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What will solo travel do for you? You may blossom, grow comfortable in your own skin, have your confidence soar and really open up your eyes to the world. Or you might become more independent and say goodbye to comfort zones. But when it comes to solo female travel, us girls can sometimes have to be a bit more careful of the destinations we choose. While it’s nice to believe us women can travel where ever we like without feeling wary, it may not always be the case. That being said, I am fully confident in saying that Galway is a great place for solo female travellers, and that Galway is probably the best place in Ireland for women traveling alone. Why? I thought you’d never ask! Here are 9 reasons why Galway is great for female solo travel in Ireland.

Great Atmosphere for a solo female traveller to Ireland

I have visited places where I have felt a tense or unfriendly atmosphere, even in a group. But thankfully there is no chance of feeling negative vibes in Galway. Galway is such an inviting and happy city, perfect for making you feel safe when traveling alone as a woman. I know you’ll feel comfortable and right at home in Galway.

Friendly Locals – why Galway is perfect for Solo Female Travel

Not only is Galway city welcoming, but so are the people. Generally, people in Galway are smiley, happy and friendly people. Plus, always up for the craic! One thing that makes or breaks a city for me is how the other people there make me feel. A manic city where people rush around disconnected and stressed is a huge NO from me. But in Galway, the locals, shop keepers and bar men will always be happy to chat and give you any recommendations or advice.

Instagrammable streets in Galway, cobbled street, colourful shopfront, wooden heart, female solo travel ireland, solo travel ireland

There are lots of tourists – Female solo travel Ireland

With the high number of friendly tourists too, you will end up making lot of friends to explore and enjoy the city with. You can meet people in your hotel/hostel, or at least I guarantee you will get chatting to some girls in the pub and nightclub toilets! I still wonder how all my huns from the women’s toilets are doing!

I once met a guy from London on a night out with two Americans. They had all met in their hostel and decided to stick together while touring Galway.

If I’m honest, I live in Galway and not a night out or day drinking session goes by without getting chatting to locals or tourists.

Once while day drinking outside the ever-so-popular “Tigh Neachtains”, an Italian guy who had just arrived in Galway asked could he sit with me and my friend, as he was alone. He told us all about where he was from and we were able to recommend him places to visit in Galway. It’s always nice to get talking to other people.

Great pubs for meeting other tourists in Galway:

  • Tigh Neachtains – Cross Street
  • Taffes – Shop Street
  • O’Connells – Eyre Square
  • Tig Coili – The Latin Quarter

Rebecca @Ineffable.rbkh visited Galway alone so I’m sure you’d like to hear what she had to say. I mean, I live in Galway so I can understand you may not trust my biased opinion, so who better to share their experience than a lone female traveller:

“I was always wary of being in cities since I usually stick to more nature attractions. But I had to visit Galway. It was a long time ago… but I believe I tried to avoid dark or dimly lit alleyways but for the most part (a very large one at that) I definitely felt safe… Eyre Square was alive and bustling and I remember just wandering through to people watch and take photos. I remember seeing street performers on one of the main streets. I remember slipping through smaller streets and visiting old bookstores like Charlie Byrnes Bookshop…Even though as a solo female traveller, precautions were necessary, I definitely didn’t feel anxious or worried for myself no matter where I was. ” 

Galway city is small – perfect for solo female travel in Ireland

Galway city is really small and compact. So small you would wonder how it’s classed as a city at all. But I think this is one of the factors that makes it really great for solo female travel. There is nothing more daunting for me than to land in a new place, especially a big city, and having to try and navigate my way around alone.

Luckily, everywhere within Galway city centre is within walkable distance. Even the nearby village of Salthill and the outer areas are within walking distance.

You won’t need to worry about trying to work out bus routes or finding taxis or getting lost on confusing public transport. You can get there on foot and stop and ask someone for directions if you are stuck.

Distance from the City Centre:

  • Shop Street to Salthill: 21 min walk(1.7 km)
  • Shop Street to Nuig: 15 min walk (1.2 km)
  • Shop Street to Newcastle: 32 min walk (2.5 km)
  • Shop Street to Menlo Castle: 40 min walk (3.3 km)

Public Transport is easy if you need it – Traveling to Ireland alone

For those of you who don’t like walking or maybe have mobility issues, or want to explore a bit further, there is great public transport within the city.

Bus stations in Galway City:

There are regular buses from Eyre Square going all over town and you can buy your ticket when getting on the bus. Because of the cities size, the bus routes are small and not complicated. There is also a taxi rank across from the bus stop and even the popular “Tourist Train” route through town.

It is so easy to get to Galway from the airports and other cities. With the train, bus stations and bus stops and taxis all located in one hub.

To find a great synopsis of the Galway City Services and the Regional Routes, visit THIS LINK where you can click on the correct option for further information.

Train Station in Galway City:

The Irish rail station is also right beside the square, with links to the nearby towns of Oranmore and Athenry. One route goes to Athlone in the midlands and on to Dublin. While a further route goes to Limerick.

You can view these routes in more detail HERE.

Before you arrive, be sure to check out the routes and times online so that if you do need to use public transport, you are well informed before visiting. Also, there are so many tour companies but we’ll talk more about that soon!

Kerri (@Kerristable) visited Galway solo after friends and family members let her down. She decided feck it, and went alone. Kerri, I could learn a lot from you! Here’s some of her feedback:

“My first day in Galway, as I was traveling the cobblestone street after dinner, I came upon street performers. Within minutes, a group of women had ascertained that I was alone, introduced themselves and promptly bought me a drink. They all connected with me on social media and urged me to reach out if I needed anything at all. When they left, I wasn’t ready to go so I wandered further into the bar.

While waiting to order a drink, another woman introduced herself and her friend and bought us all around. They also exchanged information with me. The rest of my trip was exactly like that…

I never felt alone. Instead, I made connections with people very like me and very different. It was nothing but magic!”

So many fun day tours- perfect for making friends while solo traveling Ireland

Galway is a perfect base to go on so many different day tours. Offering great opportunities to see the beautiful unique countryside and coastlines of the west of Ireland. But also, will allow you to make friends along the way.

The majority of those doing tours will also be tourists and will likely be open to making friends on their travels. (people are so much more open to meeting people on vacation why is that?!). All you need to do is ask a simple question like “where are you from” to get the conversation going.

One of the most popular tours that departs from Galway is: Clare – The Burren – Cliffs of Moher

Tours within Galway City on foot:

IG Tours Galway – This tour will bring you around some of the most Instagrammable Places in Galway City. You will learn how to take great pictures to make your Instagram feed stand out. And whether you’re in a group or traveling solo, everyone is welcome!

Tour Companies :

  • Corrib Cruises take you along the Lough Corrib. This leaves from Connemara.
  • The Corrib Princess is similar to the above only this departs from Galway City
  • Faherty Tours offers multiple different tours through Connemara, the Aran Islands and the Cliffs of Moher.

Galway is English Speaking making it great for solo travel

A language barrier is the last thing you need when traveling alone as a woman. That barrier can easily make a girl feel vulnerable alone and unable to seek help if you need it. No one has time to play charades in an emergency!

Well, that’s another reason why Galway Ireland is a perfect place for the lone female traveller. We all speak English. Sure you might come across the odd Gaeilgeoir (Irish-speaking person) but English is spoken everywhere. It will be difficult to find someone who can’t speak English making you feel comfortable from the get-go.

Galway is a busy city – female solo travel Ireland

Galway city centre is bloody busy. The roads in particular but so are the main city streets. With a population of almost 80,000 people and a whopping 1.7 million tourists passing through the narrow streets each year, the city is always buzzing with excitement.

Having so many people milling around can be a comfort to any female solo traveller and help you feel safe in your surroundings. We all know that feeling on the back of your neck and pit of your stomach when walking down empty streets always feeling the need to peer over your shoulder. You’ll not get that feeling in Galway. There are also so many other tourists buzzing about so you won’t feel out of place.

Galway city is a very safe city – solo female travel

Galway is a city you will feel safe in, and let’s be honest, our safety is one of the first things we have to think about as a female solo traveller.

Well firstly, Ireland is noted as the 6th safest place for studying abroad in Europe in Europe. Sure you will have some crime and rowdy behaviour everywhere, but Galway is incredibly safe and friendly

What about the nightlife?

To make you feel more at ease, Galway City has been awarded a “purple flag” for nightlife. Part of what this means is having a safe nightlife and offering a safe way to travel after dark. Nightlife in Galway city meets the criteria for having a vibrant but safe nightlife. A lot of which is centered around the Latin Quarter.

How to make friends as a solo female traveller in Ireland?

  • Staying in hostels is the easiest way to make friends in Ireland. Especially a large dorm with lots of different people. And don’t forget to invite your new room mates on a night out. Nothing forms a bond better than drunken conversations in a toilet cubicle, am I right?!
  • Hang out in the girl’s toilets. Is that weird? Maybe. But for real this is a great way to chat to other girls.
  • Go on some day tours.

Tammy (@Tammy_Hikes) has visited Ireland alone a few times now. Although she hasn’t spent much time in Galway city, she has stayed in Rural Galway so I thought it would be nice to hear about her experience too as well as any tips she has to share:

“I felt very safe and comfortable traveling in Rural County Galway during my solo road/hiking trip. Everyone I met was very pleasant and more than happy to share ideas with me on where I should go next. The one tip I can think of that really helped me was to know exactly where I was staying each night. I planned my lodging itinerary very careful before I left” 

Safety tips for women traveling alone – female solo travel Ireland

Regardless of how safe a place is, it’s only. to be cautious no matter what, especially as a female solo traveller. Follow these tips:

  • Don’t get too drunk. Yes, it’s sad to think you have to worry about your safety when you are drunk but I mean this for men as well as women. When a lot of drink is consumed, rowdy behaviour normally follows. Have a good time but it’s never safe for anyone to get so drunk they don’t know what they are doing.
  • Never leave your drink unattended.
  • Although it’s so small and pretty impossible to get lost, it is no harm to carry around the business card of your hotel/hostel in case you forget the name and need directions.
  • Have a lockable bag.
  • Don’t flash valuables.
  • Have your trip well planned in advance so you always know your plans for the following day.

Conclusion – Why I think Galway is the best place for solo female travelers in Ireland

Galway really is perfect for solo female travel,  in fact, I would say Ireland overall is probably a great place for a solo travellers first venture alone. You are going to feel at home and have some weird and wonderful conversations and experiences.

If you have travelled to Galway alone, I would LOVE if you would leave your experience in the comments as well as any tips you have for your fellow female travellers 🙂

Tinyboots

Here are some resources and places Close to Galway City I would recommend visiting:

Places to Eat in Galway City:
Near the City:
Some Nearby Places:

If you need any more convincing, check out my post on why Galway is Better than Dublin!

galway city, ireland

Thank you for reading my “Why Galway is a great place for Solo Female Travel Ireland”

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Let’s talk about Why you should make the switch to a Menstrual Cup

So, in 2020, there is no excuse to have a non-eco-friendly period. There are more eco-friendly menstrual products on the market than you could ever need. I have been tempted for quite some time to try the menstrual cup and recently, the day finally came.  So I’ve decided to make this ever-so-detailed honest menstrual cup experience of my first week using the OrganiCup. Have you been interested in trying it for yourself? Maybe give this a read first!

*Reader discretion advised. We’re getting graphic!

The Benefits of Using a Menstruation Cup

  • Menstrual cups are environmentally friendly. In an average year, 7 MILLION tampons go to landfill, with another unbelievable 12 billion pads. We can stop this by using menstruation cups.
  • Save money – Let’s break this down. According to the Irish Times, the average Irish woman spends €132 a year on tampons and pads. That’s roughly €7656 in a lifetime. Instead, you can buy this cup once every couple of years – saving you a whole lot of mula.
  • Never having that “shit I didn’t buy tampons” moment. Just keep your cup in your handbag and you’ll always have it when you need it.
  • Most cups you can leave for 12 hours before changing instead of the tampon 8 hours. Sounds good to me.

What Menstruation cup did I buy? – What are the Best Menstrual Cups

I have been looking at these cups for a while. While working in boots, I had my eye on the Mooncup but I was always wary of making the jump. Recently “Organicup” had an offer on their cups. Buy one get one free. My sister happened to get one and I was her lucky number 1 in line to get the free cup. Yay for me.

The Organicup is 100% bleach, glue, perfume and anything-bad free! And the packaging is great, it is all recyclable/compostable.

There are endless options for you though. All different shapes, sizes and materials. For a run through some of the best options, take a read of this:

https://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/body/health/g23117116/menstrual-cups/

But I would really recommend the OrganiCup.

Menstrual cup, honest review and experience, eco friendly periods

How Do Menstruation Cups work? – My Honest Menstrual Cup Experience

Menstruation cups once inserted properly, fill up the space, and release a vacuum in your vagina, preventing any leakage or odor. The cup collects your blood for up to 8-12 hours (depending on the cup).  Because they’re made of silicone (usually), they can be folded up, pushed inside where they literally pop out into their natural cup shape. It really does make a pop sound.

When the time is up you just tug (when I say “just tug” as if it’s the easiest thing in the world, it may be more of a tug of war with your vag) or pinch the cup and pull it down. You can pour the blood down the toilet, wash and reinsert. Where has this been all my life?!

This all sounds very easy and straight forward, but is it?

My First Week using the Menstruation Cup – a Brutally Honest Review

DAY 1 Using the OrganiCup for the First Time – My Honest Menstrual Cup Experience

Day one was interesting (traumatizing). But please read to the end, because there were ups and downs, and each day was very different!

My thoughts at the end of day one – This feels like I’m sitting on a fist. 

Inserting the cup for the first time – be warned we’re getting pretty honest and graphic

I took a look at the instructions which very handily are printed on the actual “OrganiCup” box – very zero waste. The cup itself was quite rigid I found. But I folded it up as best I could. Luckily the packaging gives some options for the best “folds”. I went for the simple looking “C-Fold” (it wasn’t simple). Then braced myself and went to try and insert.

While I was trying to get the rim fully inside, it popped open and I had to start again. I quickly realised there is a bit of a knack for holding it folded while inserting it at the same time. I also found it really hard to get it inside initially. When folded up, the shape is not all that …streamlined. My first period day is quite light so in order to push it inside, I had to wet the cup to try and lube it up a bit.

Once the rim had gone inside, it popped open again so I couldn’t get the rest of the damn thing in. This was really difficult for me at first. Eventuallyyy after a few tries, I got it inside fully before I could feel the “pop”. The little wick at the end was poking out but looking at the image on the packaging this seemed normal as long as it isn’t uncomfortable. I was just glad it was inside and left it at that.Menstrual cup, honest review and experience, eco friendly periods

Really really quickly I came to the decision I hated it. I read on the pack that you are not meant to feel it. Well for me, I would quite simply describe it as sitting on a fist. Is that descriptive enough for you? I told you it’s my honest menstrual cup experience! I could feel every single atom of that silicone cup inside my vagina and it was torture. Luckily I was working from home so I could shuffle around in my seat every few minutes trying to get more comfortable. So many times I thought “right that’s it. I’m taking it out”. But I actually didn’t have any maxi pads or tampons so I had no option. I had to brave it out. Which brought me to my next obstacle. Peeing.

Peeing with the Menstruation Cup in – The Menstrual cup Pressing on Bladder

So I couldn’t pee. I physically couldn’t do it. I felt the need to, and once I tried, I would get a shooting pain in my bladder area (I can’t actually tell you where exactly the pain was coming from) and nothing would come out. As women, all our “bits” are quite close together. Our urethra is right beside the vaginal canal. When you’re a very petite woman it seems, they are even closer. The cup can cause pressure on your urethra and/or bladder and make it tough to go to the bathroom or empty your bladder fully. For me, it seemed to block the whole thing completely. This is about the time I realised this seemed to be a losing battle for me. I hated it even more.

One of the perks of the cup is that it lasts for 12 hours. Well no, because if you can’t wee, that just isn’t the case.

For the entire day, I had to remove the cup when I needed to wee. In one sense it was a good way to get practice putting it in and out but it was absolutely frustrating as hell. A menstrual cup and a bladder the size of a peanut do not go hand in hand. I kept leaving it until I was fit to burst before going to the toilet for another removal and reinsertion. It felt like I spent half the day in the bathroom fiddling with this cup.

I read online that if you pull the cup closer to your vaginal opening, it should release tension and make it easier to go. For me, it did not work at all. Nothing. I mean nothing. Not a drop, not a dribble.

Day 1 overall – My honest Menstrual Cup Experience

So overall, day 1 was a bit of a nightmare. It was unbelievably uncomfortable. I could feel it there all day. It felt like when you have a tampon too low but x10000. That coupled with the fact that I could not go the toilet with it in, had to yank it out and re-insert it every time I had to pee (once every hour), just meant it wasn’t that enjoyable to me funnily enough!

My thoughts at the end of day one – is it worth it to feel like you are sitting on a fist all day and struggle to pee for 5 full days a month, just to save the world a little bit. While I thought the answer SHOULD be yes, I just didn’t know anymore.

Menstrual cup, honest review and experience, eco friendly periods

Day 2 – How does the Menstrual Cup Feel? How far to Insert the Menstrual Cup

I hope you’ve stayed with me. Because on day two, things started to look better. I refused to give in and did some more research about the correct positioning for the cup. It shouldn’t be just inside the chacha (I’m getting bored of typing vagina so I’m gona use some variations gals and guys!). Even though the picture on the packaging looked like the stem should be at the entrance, that’s not the case.

Getting to grips with the positioning of the cup

This time when I inserted it, I used my fingers to push it up as high as I could manage and removed my fingers wincing, waiting for the awful discomfort to hit me. BUT IT DIDN’T. It felt fine. I could slightly tell it was there but it wasn’t uncomfortable at all. FINALLY. So turns out it really was just like when a tampon is sitting too low.

I was raging with myself for not realising sooner. Although this brought a new problem, the higher up it was, the harder it was to get out again. Luckily using my muscles I could push it low enough to reach the wick and take it out without much hassle.

Taking the cup out after 12 hours – Is it as gruesome as it sounds? Honest Review.

I was absolutely over the moon to discover that once inserted, I could push it up higher inside and the discomfort went away. It also made it possible to wee, success!!!!! Although after my morning, I was worried about having to take it out the next time. At least you get 12 hours in between so there is not as much fuss as with a tampon. One thing I was half dreading, half interested in, was how it would be to finally remove the cup after 12 hours. I’d read some horror stories describing how disgusting it all was. It wasn’t. Duno what they were moaning about. It was absolutely fine. If you’ve had a period before you’ve already seen what it looks like. Seeing it in a cup is no different. Our bodies really are nothing to be disgusted by.

Thoughts at the end of day 2: I have mastered the menstruation cup. 

Day 3- Menstrual Cup too Far Up – Continuing on my Brutally Honest Menstrual Cup Experience

Each day posed its own challenges. Day 3 was, it got stuck! I should have been expecting this issue to crop up. Strap in for this one, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

I had left it in for the full night for the first time and I have to say it was great. I really enjoyed getting out of bed and not having that awful feeling between my legs. Like a waterfall that was blocked and all of a sudden let flow again. That feeling of a night’s worth of period blood oozing downwards by the magical force of gravity once you step foot out of bed.

BUT, I am not a morning person. I rolled out of bed 15 minutes before work (yay for working from home). I thought I’d become so good at removing the cup the day before that it would be a quick job. Well, I was wrong.

I think the cup had somehow moved further upwards throughout the night. To start, I had a bit of a rummage around for the stem. I was blindly rooting around for the bloody wick (no pun intended). Eventually, I found it but panic quickly set in. It was wet and slippy and every time I tried to grasp it, it slipped away. I don’t know about you but I don’t have the most room up there. I couldn’t get my fingers up enough to have the movement to actually grab it but was trying to catch the stem between my fingers and pull it down. Couldn’t do it.

Because it creates a vacuum, it was sitting there so snug and tight, that when I went to pull I could not get enough force to pull it downwards, instead, the wick would slip through my fingers and spring back up. Plus I have long nails and kept stabbing myself in the hoo-haa. For those of you with fake nails, I pray for you.

eco friendly periods, zero waste

I ended up going out to my boyfriend in a panic having these horrific visions of me calling sick to work, rushing into the doctors during a pandemic so that I can lie on a bed with my legs up in the air and have someone wrench this god awful cup from my vagina. Meanwhile, the clock was ticking and I only had a few minutes left before work started.

How I got the cup out

Good aul google. I took to my phone and picked up some tips for removing the cup. One is using your abdominal muscles to push it down. Only instead of one long push which is what I was naturally trying, do short repeated pushes to gradually push it further down the canal. The other tip was to squat down, because this shortens your vaginal canal. A combination of these tips and a bit more time meant I finallyyyyy got it out.

It turns out “how to get my menstrual cup out” and “I can’t reach my menstrual cup” have plenty of articles. You’re not alone! If you’re really stuck there is a method called the “spoon trick” which I didn’t want to try. But if you’re ever desperate..

Thoughts at the end of day three: Is it worth it to have to struggle to take out a cup once every 12 hours for 5 days of the month so that I can reduce my impact on the planet – yeah I think it is!

Day 4 & 5 – Finally Getting the Hang of it All

The last two days went by without any further hiccups. I had gotten a lot better at inserting it in the right position. This stopped any discomfort and I couldn’t feel the cup inside anymore. I also learned not to freak out when I couldn’t get it out quickly and knew I had these tips to push it down. It wasn’t so bad after all and is something I will be happy to continue using. And I know next month we should be smooth sailing.

Thoughts at the end of the week: Yes it’s a bit tricky and a bit more messy, but it’s not that big of a deal when compared with the impact using a tampon is creating.

Final thoughts on actually using the OrganiCup. My Experience

It is definitely something that takes some getting used to. But once you get the hang of it, it really isn’t so bad. And is something I would prefer using to tampons from now on, mainly for the environmental aspect.

Menstrual cup, honest review and experience, eco friendly periods

Disadvantages of using a Menstruation Cup – Suppose we better talk about the Negatives

  • Takes a while to get used to – practice definitely makes perfect with this cup.
  • Uncomfortable if it moves too low – after using the bathroom I would always have to push it further up again. It seemed to wedge it’s way down each time.
  • May affect your ability to wee!
  • Much more messy. The taking it out and reinserting it during your full flow can be messy. I read this article where someone said something like “you don’t understand how disgusting a period is until you remove a cup of blood from your own body”. I don’t agree. If you have periods, you’ve already seen some horrific stuff each month. This is no different at all. Calm down.
  • You have to get used to having a root around your vag for your cup.
  • Still a risk of toxic shock

Toxic Shock Syndrome  – Why Menstrual Cups are Bad

Like all menstruation products, there is always a risk of toxic shock. While it was previously thought that the cup reduced this threat, a recent French study says otherwise. As the shape of the cup allows extra oxygen to enter the vagina, this may allow bacteria to grow rapidly and attach to the cup. New evidence suggests that to reduce the risk, to thoroughly wash hands before and after insertion and to not leave the cup in as long as 12 hours. The study suggests only 6 hours.

While it has been previously advised that if you are out and about, rinsing the cup and popping it back in is enough, this has now been challenged. This method does not remove the bacteria and it is advisable to sterilise the cup throughout using it.

This French study is strongly opposed by some, as the test was carried out inside a sterile plastic bag and not an actual vag. But I think it is still good to be safe and take precautions to reduce the threat of TSS.

Although the risk is soo low, I think one of the only actual dangers of using a menstrual cup is becoming complacent by thinking you can’t get TSS.

eco friendly periods

How to reduce the possibility of TSS

  • Wash hands with antibacterial soap before and after handing the cup
  • Wash the cup THOROUGHLY between taking it out and putting it back in – if you can’t sterilise it each time, wash the cup with anti-bacterial soap.
  • Sterilise the cup if possible between uses, it is recommended to boil it for 5 – 10 minutes

If you have any symptoms of TSS, remove the cup and speak to a doctor. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Low blood pressure – dizziness when going from sitting to standing
  • headaches, confusion, muscle pain

Tips for using the Menstruation cup – Tips for Beginners

  • When inserting it at the start of your cycle, from experience I have learned that lubing it up a bit can make the experience much easier!
  • Try and pop it in at an angle.
  • If it gets “Stuck”, use short repeated pulses with your lower abdominal muscles to push the cup downwards
  • Squat down to shorten your vaginal canal in order to make it easier to reach.
  • I’ve read online that you shouldn’t pull on the stem to get it out – which is what I was doing by the way – but instead, pinch the base of your cup with your fingers to make it easy to pull down. Now maybe I am an anomaly but I can’t easily get my whole hand up there or get enough up there to be able to extend my thumb and finger enough to pinch around the cup! But if you can, try that!
  • The one we all hate – Relax.

So there is my Full Honest Menstrual Cup Experience & a bit of extra info for ya

I hope you found this post helpful. It may seem a bit dramatic but I wanted to be completely open and honest about my experience. Yes, I didn’t get off to the best start! But as the days went on, it got SO much easier to use the cup and by the end, I couldn’t really feel it anymore. I think it’s better to be completely transparent about this. I could have given up after my experience on Day 1, but once you keep going you realise it is such a great option. The menstrual cup is really great, both for me and for the environment.

Going forward, I’ve also purchased a pair of “Wuka” period underwear to try on the days I can’t be bothered messing with the cup. Going to pick up some reusable pads too. Sure we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to products for having an eco-friendly period.

Have you tried the cup? How did it go for you? 🙂

Tinyboots 

If you like my images be sure to follow me on Instagram.

If you found my “Honest Menstrual Cup Experience” helpful. Be sure to pin it:

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For some more Eco Friendly Content, take a read of these:

Plastic Free Shopping Tips

11 Tips to reduce Plastic Waste

 

Why I didn’t buy new clothes for my Holiday, and why you don’t need to either.

 

Ah glorious Donegal – where do we even start?! Voted the coolest place on the planet by National Geographic, and for good reason. I have explored the length and breadth of this wonderful county and I can easily say it is one of my absolute favorite places to go in Ireland. If you like your take-my-breath-away beaches, jagged wild coastlines and ancient epic landscapes, Donegal is the one for you. Get out your waterproofs and hiking boots, because you’ll want to visit these amazing places in Donegal. That’s right, here is your Ultimate Donegal Bucketlist.

Slieve League – One of the Absolute Best Things to do in Donegal

Sliabh league things to do donegal

Now we all know that the Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s most famous cliffs. BUT I think this should be revised. Because Slieve League cliffs are just something else! Although they are not a sheer drop, they are still incredibly impressive, standing at 596m making them the highest cliffs in the country. And they seem to stretch for miles off into the distance.

Stand and enjoy the views at Bunglas Viewpoint or hike right along the top of the cliffs. On a clear day, you will even spot Benbulbin across the waters in the distance. No Donegal bucket list would be complete without stopping off here.

Fanad Head Lighthouse

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Fanad head lighthouse is perched at the edge of Fanad Head Peninsula and is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful lighthouses in Ireland. In fact, it has been noted as one of the most beautiful in the world. Not only that, you might be lucky enough to spot a dolphin or some whales in the swirling waters below.

*Make sure you explore the whole Fanad Head Peninsula. From Ramelton right the way around. You’ll visit the most amazing beaches such as Ballymastocker Bay. This is for sure a must-do when in Donegal.

Assaranca Waterfall – Most beautiful Waterfall in Donegal

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Assaranca Waterfall is perfectly located alongside a road, so it’s super convenient to get to for all yall lazy bones or anyone who has mobility issues. There’s none of that hiking or walking to get there. Just pull up, hop out, enjoy the sight and snap a pic before continuing on your journey again. Driving down this road and turning a corner to be met with this magical sight, what could be better!

Grianan of Aileach

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This is one of those spots that you really only get the full effect of from above. Grianan of Aileach is a restored stone fort dating back to 1700BC. The fort was originally used for defense but now boasts spectacular 360 views over Lough Foyle, Donegal a total of 5 other counties.donegal things to do. Glenevin waterfall

Glenveigh Park

Can’t do much more bragging about Donegal views but I can definitely give it another shot. Here, you can walk the feet off yourself visiting the castle, gardens, tea rooms, or some of the many trails. Or you can get on your bike, where you can enjoy the mountains, lakes, waterfalls and the gorgeous native oak woodlands.

Glengesh Pass – Best things to do in Donegal

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Glengesh pass is something straight from an Ireland Postcard. Rolling hills split by a valley and a wicked windy road. This area was beautifully carved out by glaciers in the last ice age and what we have today is absolutely stunning.  You will definitely wana make your way through this bendy pass.

This is one of my favourite drives in Ireland. For a full list of the most scenic drives in Ireland – I have a post coming soon

Glenevin Waterfall

donegal things to do. Glenevin waterfall

It seems Donegal is brimming with outstanding waterfalls. Glenevin waterfall is an impressive 30ft in Inishowen and is just a short walk along a path from a car park. But this 5-minute walk is very worth it as you are rewarded with this view of the falls crashing into the plunge pool below. There’s also paths above the waterfall too so you can see the area from different heights, and picnic spots a-plenty.

Beaches – The Must-Visit Beaches in Donegal

Murder Hole Beach

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Yes, you read that right! An intimidating name for an equally intimidating beach. This beach is nothing other than awesome. Although it’s not known exactly where the unusual name came from, it’s more than likely due to the crazy violent waves that collide into the beach here every day. I stood in awe and watched as these massive swells rolled inland and hurled themselves at the shore. The noise in the air was incredible and just as aggressive as the water.

Access is through a farmer’s land so please be respectful and leave no trace. I do not advise swimming here. It is more the kind of place for standing back and appreciating the sheer power of nature

Kinagoe Bay – Beautiful Beach in Donegal

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Driving through the windy roads of  Donegal, you may be lucky enough to stumble across this magnificent sight. With soft gold sandy beaches, this secluded beach is normally pretty quiet and unusually clean. It has been named Inishowen’s best beach with panoramic views of the bay. There is also a shipwreck of the Spanish armada “La Trinidad Valencara” hidden beneath the waters. So get the snorkel and flippers out or have a picnic on this serene beach. Whichever you’re into.

Malin Beg / Slieve League

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Another really standout Donegal Beach. Standing at the car park you get such expansive views over the sheltered beach, surrounded by cliffs.  There’s a pretty dramatic staircase leading down to the golden sands at sea level. Someone has counted 174 steps down (not me, I was too busy gasping for breath).

If I was ever going to wash up on a beach, let it be one like this! If you don’t want to go down the steps just to trek back up to the top (but I highly suggest you do!), you can still appreciate the views from the top in the carpark.

*IMPORTANT* To go down to the beach you have to open a gate. Make sure you close it. Sheep roam free on the beach and cliffs.

urris hills donegal

There it is, your Donegal Bucketlist

So there you have it. My list of the best things to do in Donegal, and the best scenery. A complete Donegal Bucketlist if you will! This is by no means a complete list though. Donegal has endless possibilities and things to do. And I keep coming across more.

Don’t be shy! IF you have visited any of these spots, comment below and let us know what you thought. Or if you have any you want to visit in future, let me know your thoughts!

Tinyboots

If you like my photography, be sure to check out my Instagram. All images are my own and subject to copyright.

For some even great things to do in Donegal, see some more options below:

Other MUST do things I haven’t done but are on my list:

  • Climb Mount Errigal – a  751-metre (2,464 ft) mountain. You may have seen images on Instagram. It looks incredible.
  • See the Northern Lights
  • Wild Ireland – Although I don’t like to discuss places I’ve never been, I can’t not mention Wild Ireland. This is probably the most unique attraction in Donegal. Wild Ireland is an animal sanctuary in Inishowen that has seen the return of some of Ireland’s lost native species as well as other animals that were once here but have been hunted to extinction. From wolves to brown bears and even Lynxes. I can tell ya, it’s next on my list!

*Check back on this post, once I tick off each place above, I will add them to the post properly!

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donegal bucketlist things to do in donegal ireland

 

Top 5 Places in Ireland you NEED to visit | Perfect for a long weekend

Knockma Hill walking trail is a looped trail just outside Galway city. At the summit, you will see panoramic views across the surrounding area. In addition, while getting there, you will traipse through gorgeous native Irish woodland. All the while surrounded by legend. Interested in trying out Knockma Hill Walking Trail? Keep reading!

Where is Knockma Hill? Woods and Walking Trail in Galway

Knockma Hill and walking Trail is just 30 Km from Galway city and takes about 40 minutes by car. Tuam is just 13 minutes away, so from that area, it is just 13 minutes drive.

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History of Knockma Hill – Knockma Hill Walking Trail Galway

Knockma Hill has a pretty mysterious and interesting history.

Firstly, you may have heard of Queen Maeve. If not, she was the queen of Connaught. So, Maeve is supposedly buried at the top of Knocknarea Hill in Sligo. BUT don’t say that to a Galwegian. Because some claim that Maeve is buried at the summit of Knockma Hill.

Although more interestingly (to me anyway!) this hill is also believed to be where the king of fairies – “Finvarra” held court. Yep, that’s right! Legend tells that this hill is steeped in magic and mystery. The hill is said to hide an entrance to the “underworld” and connects the faires with it – through the cracks and crevices in the ground.  You will see lots of hints of fairies in the woods, for example, the multiple fairy doors.

In addition, a scene from a movie I have never seen – “Alfred The Great”, was filmed at this location in 1968.

Finally, when visiting, you will notice a memorial for Colonel Patrick Kelly. Patrick was an American Civil War Officer and Commander of “The Irish Brigade” and was killed in Virginia in 1964. His family home is located nearby although he emigrated to the US and the memorial has been erected for this reason.

Knockma Hill Walking Trail – All you need to know about the trails

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This trail is a looped trail but is actually made up of 4 separate trails:

Forest Loop (3.6 km)

Knockma hill galway, tuam, hiking trails in Galway, things to do, outdoors, adventure

The forest loop starts in the carpark and is the longest trail of the loop. It brings you up through a tree-covered road and right into Knockma woods. This was one of my favourite parts of the trail. Although you don’t have the same expansive views, you are emersed in the green canopy. There are hints of fairies all around with fairy doors to be found at the base of some trees.

What species of trees will you see?

The woods is lovely and is made up of Hazel, Oak and Ash trees which is great to see. As most Coillte woods are made up of non-native like Sitka Spruce

Knockma hill galway, tuam, hiking trails in Galway, things to do, outdoors, adventure

Avenue Loop (2Km)

This trail is not actually part of the loop but is a straight trail that leads away from the hill and back again.

Knockma hill galway, tuam, hiking trails in Galway, things to do, outdoors, adventure

Finvara’s Trail (1KM)

Now, this is the part of the trail with gateways to the otherworld. For real though, the area is very much like the Burren. You emerge from tree cover to the top of the hill and exposed limestone. It is through these clints and grikes in the rock that is said to be the entrance to the underworld.

It is this part of the walk where you will have amazing panoramic views over Galway.  While luckily, there are benches perfectly placed on the trail to sit back and take it all in.

Knockma hill galway, tuam, hiking trails in Galway, things to do, outdoors, adventure

Queen Maeve Trail (300m)

This short 300m trail veers off Finvara Trail for a bit to go up around the “burial” place of Queen Maeve. This takes only a couple of minutes before you join back up with the blue trail again.

When doing the trail, I did the full loop – half of the forest trail, joining Finvara’s trail and then Maeve’s trail, finally coming back by the loop.

Map of Knockma Hill – How to get there

Knockma Hill Facts

How High is Knockma Hill? 170m High

How Long is the Knockma Hill Walking Trail? The trail is a 4km looped trail.  Although I know what is the next question that comes to mind 😉

How Long does it take to walk the Knockma Hill Walking Trail? It takes ~1 hour although this really depends on your fitness, and how often you stop to take pictures and appreciate the views (every two minutes if you’re like me!).

Knockma hill galway, tuam, hiking trails in Galway, things to do, outdoors, adventure

Is Knockma Hill Walking Trail suitable for Children?

Yes it certainly is! Although not suitable for buggies/pushchairs or those with mobility issues, it is definitely a great spot to take the kids. There are lots of features to interest and excite the little ones along the way.

DEFINITELY keep an eye out for fairies. In fact,  might spot fairy doors throughout the woods. So keep your eyes peeled for the fluttering of wings through the trees. There is even a fairy school – yep fairies gotta go to school too!

Knockma hill galway, tuam, hiking trails in Galway, things to do, outdoors, adventure

Other information about Knockma Galway – FAQ

As mentioned, there are some benches placed along each of the routes and beautiful scenic places. Be sure to make the most of that. Sit down and take some slow deep breaths and just enjoy where you are.

Is the hill wheelchair accessible?

The hill goes through the woods and up steep graveled paths

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Is the trail difficult?

Although I would not describe this trail as difficult, there are some steep inclines

Facilities – Are there toilets, parking?

There is free parking, no toilets

Can you visit Casle Hackett House?

Yes. Castle Hackett house was built by John Kirwan – LordC  Mayor of Galway – in 1703. It was partially destroyed and burned down during the civil war in 1923 but was rebuilt again by the Kirwan family. The family occupied the property for almost 300 years. It is now accommodation available for booking.

galway city scenery

Views Along the route:

  • The Castle Hackett Tower House at the start of the route
  • Woodland scenery
  • Views over Galway
  • Castle hackett house – a 19th-century building that was occupied until the mid-1980s. Now accommodation.

COVID restrictions:

Due to COVID, the route is currently a 1-way anticlockwise route only. This is great as it means you are not constantly meeting people coming the opposite way. There are signs along the way to show you where to go.

In summary, this route is a great walk! I hope this post was helpful to you. If you visit, comment below to tell me how you get on!

Tinyboots

Knockma hill galway, tuam, hiking trails in Galway, things to do, outdoors, adventure

Image of me taken by Eoghan Bell 

Stuff to do near Knockma Hill including walking trails Galway:

The Most Instagrammable Places in Galway City | Best Places to Photograph

Rosscahill Woods | Quiet and peaceful woodland in Galway

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

Family Activities nearby:

Brigit’s Garden | Fun family activity in Galway

Just Because:

Why Galway is better than Dublin | Galway city Vs Dublin city

 

Most people have a clear preference of which place they prefer in IrelandGalway or Dublin. This may be a pretty controversial one BUT, I’m going to tell you why Galway is better than Dublin. In fact, I’ll tell you why Galway is the best city in Ireland 😀

Galway is the Cultural Capital of Ireland

Ohhh guys I’m starting with a big one! For sure this is Galway’s biggest selling point! For those of you who don’t know, Dublin may be the capital of Ireland, but Galway is the Cultural Capital. That’s right, Galway city is absolutely buzzing with everything that makes Ireland, Ireland!  

You’ll find alll the craic, the Irish language, Irish festivals and folklore. I mean for christ’s sake you will find a leprechaun standing on shop street all day in the summer just waiting to get a photo with you.

Amazing festivals take part every week for example the famous international arts festival.

You will hear Irish spoken on the streets around you. And there are endless pubs to visit.

I mean the city is hosting the European capital of culture for 2020 so that says it all.

Galway has the best atmosphere – Galway VS Dublin

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When I think of Dublin city, I think of people rushing around, walking as fast as they can through the streets, glued to their phones and getting to their next destination. The atmosphere is colder.

How to jump to Galway. How do you even compare it? As well as cultural capital, the city is bathed in bohemian vibes that every visitor falls in love with.

It feels like Galway is one long 24/7 festival. There is music always drifting through the streets, there are crowds of people milling around and if there is sun, you will find every patch of grass occupied by groups of people drinking, laughing and having the craic.

Life is a lot slower in Galway. People walk slower, they are not rushing and focused on where they need to get, they just enjoy walking around the city. The relaxed vibes emanate from the cobbled streets of the Latin quarter.

It is such a happy atmosphere in the streets coupled with amazing performers enticing walkers by to stop and enjoy the entertainment.

People in Galway are Friendlier – why Galway is better than Dublin

To me, I walk through Dublin and find that most people are just busy. I feel as though someone could knock into you and not even take the time for a second glance. You definitely don’t get smiles off strangers on the street.

Walking through the streets of Galway you will be met with friendly faces. You just can’t be unhappy in here. You will be sure to get chatting to shop owners or people sitting next to you at Spanish Arch.

Get ready to make new friends in Tigh Neachtains or whatever pub you choose to visit. It’s going to happen!

Galway has the best pubs

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Speaking of pubs. When you ask a visitor to Ireland what is their favourite pub in Dublin is, you know what they say? Yep, the temple bar. 99% of tourists will have the same answer.

Now ask a person who has visited Galway what their favourite pub is. You will be met with an endless array of answers. Galway is for sure one of the best cities in Ireland for nightlife too.

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From Tigh Neachtains to The Quays,  The Dail Bar to O’Connors and Taffes. Every pub in Galway is loved by tourists and natives alike, and for good reason.

Galway is more compact – Which do you prefer, Galway or Dublin?

In Galway, there is so much more stuff in such a small area. The City Centre is super compact, but in a good way. Everything is within walking distance. Even the nearby Salthill and the beach is just a 25-minute walk from the city centre.

We’ve all stayed in Dublin and got back to our hotels and collapsed on the bed, feet throbbing having dragged ourselves around the city all day. Not in Galway though!

Galway has constant festivals – another reason why Galway is better than Dublin

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There are constant festivals in Galway year-round for you to enjoy. In fact, there there are at least 13 major festivals, just in the summer alone. Yep, Galway is mad for a good festival.  Dublin has ~13 major festivals in an entire year.

Need convincing, where do we begin?

  • Galway International Arts Festival
  • Galway Westend’s Street Feast
  • Galway Film Fleadh
  • Macnas
  • The Food Festival
  • The Oyster Festival

Galway is prettier than Dublin

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Galway is a maze of cobbled streets full of character, colour, fun shops and pubs. The entire city is picturesque with extra beautiful scenery along the River Corrib and the canal.

Remnants of its medieval past can be seen scattered around the centre. From the popular Spanish arch, the old city walls and of course, the charming Latin quarter.

Sure Dublin has nice spots but just doesn’t have the charm of the West of Ireland.

Galway has beautiful Islands just off the Coast

There are amazing islands just a short boat journey from the city. Just off the coast, you have incredibly scenic Aran Islands. Off the West coast of Galway you also have Inish Turk and Inishbofin.

When you head off the coast in Dublin, your nearest landmass is the UK!

Galway is Cheaper Than Dublin

They say money makes the world go round right? Well, the cost of living in Galway city is 28% lower than in Dubin. Can’t argue with that!

The commuter towns like Barna, Spiddal and Ougherard are sooo lovely and charming and are more affordable again, BUT are still close to the city and have so much character.

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GALWAY IS HOME TO THE ORIGINAL SUPERMACS – Galway VS Dublin

Galway is the real home to Supermacs.

So for those of you who don’t know, Supermacs is Ireland’s own version of McDonald’s – just a lot better (ohhh this post is full of controversial topics isn’t it!)! Although the first one was in Ballinasloe, Galway, the one on Eyre Square is huge and is where you will find half the city after a night out.

Galway has some of the HAPPIEST people in the country

Galway people are happy people. In fact, in a study done by NUIG, a whole 98% of people were happy with the quality here. I mean normally you can’t please everybody, but in Galway, it’s a different story!

Finally, The West is BEST

Okay, so we all know west is best. The west of Ireland is straight out of a landscape calendar with endless green countryside and rugged wild coastline. Not only that, from Galway City is smack bang in the middle of it. Perfectly positioned halfway through the Wild Atlantic Way. You don’t have far to go to see any of it. Just a stone’s throw away is never-ending beautiful sandy beaches, from Salthill just off the city, to Silver Strand and right the way out to Connemara, with Gems like Dog’s Bay.

You have everything from the Cliffs of Moher, Connemara national park with Diamond Hill, Cliften and the beautiful scenic Sky road drive, amazing beaches

Beat that Dublin.

galway is better than dublin

Ahhh Dublin is Okay though

Now just so I won’t upset too many people, Dublin has its good things too.. just not as many as Galway (:P)

Why you might think Dublin is better than Galway

  • better transport links – although Galway is so compact you don’t need the same level of transport!
  • close to the main airport – Galway is not far from Shannon airport
  • more things like shops and cinemas – BUT Galway now has a very luxurious Omniplex in Salthill with leather electric reclinable seats. Restaurant and bar is due to open next year too – delivered right to your seat. Ya love to see it!
  • More jobs and pay more. Can’t really argue with that one!

Okay guys hope this doesn’t offend too many people! I may be biased as I’ve lived in Galway for years, so why not tell me in the comments below what you think?! Galway VS Dublin? which do you prefer?? If you wana fight your side of the battle, comment below

If you like my images, be sure to check out my Instagram 🙂

Tinyboots 

Some things to do near Galway:

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

Diamond Hill Hike | Amazing Hike in Galway Ireland

Sky Road Drive | Scenic Drive in Connemara Galway Ireland

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