7 Day Trips around Rural Galway: Part 2
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7 Day Trips around Rural Galway: Part 2

There is just so much Galway county has to offer, so we have compiled ANOTHER list of 7 must-visit places outside of the city that are waiting to be discovered. From river villages to market towns, we have it all right here for you to add to your travel bucket list of rural Galway day trips.

Oranmore

A 25 minute drive from Galway City or 6 minutes by train
Nestled on the edge of the Galway Bay, Oranmore is the perfect town for a rural day trip adventure. It is accessible by multiple buses from Galway City, and Oranmore train station is just a short walk from the town centre. A 15th century castle overlooks the town's array of pubs, restaurants and activity centres. There’s no need to worry about bringing a packed lunch, because no matter what time you set off for your rural daytrip, breakfast, lunch and dinner can be easily found in Oranmore. Roots Cafe & Bistro and Espresso 44 have all your breakfast needs sorted, and dinner can be taken care of by Gigas DinerGrill with their burgers that burst with flavour or Da Enzo’s Italian restaurant who have mouth watering pizzas with an abundance of toppings for dinner. Wash your dinner down with a pint (or two) from Glynn’s Bar and listen to the local live music of Oranmore. Take the kids to Busy Bees' fun packed adventure centre. Let them explore Teddy Mountain where they can build their very own new teddy friend or run free and play on the Busy Bees' slides, ball pools, and bouncing castle. With state of the art facilities, for both outdoor and virtual reality golf, make sure you pack your clubs for your day trip in Oranmore. Galway Bay Golf Resort has an 18-hole course overlooking Galway Bay to provide your trip with a memorable golf experience, but if the weather isn’t on your side SWING Golf can offer you a fully immersive round of golf with their TrackMan technology. End the day with a peaceful stroll through Renville Park and watch the sun go down on your jam-packed Oranmore day trip from their benches on the pier overlooking the Galway Bay. Check out our full guide to Oranmore here


Glynn's Bar - Oranmore

Loughrea

A 50 minute drive or a 55 minute bus journey from Galway City
The scenic lakeside of Loughrea market town deserves to be on your rural day trip around Galway bucket list. Take a horseback riding lesson to discover the mountains at Slieve Aughty Centre and ride through miles of scenic forestry with the whole family. Continue to admire the outdoor scenery of Loughrea with a small swim at the lake if the weather is nice. Let your children release their energy on Turoe Pet Farm's 8,000 square foot inflatable city or on the drop slide at the Fun Shack activity centre. Race against the whole family or have a friendly competition with yourself at Pallas Karting on their outdoor 1500 metre track, which is the longest in Europe by the way. After the day's activities are complete, wind down and fill your bellies at Roots Cafe & Bistro, The Village Inn Bar and Restaurant or at Amore Ristorante. A steak sandwich from Roots, or a homemade burger with chips from the Village bar, or an Italian style pizza from Amore would all be delicious choices to round off a day well spent in Loughrea town. One more stop before you leave Loughrea should be to Away with the Fairies to collect your mythical souvenir. Pick up a dragon statue or a toadstool for your garden which will always remind you of rural Galway and the wonderful day you had. Check out our full guide to Loughrea here


Turoe Pet Farm - Loughrea

Inis Mór

A 40 minute ferry journey from Rossaveal
The largest of the three Aran Islands, Inis Mór is as rural as they come and the perfect place for a day trip. Stone walls, quiet beaches and an abundance of native animals will all accompany you on your trip to the island. Donkeys, swans, horses, birds, cows, goats and a colony of seals are all living on the island. The natural wonders on Inis Mór include the Wormhole, a natural limestone blow-hole (Poll na bPéist) and Dún Aonghara, one of Western Europe's most magnificent stone forts. You can take a guided bus tour to see these places or if you’re feeling adventurous you can rent a bike through Aran Island Bike Hire and journey the island yourself with the map provided by the bike hire company. Be aware that there are a good few hills that could knock the wind out of you on the way to see the wonders on the Island. Make sure you take a rest at one of the private and unpolluted beaches Inis Mór has to offer. Kilmurvey Blue Flag Beach is situated in a sheltered cove and has the bluest water to swim or to paddle your feet in. Bring home some souvenirs for yourself or your family in the form of a woolly Aran sweater or a sweet block of Aran fudge. The Aran Sweater Market is one of the country’s leading suppliers of authentic Aran knitwear, with sweaters, scarves, hats, blankets and slippers all made from wool there is sure to be a piece of Aran that catches your eye. The Man of Aran Fudge is creamy, buttery fudge made on Inis Oírr and sure to remind you of your trip every time you taste it. For food on the island make sure you check out Tí Watty’s Bar and Seafood Restaurant who specialise in locally caught seafood. If you're just looking for a lunch venue, Teach Nan Phaidi is an Irish cafe serving local cuisine, such as soups, salads and cakes. Have a treat before you leave at the award-winning Paudy’s Ice Cream shop. Uachtar Reoite, crepes and waffles to fuel your journey home. Check out our full guide to Inis Mór here


Man of Aran Fudge - Inis Mór

Gort

A 50 minute train journey, a 40 minute bus or car journey from Galway City
Gort is a charming heritage town that has inspired artists, writers and poets alike. Home to Coole Park, there are plenty of outdoor adventures to have in the town. Visit the autograph tree at Coole Park that has been signed by the literary giants involved in the Irish Literary Revival at the start of the 20th century. Legends say their spirits still inhabit the tree and that they roam amongst the silent wood of Coole. While you are there, visit the inspiration for W.B Yeats’ poem ‘Wild Swans at Coole’ by wandering the rest of the grounds at Coole Park which is home to a museum, a cafe and a forest walk with deer and birds to see. After the park, take the trail for Gort’s River Walk which is a 3km beautiful loop starting in the Gort town and meandering along the river banks, and old farm roads. Thoor Ballylee was a centre for literary and political gatherings, welcoming a number of notable figures of the day and is now a visitor centre with a stream and garden to roam around. Kiltartan Gregory Museum, which is largely devoted to the works of Lady Gregory, is a great visit for enthusiasts of Irish language, poetry and history. Spend the rest of the trip closer to the centre of Gort in the local shops, cafes and restaurants. Pick up a piece of artwork, a handmade candle or a crochet blanket at Nine and Fifty Swans or pick up a piece of history at Honan’s Antiques.The Granary Pizzeria has a well-assorted menu to choose from to satisfy any craving you may have. O’Connors Bakery and Rooster’s Cafe have you sorted for cups of tea or coffee and a sweet treat to go along with it. Choose from their range of cakes, scones and sandwiches and maybe take a bake to bring home with you from Gort. Check out our full guide to Gort here


Nine and Fifty Swans - Gort

Letterfrack

A hour and a half drive or a hour and fourty-five minute bus journey from Galway City
The small village in the Connemara area of Galway is an enchanting place full of mountains and green walking trails. As it is home to Diamond Hill Mountain and the entrance to Connemara National Park Nature Trails, make sure to pack your hiking boots in the back of the car. Take an early morning hike up Diamond Hill that will take roughly three hours, and see the whole village and Connemara Park spread out from up on the summit of the mountain. If you’d prefer to see the nature of Letterfrack but from a lower vantage point, make sure you take a little detour to Lettergesh Beach. With its light-coloured sand and views looking out onto the mountains, there is no other place quite as picturesque. Explore the life of the locals living in Letterfrack with an oyster farm tour at DK Connemara Oysters. Taking the tour would allow you to see where and how the people of DK Connemara Oysters work, and how the oysters are produced. See the other side of life on Letterfrack away from the bay with a farm experience. Letterfrack Farm Experience lets you feed, interact and learn all about the animals living on their farm, with an exclusive riding demonstration included by the riders at Heatherhill Horses. After, leave nature behind to explore the village shops and restaurants before you leave. Books at One is a community-based bookshop in the village of Letterfrack, run by the husband and wife team Vincent Murphy and Mary Ruddy. It is a place steeped in literary heritage from the writers who drew inspiration from the Connemara landscape, and is worth a visit whether you are a book lover or not. Open fires and cold pints are a staple of Cloverfox Connemara, creating the perfect ambience for your rural dining experience. Seafood, organic salads and meat dishes are all on the menu to fill you up for the journey back to the city. Check out our full guide to Letterfrack here


Books at One - Letterfrack

Clarinbridge

A 25/30 minute drive from Galway City or a 30 minute bus journey
Clarinbridge is a small village located on the mouth of the Clarin river at the head of Galway Bay. Follow the trail down from the Clarin River, through the cow park and out into Kilcornan Woods to experience the full nature package Clarinbridge has to offer. The fairy trail, secret garden and playground will have the kids entertained, or if the weather isn’t on the sunny side, you could always have a swim in Kilcornan Pool. The new Yoga Lounge in the village centre is a great pitstop for those who would like to stay active on a rural day trip, and why not treat yourself after a hard workout to an organic coffee from The Natural Way Health Food Store right next door. Fill up your stomachs at Goats Lane Cafe or Poppy Seed with their selections of breakfast, lunch and sweet treats menu. The brownies at Goats Lane Cafe are famous amongst the locals living in Clarinbridge, so make sure you try one! Continue to support local business with a bit of shopping along the main street. Clarinbridge Antiques have all of the unique vintage pieces you could possibly need to add some character and history to your home. Pick up an antique vase or jug and pop over to Clarinbridge Garden Centre to fill up your buy with one of their many selections of indoor plants. A Clarinbridge cactus or money plant would be the perfect reminder of your rural trip. Grab the latest looks from Mise Tusa boutique to really fit in with the locals, or head over to Kelly’s on the corner for some groceries, sweets or turf. Established in 1650, Paddy Burke's is the perfect choice to try the famous oysters of Clarinbridge. They have a gourmet selection of oysters and delicious seafood to really help you get the full Clarinbridge food experience. If seafood is not your thing, walk down the street to Sherry’s Bar for some homemade Thai food. Round off your trip, if you took the bus, with a pint in one of Clarinbridge's thatched main street pubs.


Paddy Burke's Bar and Restaurant - Clarinbridge

Portumna

A hour bus or car journey from Galway City
Portumna is located on the River Shannon and Lough Derg, and has its own Blueway to showcase all on offer for lake and land recreation activities. The range of exhilarating activities range from water sports to golfing with fishing inbetween. Portumna has a good track record for catching fish with several prime angling hotspots along the river Shannon and Lough Derg. Portumna Coarse Angling Club is one of the many operators to cater for angling tourists visiting rural Galway. Stay on Lough Derg with a swim in the water recreation park, which is a well maintained facility with grass areas, picnic tables and a cordoned off shallow area for children. Portumna Golf Club is a beautiful parkland course that sweeps its way through the Forest Park and shores of Lough Derg. Enjoy the scenery and wildlife rural Galway has to offer as you make your way through the 18 holes the club has to offer. Continue to enjoy nature and serene landscapes with the Portumna Heritage trail, which has 30 points of interest, including the Friary, the castle, a walled garden and Lough Derg. Or turn your day trip into an adventure and bring your mountain bikes to the Forest Park. There are two mountain bike trails with open, gentle gradients through the beautiful woodland. Be on the lookout for a red squirrel as you cycle as they are the most noteworthy species in the whole park. If the outdoors isn’t your thing, stay in the town where the Country Market sets up every Friday to shop local and get to know the produce that the traders of Portumna have to offer. Shop around at Cottage Store Antiques for the uniquest pieces the rural town has to offer. The family style restaurant of the Beehive Pizzeria is the perfect spot to have dinner on your trip to Portumna, and the delicious pizza will make you want to return back every week. After, stay around the town to experience the atmosphere of The Boathouse Bar, where live music is played almost every evening. Portumna is a nature based town that has a lot to offer visitors looking to escape the city life for the day. Check out our full guide to Portumna here


Portumna Castel - Portumna

If you missed part one on rural day trip of Galway, make sure you check out the article here and add the places to your ever growing list of rural day trip destinations!

Feature photo by Hannah Martin

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