Part 2: Wild Atlantic Way - Galway
Wild Atlantic Way Galway
Sitting almost halfway along the Wild Atlantic Way, Galway city and county has been a holiday destination for Irish and international tourists for generations. This is for good reason. It is a jewel in the West of Ireland, with stunning scenery, the Wild Atlantic Way’s only city, and long sandy beaches, it is a must-stop location.
We will do our best to take you off the beaten track in our guide to the Wild Atlantic Way in Galway but some activities, like the Aran Islands are just too good to miss, in spite of their popularity.
Following down the Wild Atlantic coast from your first 5-days in Sligo, we hope you find some things to do in Galway that you wouldn’t have found otherwise on this action-packed five-day itinerary.
Day 6 – Galway – Taste
Galway city is wild and bohemian, famous for festivals, culture and a buzzing restaurant scene. If food is your thing, you are going to love the first day.
Galway Food Tours
Begin with an unforgettable culinary experience on a Galway Food tour. Spend 2.5hrs walking, talking, eating and laughing your way around the best food venues Galway city has to offer in the capable hands of Sheena or Gosia. You will taste produce from Oysters to cheese, baked goods to beer and more. Your expert guide will take the time to explain and explore the history of Galway’s food culture and secret food haunts on a tour that won’t be easily forgotten.
Later in the day enjoy a tour and tasting at the Micil experience which will provide a unique, up-close insight into the production of poitin and gin. During the tour you will learn the history of these much loved spirits in Ireland and overseas. After the tour you can taste the products themselves, made in a similar way by generations of the same family but with a modern twist.
Day 7 – Galway – Active
If you feel the need to move, Galway makes getting active easy. Walks along the prom in Salthill or the sparkling beaches in Barna are easy ways to stay active on holiday in Galway but if you feel the need for more, today is the day.
Rusheen Bay Windsurfing
Start your day with a windsurfing lesson in the safe confines of Rusheen Bay. Using the most modern teaching methods and equipment, you will be standing on your board as quickly as possible while having a safe and fun experience. In fact, their fully qualified instructors promise to get you windsurfing in less than 60 minutes!
If the weather takes a turn for the worse or you would rather an indoor activity, the Planet Galway entertainment centre is fun for all the family. Offering bowling, laser tag, pool and games there is no doubt everyone you are holidaying with will be thoroughly entertained on a visit.
Day 8 – Galway – Explore
Although the Wild Atlantic Way skirts Connemara National Park it is well worth diverting from the route to explore its majestic mountainous scenery in more detail. The national park is an animal lover’s paradise. Watch out for rabbits, deer and most impressively the world-famous Connemara Ponies that roam wild across the park. A visit to the picturesque and historic Kylemore Abbey is also a must. Before visiting our hidden gem in this part of the world.
Glengowla Mines & Family Farm
Glengowla is Connemara’s only show mine. Abandoned in the mid-19th century it was once used to access the minerals and stone to be found hidden beneath the surface in Connemara. A visit to the museum and mine will certainly offer a very different day out to anything else on the Wild Atlantic Way. Following your mine tour enjoy one of the farm trails including one along the long-abandoned railroad that once ran from Galway to Connemara while enjoying the diverse flora and fauna in the surrounding countryside. Glengowla Mines & Family Farm are currently closed but will be re-opening 19th March 2022.
Day 9 – Galway – Aran Islands
Located just off the coast of Galway, the Aran Islands are too often overlooked for easier to get to destinations.
But they are very much worth the extra effort. On the largest of the islands, Inis Mor, spend a day exploring the Celtic churches of historical significance and World Heritage site Dun Aonghasa which is set on a dramatic 300 ft cliff edge. Whichever of the island you choose to visit, hire bikes to get around you should be able to cycle most of the island in a day.
Getting there is easy with Aran Island Ferries.
Aran Island Ferries.
Prepare for a warm Irish welcome as you board the luxury Aran Island Ferries boat (including a full bar and refreshment service) from Galway City Docks or the sheltered fishing harbour of Rossaveel (Ros a’ Mhíl) in Connemara. Owned by the O’Briens, this family has an enduring relationship with the Aran Islands since they began to trade turf there in the 1900s. Along the way, feel the clean air against your face while admiring Galway Bay views. Once on the islands, enjoy a way of life including culture, heritage and language that is unlike anywhere in the world.
Day 10 – Galway City
As the only city on the 2,500km Wild Atlantic Way Route, it is well worth spending a day in Galway. Markets, meandering medieval streets and an eclectic culture makes Galway a more relaxed city with a fantastic bohemian vibe.
There is lots to see, from the famous Spanish Arches to buskers in Eyre Square to the remains of the old village of Claddagh, once located outside the city walls. Once you have explored the city, how about learning more about the inhabitants of the surrounding Atlantic?
Galway Atlantaquaria is the largest native species Aquarium in Ireland. Featuring over 100 species of native marine life, over two floors that showcase the wonder of the underwater world.
Exhibits include the largest Fin Whale Skeleton in Ireland, sharks from our coasts, shark nursery, Rays, the ‘infamous’ Splash tank, Octopus and ‘Nemo and Dory’. Galway Atlantaquaria is EAZA accredited, following best practice in animal welfare, education, and conservation.
Finish off the day with a cruise on the Corrib Princess where your captain will bring you along the majestic River Corrib travelled by Viking invaders and Victorian steamboats. Hear about Galway’s ancient past, Celtic Mythology and stories of Galway’s feuding families. The castles that we will see were home to some of Galway’s most interesting characters and their exploits. Corrib Princess is currently closed but they will be reopening for group bookings of 20+ adults in April 2022, and will be open for scheduled sailings in May 2022.
Hotels on the Wild Atlantic Way, Galway
Located on the outskirts of Galway city, the Clayton Hotel Galway is the perfect base to explore the Wild Atlantic Way. We offer a variety of rooms to suit your needs whether you are travelling with family or friends. Start your days with a vitality breakfast to keep you full of energy for the activities ahead. End them in the Clayton Hotel Galway’s swimming pool or gym the perfect place to relax after a busy day sightseeing.