting facts about Ireland” soon!

 

Top 5 Places in Ireland you NEED to visit | Ireland Must See Places

Visiting the Cliffs of Moher Honest Guide | Do you have to pay to see the Cliffs of Moher?

25 of the Best Things to do in Connemara | Things to do in Galway Ireland

Travel Ireland on the Cheap | How to visit Ireland on a Budget in 2021

The Best Cliffs in Ireland | 8 of Ireland’s Most Beautiful Cliffs

Experience the culture of Ireland | The Real Ireland

Why do people love Ireland:

  1. The Scenery
  2. World-famous Beaches
  3. Rich History and Beautiful Ruins
  4. Ireland is Safe
  5. Ireland is English-speaking
  6. The Worlds Oldest Pub
  7. It’s Small
  8. Friendly Locals,
  9. Delicious comforting food and drink

Why is Ireland so good?
What makes Ireland Great?

Galway is known for a lot of things and beaches are one of them! Being part of the Wild Atlantic Way, Galway has some outstanding beaches to offer, and with many of them located in the Connemara region, a lot of them are quiet and less visited than other beaches in Ireland. Gold sands and clear blue water? Yes please. Let’s go through “The Best Beaches in Galway“.

The Best Beaches in Galway – Beaches in Galway

 

The Best Beaches near Galway City

Salthill Beach – Just outside Galway City

Salthill beach stretches a whopping 1 km. Although, it is technically multiple beaches in a row, divided by stone outcrops. Some are sandy, some pebbly but all are beautiful. It is absolutely the most famous beach in Galway with anywhere around 2500 people visiting the beach each day in Summer! It’s within walking distance from Galway city and is famous for the Blackrock diving board.

Parking? Yes, free car park and ample parking along the street
Dogs allowed? No dogs between 9 am – 8 pm  May- the end of September
Blue flag beach? Yes
Toilets? Yes with charge

Silverstrand Beach near Galway City

This beach is great for families as it is a more shallow sandy beach. Although get there early, because the car park isn’t very big. It is just 2 km from Salthill and has large cliffs to the side. The beach faces Galway Bay and transitions from sand to pebbles. Make sure to get there at low tide, otherwise, there is no beach to see.

Parking? Small Carpark fitting less than 100 cars
Dogs allowed? No dogs between 9 am – 8 pm  May- the end of September
Toilets?
Yes 
Blue Flag Beach? Yes

Beaches in Connemara Galway – Beautiful Beaches in Galway Ireland

Furbo Beach – Furbogh – Tra na Bhforbacha

Located alongside the road between Barna and Spiddeal is this beautiful horseshoe-shaped beach. There is a 250 m long stretch of sand to enjoy.

Parking? Yes, car park alongside the road
Dogs? Yes once on a lead
Toilets? No – but there is a pub/restaurant with toilets beside the beach

 

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Spiddal Beach – Beach near Galway

Spiddal beach is alongside the main road into Spiddal. It is 200m long and has a promenade running alongside, which goes just shy of  1km along the coast and on to another beach – Cebh an Spideil. It is a lovely route passing the harbor and ending beside the large pier.

I love coming to Spiddal Beach for a morning dip as it’s much quieter than Salthill and silver strand.

Parking? Parking alongside the main road
Dogs allowed? Not sure of the times dogs are allowed but on a lead
Toilets? No

 

An Trá Mór – Best Beaches in Galway

An Trá Mór , which translates as “Big Beach” is just outside Spiddal near Inverin Village. It is a long beach which at low tide, seems to extend miles towards the horizon. While at high tide, there is no beach at all. It is great as it’s a lot quieter than city beaches.

Important to note: at low tide, you can’t swim as it’s much too rocky.

Parking? Yes, a large car park
Dogs allowed? Yes, on a lead / under control
Toilets? Yes
Blue Flag Beach? Yes

Renvyle – White Strand Beach

Renvyle Beach is also known as An Trá Bán (white strand beach). It’s yet another beautiful beach in Galway along the Wild Atlantic Way, which gives incredible views of Achill, as well as Mweelrea and Croagh Patrick mountains.

Parking? Yes, a small car park
Dogs Allowed? No info – presumably on a lead/under control
Toilets? No

Gurteen Bay and Dogs Bay – Goirtin/Port Na Fadoige


Dogs Bay & Gurteen Bay are some of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland. While they are absolutely stunning in their own right, they are unique in that they like back to back. Both horseshoe-shaped beaches are divided by a thin stretch and sand dunes.

Both Dogs Bay and Gurteen Bay are very sheltered. I’ve never experienced a beach so calm as Gurteen bay, with water so blue. Both are brilliant for swimming and are just a few minutes drive from Roundstone fishing village. Also unlike normal traditional “limestone” beaches, here the sands are made of foraminifera shells eroded over time to produce fine white sand.

Parking: yes both have parking – Dogs Bay car park is very small
Dogs? Yes under control
Toilets? There is a sign for toilets in the Gurteen Bay car park, not sure where they are, perhaps the Gurteen Bay Caravan Park

Glausilaun Beach

 

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Another white andy beach with stunning mountain views. I have wanted to visit this beach for so long but it is clear from the images that this is one of the most beautiful beaches in Galway. Surprisingly it is not a Wild Atlantic Way point and does not seem to have any facilities except a small car park

Parking? Yes small car park
Dogs? Yes
Toilets?

Moyrus – Tra Mhairois

Without wanting to repeat myself this is another beautiful  white sandy beach, 80 km outside of Galway city

Parking? Yes big car park
Dogs? Yes
Toilets? No

Lettergesh Beach – Beaches in Connemara

 

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I am across Lettergesh Beach accidentally and was surprised by just how great this spot is. Quiet and clean, it is a real hidden Gem deep in Connemara.  When the tide is out, there is lots of space to walk and sunbathe, and you can walk along the sand to other beaches. The water is also shallow quite far out into the ocean so it is good for swimming and families. You will enjoy views of the Connemara Islands as well as the Mayo coastline in the distance.

How many beaches are there in Galway?

There are 4 beaches in Galway City –

  • Salthill
  • Sliverstrand
  • Ballyloughane
  • Grattan

There are countless beaches outside of the city though. While I have named a lot of them here, it certainly isn’t all of them.

What is a Blue Flag Beach?

In order to receive the Blue Flag Beach award, a series of environmental, educational, safety-related and access-related criteria must be met and maintained. To have been honored this award would suggest that the beach is easily accessible, has facilities and good water quality as well as encouraging the public to take steps to reduce their impact on the environment.  This is a worldwide program.

Best Beaches in Galway  – Beaches near Galway City and in Galway County

So there you have it, if you ask me, those are the best beaches in Galway. I hope you get to visit some of these beauties, and if you do, be sure to leave a comment and let me know how you get on, share a picture if you like 🙂

Any questions, let me know below!

comment below

Tinyboots 

 

Galway’s Best Beaches:

  1. Salthill Beach
  2. Silverstrand Beach
  3. Furbo Beach
  4. Spiddal Beach
  5. An Trá Mór
  6. Renvyle Beach
  7. Gurteen Bay and Dogs Bay
  8. Glausilaun Beach
  9. Moyrus Beach
  10. Lettergesh Beach

25 of the Best Things to do in Connemara | Things to do in Galway Ireland

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Monivea woods is a woodland right near the centre of Monivea village in Galway. There are various paths and trails to choose from making it a great place for a wander under tree cover. The trees also give great protection from the rain which is always handy when it comes to Irish weather!

Monivea Woods Map

Monivea Woods Walk – Trails in Monivea Woods – Monivea Woods Galway

You can make your way around the woods relatively quickly. In fact, in less than an hour without stopping.

There are many trails, but two main looped paths. One is 1.5km, the other is 1.3 km.

History of Monivea Woods

The land originally belonged to the O’Kelly Clan of Galway. They had a castle on the grounds which became Monivea House.

Robert Ffrench acquired the land in the 17th Century as part of his estate. He made big upgrades to the area and worked hard to improve the land itself. He also built up Monivea village.

Catherine Ffrench left the estate to the public on her death in 1938. She did not have much choice – as she didn’t produce an heir, it was law that when a homeowner died, the land would be given to locals – to break the English Feudal System. She left one condition –  that the woods be left as they are.

Or in her words

“on the condition that no parcel of these remains of my former estate shall ever be sold or the trees ever be cut down unless they fall to pieces”.

Sadly, her wishes were not honored. After her death, the land was broken up. First, it was reduced from 10,000 acres to just 1000. And then the majority of the woods were cut down today. The Monivea woods we see today is an incredibly small portion of what would have been. It makes me sad to think of her final wish for the land.

Members of the Ffrench family had some influence over the house house until the line died out. It is now managed by Coillte. You can see remains of the past in some parts of the woods. Specifically by the mausoleum and ice house.

Monivea Mausoleum

This gothic-style mausoleum holds the remains of Robert French and his daughter Catherine.

It is a building made of Wicklow granite, with beautiful stained glass windows.

While the building is locked, you can request a key in the village for a look inside. I’d love to see it. It contains a marble chapel and a full-size sculpture of Robert French.

How to find the Mausoleum in Monivea

When you enter the woods from the Rugby Pitch grounds, you are on a big dirt track. Follow this until you come to a crossroads at a road through the woods. Take a right and you can follow this road right to the mausoleum.

Monivea Ice House

The Icehouse can still be seen in the woods. This is where ice was stored and used to keep perishable food cold. It was essentially a fridge before electricity was invented.

Monivea Castle – Monivea House Galway

The house still stands today but is not within the woods themselves. It is just past the outskirts of the forest.

Cherry Laurel in Monivea

I actually came to know the woods through carrying out my thesis research there. We are all familiar with Cherry Laurel as most people have it around their gardens. What many people don’t know is that this plant is a non-native invasive species. Meaning, if left unchecked, it will spread and take over the land. This has been happening in Monivea Woods.

The original laurel hedge surrounded the Mauseluim and potentially other buildings of the Ffrench family. This has now begun to spread through the woods. This blocks the light and prevents other plants from growing in the area. This is probably boring to most but I find it quite interesting!

Final thoughts on the Woods in Monivea

This is a lovely walk if you have young children or dogs. It is short and is great with the Irish weather as the majority of the paths are under tree cover. It’s also interesting to learn the history and see the remains of the amenities in the woods.

Tinyboots 

 

For other Castles and ruins in Galway:

Visiting Menlo Castle | How to Get to Menlo Castle?

Clifden Castle | Beautiful Castle ruins in Clifden Galway | Hidden Gem

 

 

Galway Lockdown

 

I’m seeing the same question asked all over. In Facebook groups, forums and Instagram:

What is open in Galway? Well like everywhere else, the pandemic is still having effects on Galway City. With county travel permitted but unessential retail still closed the truth is, not much is open.

It was very eery walking through the streets on the Bank Holiday weekend. Which would normally see crowd of people milling through the streets. Looking forward to the end of Galway lockdown – for counties to open up and see people enjoying the city again.

Tinyboots

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