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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 

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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

donegal things to do. Glenevin waterfall

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

things to do in donegal. Best beaches donegal. Kinagoe bay

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 Bed / Slieve League

donegal attractions, things to do in donegal, donegal bucketlist , murder hole beach, malin head, silver strand

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.

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

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

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

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 is 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 reals 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

tuam, hiking trails in Galway, things to do, outdoors, adventure

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

top places you need to see in ireland, shop street, galway

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

Christmas in galway, galway city, christmas time, christmas lights, street photography, tourist

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.

Christmas in galway, galway city, christmas time, christmas lights, street photography, tourist

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

macnas parade galway, macnas galway, halloween, halloween parade, galway city

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

instagrammable places in galway city, canal walk galway, galway is prettier than dublin

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.

the spanish arch in galway, stone, medieval, archeway, instagrammable places galway

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

Just picture this; walking through Galway’s winding cobbled streets with the sounds of people enjoying the city in the air. Lively Irish music drifting onto the street through ajar doors of the many pubs. The sun shining down while you watch the street performers and make your way to sit in the warmth at the Spanish Arch. What could make this experience even better? Ice cream. Ice cream makes everything better. I am so excited to tell you about my favourite, and the best ice cream in Galway City.

The Best Ice Cream in Galway City

 

Scrumdiddys – Definitely some of the Best Ice Cream in Galway City

scrumdiddlys, best ice cream galway city

Scrumdiddlys is  my absolute favourite place to grab ice cream in Galway currently. They serve absolutely deliiiightful ice cream with more toppings to choose from than you could ever imagine. In fact, there are 7000 combinations you could pick from in total – I hope you’re good at decision making!

I am going to admit something that will make you question the type of person I am. I don’t like 99s – there I said it. To explain, what is a 99? Whip (Soft serve) ice cream in a cone – with a Cadburys flake. I don’t like plain ice cream.

However, Scrumdiddlys has converted me! My favourite is the “Scrum Fiteroles” special. It’s whip ice cream with fresh cream profiteroles, strawberries and heavenly Cadburys melted sauce. My mouth waters just thinking about it. Take a look at the featured image of this post and feast your eyes on this beauty!

There will be queues, but it’s worth it for the big portions, affordable prices, and delicious ice cream with whatever topping you wish. It’s no wonder Scrumdiddlys is spreading across the country.

Where is Scrumdiddlys Galway?

Scrumdiddlys is in the Latin Quarter on middle street. Less than a minutes walk from Shop Street.

Opening hours of Scrumdiddlys Galway

Scrumdiddlys generally open 12 am – 8 pm. 9 pm on weekends. For up to date opening hours however, always check facebook.

If you are a food lover like me, check out this other post: Cool Places to Eat in Galway

Ginos Gelato – Delicious Gelato in Galway City

best ice cream in galway city, ginos gelato

Ginos Gelato is an Irish owned ice cream parlour that makes fresh authentic Italian ice cream inspired by their Italian roots. Indeed, Ginos Gelato came to be in the 1960s as an ice cream stand. They are now nationwide and ever-expanding.

With every flavour you could ever dream up, from creamy chocolate rocher to berry cheesecake. Not only that, there are also waffles, crepes and milkshakes to choose from too. I’ve recently started getting the milkshakes and they are just heavenly on a warm day and so full of flavour.

Be it blue skies or a rainy day in winter, there is always a queue for Ginos Gelato and that says it all!

Where is Ginos Gelato in Galway?

It is perfectly situated at the Eyre Square side of Shop Street. The ideal place to stop off and grab some gelato before going exploring the city.

Ginos Opening hours?

Ginos Gelato tends to be open late – until 10 pm most nights. In fact, for full opening hours of Ginos Gelato, always check the facebook page.

Murphys – one of the best places for Ice cream in Galway city

murphys ice cream galway city

Ah Murphys, everything about this place screams Irish. From the uniforms complete with a Paddy cap, to the crazy unique flavours Murphys is known for. That’s right, flavours include Irish Brown Bread, Irish Coffee and Dingle Gin!  Yep, get ready for an unforgettable and quirky experience.

Irish Brown Bread ice cream may sound disgusting but I can hand-on-heart assure you it’s delicious! Brown bread coated in sugar and caramelized, and mixed with ice cream. Mmmmm I’ll take 5.

The staff are known for being so incredibly friendly and polite (the gift of the gab just be a CV requirement for applying for a job here!) and are always found outside offering samples of the distinct flavours. Murphys opened it’s doors in 2000 in Dingle and is now in 5 locations.

Murphys Ice cream is made in Dingle with milk from Kerry cows and the company are staying close to their goal of “making the best ice cream in the world”.

Where is Murphys Icecream in Galway?

Murphys is in arguably the best part of the city. Surrounded by pubs and delicious restaurants on High Street.

Want to know more? For Murphys Ice Cream opening hours and anything else you need to know, here is the link for their Facebook.

Kenny Joes Gelato – Galway City

Kenny Joes Gelato galway city, best icrecream

Kenny Joes Gelato has a flavour to satisfy even the biggest sweet tooth. Including crunchy caramel, black oreo and Jaffa cake. There’s also a whole menu to choose from with ice cream, smoothies, shakes, crepes and mmmm freshly made doughnuts!

The premises is little more than a stone archway but you won’t miss it. Especially after dark with it’s fun colourful decor and neon signs.

Where is Kenny Joes?

Kenny Joes can also be found on High street

For more information see the Facebook page.

Bubble Bee – My wild card for Ice cream in Galway

Bubble Bee is my wild card. OoOoOh! It isn’t actually an ice cream parlour but a cafe known for their stunning and exquisite desserts. The menu includes coffee, bubble tea, food, milkshakes and of course the one worth mentioning here, is the very popular bubble waffles with ice cream.

Check out their Facebook page to see images of their wonderful creations as well as opening hours.

Where is Bubble Bee Galway?

 

So there you have it

5 of the best ice cream places in Galway city. Enjoy making your way through these! Do you think I missed out on somewhere special? Let me know in the comments, I’d be more than happy to go sampling more ice cream places .. for educational purposes of course 😉

Tinyboots 

If you enjoyed this post and want to see more Galway posts, check out these: OR Click here for all Galway posts.

For the Best food, definitely check out my “Coolest Places to Eat in Galway“.

 

Cool Places to Eat in Galway

Visiting Menlo Castle | A Hidden Gem near Galway City Centre

Christmas in Galway | Winter Bucket list for Galway City

 

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