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People come from all over to witness the beauty of Ireland. One of the more effortless ways you can see some of the best Irish Scenery is by car. From whizzing by the rolling lush green fields, to zooming through valleys and rocky mountains, winding rivers and rugged beaches – there is beauty here in all directions. Get your seat belt on because here is my list of the most scenic drives in Ireland.

The Killary Fjord Famine Walk is also known as the Killary Harbour Coastal walk and is an incredibly scenic hike in the Connemara region of Galway. It is right along the coast of one of Ireland‘s most impressive fjords. You can do this walk as a loop or a linear route and see some truly outstanding scenery. If you, like me are always looking for new hikes in Connemara to try out, this is a must-do!

Where is the Killary Coastal Hike? Killary Fjord Famine Walk

The hike starts in Benowen and takes you right along the edge of the Fjord, all the way out to the west coast at Rosroe Pier. From there you can turn back the way you came, or keep going the narrow roads until you loop back to the N59, taking you back to the start again.

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Parking for the Walk:

There are a few options here but no “real” car park. After heading out of Leenane west on the N59, you will eventually see a right turn for Benowen and a sign for the Killary Sheep Farm opposite. You can pull in at this sign if there is room – there is a small area to pull in but it will only fit 1 or 2 cars max.

Alternatively, you can take the turn for Benowen and pull in somewhere along the route. It is a narrow road but there are some places you can abandon ship – just don’t block the road! The sheep won’t appreciate it!

Killary Harbour coastal walk map/ Killary Harbour famine walk map

Killary Harbour Coastal Walk Loop Map

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Killary Famine Walk Linear Map

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How long is Killary Fjord Famine Walk? Killary coastal Walk Distance:

Linear Route: The linear route is about 7 km each way – a 14 km round trip
Circular route: This route is around 18 km. Although it looks much longer on the map, it’s not really!

killary harbour coastal walk, killary harbour famine walk, galway ireland

Is the Killary Coastal Walk Difficult?

Nope! It is super easy in terms of elevation and inclines. But it is a long walk, so a relatively good level of fitness is needed to do the whole thing. Remember, you don’t have to do it all, you can turn back at any time. I am yet to do the whole thing!

Why is it called a Famine Walk, and what is a Famine Road?

The potato famine began in 1845 when the potato crop failed. While a million people are known to have died, under British Rule, some took to building roads, in order to earn some money for food. Sadly, the money was too little and this physically demanding work resulted in a great number of deaths.

The roads can still be seen in the West of Ireland today, leading nowhere in particular, and ending abruptly. Roads with no real purpose but to keep men busy.

The walk is named a Famine walk as much of the route is on an old famine road.

killary harbour coastal walk, killary harbour famine walk, galway ireland

Killary Fjord Walk – My Experience – Leenane Loop Walks

The walk itself is beautiful, despite the sad link to the road which you pass over. I followed the winding country road and couldn’t believe it as the views got better and better around every turn.

killary harbour coastal walk, killary harbour famine walk, galway ireland

As is typical of the west of Ireland, it was a dull, overcast rainy day with foggy clouds hanging low over the fjord. But with that, came multiple rainbows that stretched happily overhead!

From burbling streams to howling wind and bleating of sheep, the noises of and sights of Connemara were a wonderful escape from my usual surroundings.

killary harbour coastal walk, killary harbour famine walk, galway ireland

We only went so far as the Sheep farm on this route, which is about a 3rd of the linear route. I’ll definitely be back to do the rest.

 

 

Tinyboots (thinking about where I’m going to stop for snacks on the drive home below!) 
killary harbour coastal walk, killary harbour famine walk, galway ireland

This walk has various names from the Killary Harbour loop walk, to the Famine walk in Leeane.

 

 

the truth is, it rains a lot in Galway –  days of the year to be exact. It breaks my heart to say that the wettest part of Ireland is between the Maamturk and Partry mountains of Galway and Mayo. You might think that being stuck in Galway city on a rainy day means there will be nothing to do, but I am glad to say that isn’t true! Galwegians have adapted to the unfortunate amount of rainfall, and so here is … things to do in Galway city in the rain.

Galway Rainy Day Activities – Things to do in the Rain

Museums – What to do in Galway if it’s raining?

galway city museum, things to do in galway in the rain

Rainy days are perfect for museum visits. While looking at old fossils and preserved bits of pottery may not be top of your list when the sun is beating down on the sands of Salthill or blue skies over Spanish arch seem all-too-inviting, I can understand how you might miss the museums.

But, when the clouds roll in from the Atlantic, what better way to avoid the rain, than learn a bit more about Galway’s interesting medieval past, as well as our culture and natural heritage.

  • Galway City Museum – Explore Galway Myths Legends & Folklore, the Revolution of Galway and more
  • Galway Fisheries Watchtower Museum – Galway Rainy Days – discover artifcats through time which were used for fishing along the River Corrib
  • The Claddagh Ring Museum – The smallest museum in Ireland showing some of the very first made claddagh rings and more about the process of making them

Visit the Escape Rooms – Escape Rooms in Galway City

If you find yourself in Galway city in the rain, escape the downpours with the Escape Rooms! Escape Rooms really are the perfect rainy day activity. I can’t think of a more exciting and fun way to take your mind of the weather than by working together with your gang to escape the “Irish Pub Room”, the “willing Vault” or “Spooky Quarantine Hospital”. This is fun for the whole family, and if you are a gamer, what better way to bring a game to life than being in it yourself!

Cafe Crawl – Sample Galway Cities best Coffee Shops and Sweet Treats

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The Jungle Cafe, Galway City

This is one for my fellow foodies.

One of my favourite things to do when I’m away is eat and drink my way around a city! Breakfast, coffee, lunch, second coffee, dinner, dessert. You can honestly sample a bunch of cafes and restaurants in Galway in one day if that’s what you enjoy. Plan your route so that you only have to pop in and out of the open streets while making your way to the next coffee stop!

Check out the newest releases in the cinema – Escape the Rain in Galway City

For a relatively small city, Galway has no shortage of cinemas. From the IMC, to Omniplex and the Eye. You may not be able to get out and experience the streets of Galway in the wet, but you can experience a whole new world from the comfort of a theatre.

The Omniplex in Salthill is honestly fantastic. Sit back and relax on the electric recliner seats and enjoy. Word is that someday they will also have restaurant seat-service. We’ll just have to wait and see!

Be Entertained at an Irish Dancing Show

Irish Dancing is at the heart of Irish Culture. Well Galway, is home to Ireland’s number 1 Irish Dancing experience-  Trad on the Prom. A lot of visitors to Galway experience this cultural phenomenon, so why not tick it off your list on a rainy day?

You’ll be blown away by this unforgettable experience when dancers dominate the stage with Riverdance.

Shop until you Drop – Galway cities Craft Stores

I won’t judge you if you want to take the rain as an excuse to … inside a shopping centre and browse the shops. While you might not want to venture around the city too much (we’ve all had a Penney paper bag disintegrate in the rain), the Eyre Square shopping centre has two floors of shops to keep you busy and dry for a few hours.

You can park in the attached multi-story car park so you won’t see a drop of rain!

Even better, Galway City has countless Craft Shops which are filled with beautufil Irish designs.

Irish Design and Craft Stores:
  • My Shop.. Granny likes it
  • 2 Wild Geese
  • The Old Sea Dog
  • Kilkenny Shop
  • Spiddal Craft Village

Pub Crawl – Get out of the rain and into the Craic!

Christmas in galway, galway city, christmas time, christmas lights, street photography, tourist
O’Connell’s Bar, Eyre Square, Galway City

 

Following the same logic behind cafe crawl. We all love a bit of day-drinking every now and again. So make a rainy-day of it. Plan your route around the city to see as little rain as possible, and no need to feel guilty about it, you’re on vaycay!

Galway has an endless lists of pubs for you to tick off and sure you might get a little wet, but the truth is, a couple of pints in, you will hardly notice!

 

Rainy Day activities especially for Children:

The Aquarium – Galway Atlantaquaria

While you might not want to go outside, why not bring the outside in? Let the little ones be blown away by everything from rays to octapus and a range of other sea creatures. The aquarium is all about education, awareness and conservation of our ocean and life under water. Let the little ones learning about native sharks, rays, and crustaceans, as well as other unique species.

Bowling – Planet Galway

Leave the rain behind by visiting Planet Galway. For the kids, there’s bumpers, six pound balls and ball ramps available. While in the “Space Kids” section, there’s also a soft play area with slippery slides, rope bridges, pulleys and a huge ball pool to play in.

Pure Skill Galway – Indoor Sports Activities for all the Family

This 25, 000 sq ft indoor sports and leisure has everything  –

  • Gaelic Free Kicks
  • Soccer Penalties
  • Hurling Shots
  • Rugby Conversions
  • Tennis Volleys
  • Cricket Bowling
  • Baseball Hits
  • Basketball Free Throws
  • Golf Putting and Chipping.

That’ll keep the kids busy!

Other Ideas for Galway City in the rain

Go for a swim – it’s not like you can get any wetter!!

If you head to Salthill Beach, no matter the weather, there will be people in for a dip. Why not join them?! Cold water swimming is taking over and it’s not like you can get any wetter? Get the physical and mental benefits and it is a wonderful experience in the rain – I speak from experience!

How often does it rain in Galway?

It rains approximately 232days of the year in Galway which is a stark contrast to 128 days of rain in Dublin. It really is the one thing that would tip the scales to dublin when it comes to Galway vs Dublin!

But the thing is, there is no such things bad weather, just being badly dressed as they say. There is always going to be rain in Ireland, but if you learn to dress appropriately, it won’t impact you too much!

Why does it rain so much in Galway?

Galway city is located right along the west coast of Ireland, along the Atlantic Ocean. Due to the prevailing winds, water vapour is brought inland from the sea and dumped right over Galway, regularly! The weather is very inconsistanc and go from rain to blue skies multiple times a day.

 

Tinyboots 

The Most Instagrammable Places in Galway City | Best Views in Galway

The Best Ice Cream in Galway City

Brigit’s Garden Ireland | Fun family activity in Galway Ireland

Visiting Menlo Castle | How to Get to Menlo Castle?

 

 

 

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

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

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!

comment below

Tinyboots 

 

Galway’s Best Beaches:

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

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

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