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

The Best Beaches in Galway – Beaches in Galway

 

The Best Beaches near Galway City

Salthill Beach – Just outside Galway City

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

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

Silverstrand Beach near Galway City

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

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

Beaches in Connemara Galway – Beautiful Beaches in Galway Ireland

Furbo Beach – Furbogh – Tra na Bhforbacha

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

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

 

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Spiddal Beach – Beach near Galway

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

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

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

An Trá Mór – Best Beaches in Galway

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

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

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

 

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Renvyle – White Strand Beach

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

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

Gurteen Bay and Dogs Bay – Goirtin/Port Na Fadoige


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

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

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

Glausilaun Beach

 

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

Parking? Yes small car park
Dogs? Yes
Toilets?

Moyrus – Tra Mhairois

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

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

Lettergesh Beach – Beaches in Connemara

 

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

How many beaches are there in Galway?

There are 4 beaches in Galway City –

  • Salthill
  • Sliverstrand
  • Ballyloughane
  • Grattan

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

What is a Blue Flag Beach?

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

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

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

Any questions, let me know below!

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Tinyboots 

 

Galway’s Best Beaches:

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

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

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

Monivea Woods Map

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

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

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

History of Monivea Woods

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

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

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

Or in her words

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

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

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

Monivea Mausoleum

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

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

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

How to find the Mausoleum in Monivea

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

Monivea Ice House

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

Monivea Castle – Monivea House Galway

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

Cherry Laurel in Monivea

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

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

Final thoughts on the Woods in Monivea

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

Tinyboots 

 

For other Castles and ruins in Galway:

Visiting Menlo Castle | How to Get to Menlo Castle?

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

 

 

Galway Lockdown

 

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

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

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

Tinyboots

We really are spoilt for choice when it comes to great scenery in Ireland. This island is fringed by a ribbon of incredible coastline, with world-famous beaches and dramatic sea cliffs. When you think of cliffs in Ireland, I’m sure it’s the Cliffs of Moher that you think of first. But the truth is, there are so many locations in the country to see captivating cliffs.  Here are some of the Best Cliffs in Ireland.

The Best Cliffs in Ireland

1. The Cliffs of Moher – The Most Famous Cliffs in Ireland

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I suppose we’ll start with the most famous cliffs in Ireland. The Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s second most visited attraction, but the most visited naturally occurring attraction. And for good reason.

Although they’re not the highest cliffs in Ireland, their dramatic sheer drop stretches 14 km along the coast, giving them the “wow” factor. It makes sense that these are the cliffs people flock to see.

It’s also a famous location for having a large puffin community – being one of the rare locations where populations are increasing across Europe.

How high are the Cliffs of Moher? 214 m

For further information on the Cliffs of Moher: Visiting the Cliffs of Moher Honest Guide | Do you have to pay to see the Cliffs of Moher?

or

5 Reasons You Need to Visit the Cliffs of Moher 

2. Slieve League Cliffs – Slieve League in Donegal

slieve league cliffs donegal

Slieve League takes the spot for the highest sea cliffs on the island of Ireland, at an impressive 601m above sea level. And even better, they are located in the Coolest Place on The Planet – (according to Lonely Planet)!

These cliffs stand at a whopping 601 m and extend far off into the distance. You can hike along the top, which has been made easier with stone paving slabs recently. Or, just enjoy the views from the viewing platform at Bulas Viewpoint.

For more about the Slieve League Cliffs: Slieve League Cliffs in Donegal | The Beautiful Slieve League Walk

While you’re up that far, you may as well check out some of the other wonders in Donegal: Best things to do in Donegal Ireland | The Ultimate Donegal Bucketlist 

3. Kerry Cliffs – The Cliffs of Kerry in Ireland – Ireland’s Best Cliffs

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One spot which is not so well known is the Kerry Cliffs.  The Kerry Cliffs are along the Skellig Ring near Portmagee and are a lot quieter than the cliffs mentioned above. There is a large car park which is just 3 minutes walk from the best viewpoint. There is a small fee to access the viewpoint – it was 4 euro per person when I visited.

From the viewpoint you can see the detailed strata in the cliff face, giving away the region’s geological history. The pictures don’t do this place justice as the cliffs are incredibly high and impressive here – at 305m high – higher than the Cliffs of Moher even.

The Cliffs are just opposite Puffin Island and the Skellig islands too. So for this small price not only do you experience the cliffs themselves, but get unique views of some of the amazing Kerry coastal views.

4. The Giants Causeway Coast – The Causeway Coast Cliffs in Antrim

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The Giants Causeway is the most well-known feature of the northern coast. But there are also spectacular basalt cliffs along the entire coast. Between Derry and Belfast, you’ll pass by mind-blowing cliff-top views, and there are numerous places you can walk along the cliffs to really experience these cliffs.

The Gobbins Cliff Path is a unique experience where you can walk the coastline on steel bridges hovering above the turbulent sea below.

The most memorable and rewarding walking route is between the Giants Causeway visitor centre and the carrick-a rede bridge location. This route is 16km long and will take up to 5 hours depending on fitness and amount of photo stops! And bonus – it starts and finishes at two of Northern Ireland’s top tourist attractions.

For visiting the Giants Causeway check out: Guide to Visiting the Giants Causeway

For Carrick-A-Rede: Your Guide to Visiting Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge 

5. Howth Cliff Walk in Dublin – Howth Cliff Path Loop – The Best Cliffs in Ireland

It may be true that the best cliffs in Ireland are along the western coastline. But when talking about the best cliffs in Ireland, there are also some great options in the East. The Howth Cliff Walk offers a couple of routes to choose from, but each bringing you along the impressive cliffs of the Howth Peninsula.

Starting at the charming village of Howth in Dublin, you can take the cliff path along the coast which shows views of Dublin Bay, Ireland’s Eye and Lambay Ireland.

6. Croaghan Sea Cliffs Achill Island – Things to do in Achill Island

 

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While Slieve League takes the spot for the highest cliffs on the island of Ireland, it is actually Achill Island that has the highest cliffs in the whole of Ireland. The Croaghan Sea Cliffs are a massive 687 meters above sea level.

While not as visited as the other cliffs in Ireland, you can hike this beast. Start from either

  • Car park near Corrymore Lake
  • Keem car park

7. Inishmore Sea Cliffs near Dún Aonghasa – The Aran Islands cliffs

 

Inishmore is the largest of the Aran Islands, and here you can experience vertigo-inducing vertical cliffs.  The cliffs are the backdrop to the very famous prehistoric stone fort Dun Aonghasa, which hangs on the edge of the sheer drop.

8. KilKee Cliff Walk in Co Clare – Cliffs in Ireland Other than the Cliffs of Moher

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The Kilkee Cliffs in Clare were not on my radar at all. I came across them on a trip around Loop Head Peninsula and they blew me away.

There is no visitor centre, fees or busy queues. There are also no barriers. I could not believe how quiet it was considering the Cliffs of Moher are just an hours drive north.

Take the 5 Km Kilkee Cliff Walk or the 8 Km loop which will give you plenty of time to unwind and enjoy the salty breeze and fresh air. I highly recommend this loop.

The Best Cliffs in Ireland

So there we have the best cliffs in Ireland. Which is at the top of your list?

 

Tinyboots

The Best Cliffs in Ireland:

  1. Cliffs of Moher Clare
  2. Slieve League Donegal
  3. Kerry Cliffs
  4. The Giants Causeway Antrim
  5. Howth Cliff Walk Dublin
  6. Croaghan Sea Cliffs – Achill
  7. Inishmore Island Sea Cliffs
  8. Kilkee Cliffs Clare

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