One of our favorite stays on our trip to Ireland was Galway City. Not only is the city amazing, but there are places in the area to see as well. I will share 4 Day Trips From Galway that we enjoyed. If you are like us and want to make the most of your visit to the area, keep reading.
If you are planning a trip to Ireland, let me share a few other posts I wrote. One was our 10-day trip to Ireland and Northern Ireland. The Slea Head Drive is an area you really need to consider. Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland is an area I cannot wait to revisit as well. 24 hours in Dublin is another good post.
The first one is Cliffs Of Moher. This is such a popular area and one that should be on your list. We visited this area in the morning, leaving Galway at about 7:30. It is an hour and a half drive to Cliffs of Moher.
You can easily follow Google Maps to the parking area. It is well marked out and easy to navigate too. I do recommend parking in the parking lot, it is close and also gives you access to the visitor's center.
The walkways up to the cliffs are easy to navigate and very safe. I am terrified of heights but did fine with the barriers they had up. My favorite view of the cliffs was on the Northside, near the O'Brien tower. The southside views are also spectacular though.
Take your time and enjoy the area. Some people rush out, grab a few photos and leave. There is so much more to be enjoyed. One thing I did wish we would have brought was binoculars. We are not necessarily birding people, but I was fascinated by the birds in the area.
Next, make sure and go through the visitor's center. It is a quick visit but has fun information not only on the Cliffs but also on the area too.
Trip #2- Doolin and area
Doolin and Aran Islands. This cute little seaside village of Doolin also has a harbor for getting to the Aran Islands.
The city of Doolin is about an hour away from Galway. It is another pretty easy drive, but there are some narrow roads. Google Maps will take you right there. Doolin has some shopping, but if you are looking for wool items, maybe wait until you get to Aran Islands. Closer to the source.
We ate at Gus O'Connor's pub when we were in Doolin and I loved the salmon! They were very friendly and the food was great.
We also took a visit to the Caherconnell Fort. This is very close to Doolin and in such a beautiful area of the Burren. It is an ancient fort that you can tour and they also have a sheepdog demonstration.
The sheepdog demonstration was one of our favorite parts of our whole trip. Those dogs were amazing! Their handler was very friendly and informative as well. Also, if you are lucky enough, and visit in the spring, you will even get to hold the lambs. They are SO CUTE!
We also did a tour of the fort. It is an ancient stone fort with a really fascinating history. If you are into history, I recommend it!
There are also so many other things to do in Doolin, caves, farm visits, etc.
Trip #3 Aran Islands
The Doolin Ferry was not running when we visited. I was so bummed! They were opening the week after. Because of this, we were not able to visit Aran Islands. Let me share what I learned when I called.
The Doolin Ferry runs about every hour. The woman I talked to, with whom I was going to make reservations, said I could just show up, there was usually plenty of space. If you are concerned, you can make reservations on the website.
Aran Islands are a group of 3 islands that are wild rustic and so charming. They are also the birthplace of the famed Aran Island jumpers (sweaters). While I cannot speak personally about the islands, this link will.
If you are in the area in September, check out the Matchmaker Festival. There were signs up for it everywhere as we came through Lisdoonvarna. It looks like so much fun!
Trip #4 Connemara and Kylemore Abby
We don't take a lot of tours on vacation. Tour buses are so invasive. However, we made an exception for the tour to Connemara and Kylemore Abby as we had heard such good things about it! I am glad we did. It was just as awesome as people had said.
The tour with Galway Tour Company was very inexpensive at only $35 euros/ adult and $30 euros/child. It was an all-day tour from 10 am to 6 pm. I feel like this is certainly a bargain compared to the other experiences we have been paying for.
Our driver was fantastic. He was personable and navigated those narrow roads like a champ, much better than I had been in my little car.
Our first stop was the quaint village of Cong. This lovely little place is where the Quiet Man was filmed. I had not heard of the movie, but the Irish are proud it was made here. The village has many sites dedicated to the movie, a beautiful old Abby, and picture-perfect streets.
Next, we went through the wilds of Connemara. Had I been driving, this is not the route GPS would have taken me, but it was so worth visiting. We made several stops for photos, which you can see below.
Last up was Kylemore Abby. I had seen pictures of this before the trip, but it was nothing compared to seeing it in person. Wow. Not only is the mansion itself spectacular, but the setting is so amazing. It is a tourist trap, to be sure, but a really well-done one. Also, make sure and eat at the restaurant on site, the food was really good!
The way back was a different route, and no less beautiful than the way there. This rustic part of Ireland should not be missed!
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Denis P. Holmes says
Doesn’t the ferry run from GALWAY, at the docks, to the ARAN ISLANDS? We are going in Sept. and I think that was advertised as also leaving from Galway…as well as from Doolin.
First- I am so jealous you are going to Ireland. We cannot wait to make the trip back. To answer your question, there is a ferry out of Galway. It started in 2021. There are also ferries that leave out of Connemara, about 37 kilometers from Galway. I am not sure of the schedule they run, as I had only researched the Doolin Ferry.