Just north of the stunning Slieve Aughty mountains, you will find the lovely hidden gem that is Loughrea. Also known as the gateway to the west, Loughrea sits on the shores of its namesake Lough Rea. Despite its literal translation of grey lake the area is full of interesting attractions that are worth exploring for yourself. We’ve gathered a list of our favourite spots to visit while in town, check them out below...
The ultimate way to travel is with the intercity coach bus Citylink. They offer regular bus service between Galway and Loughrea throughout the day and their coaches are of the highest standards, putting customer comfort first. All coaches offer free Wi-Fi, toilets, reclinable seats, plug sockets and charging points. So you can sit back and enjoy some quality me-time as they do the driving for you. Check out their bus times here.
Food & Drink
One of the best sandwich spots in all Galway, Slow Roast - is well worth the visit while passing through Loughrea, we could even argue it is worth the trip there alone. Run by two sandwich lovers, you are guaranteed sambos that are packed with fillings and grilled to a crispy crunch. The menu features an array of yummy sambos options and feature weekly specials that you are not going to want to miss out on. They also moved to a bigger location in order to give their guests a chance to sit and savour all sandwich deliciousness without having to be on the move.
12 Main St / more here
above: photo courtesy of Slow Roast
Roots Café & Bistro
Roots Café & Bistro’s gorgeous café in Loughrea's Shopping Centre is the perfect pitstop for a few delicious pick me ups while you’re in town for a bit of shopping and leisure. Enjoy a yummy brekkie surrounded by the beautiful decor and unwind in the bright space before you have to take on your busy day. One visit to this eatery and you’ll see why Roots Café and Bistro has gained such a popular reputation across all of their Galway locations, their food and drink selection truly is delish!
Unit 5, Loughrea Shopping Centre / more here
The Village Inn
Just a short drive from the town centre you'll discover and fall in love with the latest addition to the Leonard Catering group, The Village Inn Bar & Restaurant. Home to a cosy and covered beer garden, exceptional bar staff and weekend trad sessions, what more could you ask for? Not to mention their incredible selection of drinks from gins and whiskey to creamy pints of Guinness as well as their mouthwateringly good food menu. Simply pull up and chair and make yourself at home. Once you spend an afternoon at this Kilchreest spot you'll never want to leave.
Kilchreest / more here
above: photo courtesy of The Village Inn
Right down to its luxurious setting and unique atmosphere to the amazing food, Lignum really is a must for anyone looking for an unforgettable dining experience. Their goal is to showcase the quality and diversity of ingredients from the wonderful people who raise, grow and produce them. You won’t find a set menu here as the food is always on the move, keeping up with their amazing suppliers and growers and what they have to offer.
Slatefort House, Bullaun / more here
To enjoy an incredible evening out with delicious foods, you will never go wrong with the Italian restaurant Amore Ristorante. Owner Tarek has previously worked in 5-star hotels such as The Westbury and The Merrion Hotel, and his experience there has influenced the high-quality hospitality you will receive as soon you step through the door. This stunning little restaurant serves up authentic Italian foods and the team are always thrilled to introduce their guests to new menu items and weekly specials.
Main St / more here
above: photo courtesy of Amore Ristorante
Hope's Bakery and Coffee Shop
For more than 70 years, Hope’s Bakery and Coffee Shop has been providing their scrumptious buns and cakes to the people of Loughrea and its surrounding areas. Their pasteries, cakes and breads are all baked fresh each morning, and they also serve delicious hot foods which can be enjoyed in-store or taken away. W can't think of a better way to explore the areas around Loughrea than with a refreshing hot chocolate and a warm buttery croissant from Hope’s Bakery.
Main St / more here
Away with the Fairies
Enter into a magical world at Away with the Fairies’s fairy workshop and explore the colourful collection of fairy houses, fairy garden supplies and fairy doors. Add a splash of colour and magic to your garden with a few fairy accessories. Bring your kids to visit the breath-taking fairy garden and find a fairy special item to take home with you.
Coppanagh, Kylebrack / more here
above: photo courtesy of Away with the Fairies
Nothing beats the excitement of getting a new piercing and where better to get one than by the professionals at Swag Piercing studio. Leave all your piercing needs in the hands of the experts and get that bit of body bling that you've always wanted. From jewellery to aftercare products, they have everything you need for a satisfying piercing process. The team are passionate about what they do so you can reach out to them at any time if need any assistance.
King St / more here
Lough Rea Hotel & Spa
Make the 4-star Lough Rea Hotel and Spa your base for exploring everything Galway has to offer. This luxurious hotel destination is famous for their phenomenal hospitality and comfortable bedrooms, so we can guarantee that your stay at Lough Rea Hotel is sure to be a memorable one. When you're not out exploring the town, you can enjoy a gorgeous Afternoon Tea in their stunning Lir Lounge or unwind with a few cocktails while you take in the sensational panoramic vistas of Lough Rea and the mountains beyond from their Roof Top Garden & Sky Lounge. During your time in Loughrea be sure to book yourself in for a treatment in their tranquil Shore Island Spa and experience an evening of complete relaxation and indulgence. On your doorstep you’ll find five superb golf courses, inland and coastal fishing, historic sights, two medieval towns and the famous Yeats Trail, there really is so much to do so get yourself booked in and enjoy a getaway of a lifetime.
Old Galway Rd / more here
above: photo courtesy of Lough Rea Hotel & Spa
Meadow Court Hotel
Luxury knows no bounds at the grogeous Meadow Court Hotel. This beautiful 4 star boutique hotel is nestled in the heart of Galway’s lush countryside and your stay here is bound to leave you with life long memories. All of their rooms have all been designed and decorated with your comfort and relaxation in mind. The hotel’s warm ambience, elegance and sophistication has been curated thanks to their years of invaluable hospitality experience that ensure that every visit to Meadow Court Hotel is a truly unforgettable experience.
Clostoken, Conicar / more here
Slieve Aughty Centre
The eco-friendly accommodation at Slieve Aughty Centre provides the ultimate getaway from the rush and noise of city life. Their large bedrooms in The Three Towers Eco House are uniquely and individually designed to help you feel at home and comfortable. If you would prefer something your stay to be completely unique then stay at their brand new wanderly wagon, set in a quiet corner of the organic garden. Staying at Slieve Aughty will also grant you access to their enchanted forest, playground, craft rooms and all other common areas, meaning that you will be provided with everything you need to enjoy a relaxing break away.
Kylebrack West / more here
Other Spots to Visit
Slieve Aughty Riding Centre
Suitable for riders of all ages and abilities, Slieve Aughty Riding Centre offers a range of activities such as trail riding and horse riding treks. All trail riding is tailored to the rider’s ability, for beginners to advanced so rest assured you’ll be in good hands with the team at Slieve Aughty Centre. For a family day out, come on out for the family experience and book pony rides to their enchanted forest for the kids.
Kylebrack West / more here
Before leaving Loughrea you simply must spend some time wandering around the magical Kylebrack Woods. There are four trails of various lengths to choose from, each of them beginning at Slieve Aughty Centre. Bring your wellies and a packed lunch and discover some of the hidden gems located deep in the woods. Walk along the Duniry river and keep your eyes peeled for wild mushrooms as you go.
Turoe Pet Farm & Leisure Park
With tons of activities that are suitable for the entire family, Turoe Pet Farm offers loads of hands-on fun for the kids. Indoors, their inflatable city is 8,000 sq feet of bouncing castle with 3 slides and their soft play area contains baby and toddler-friendly zones. At the pet corner, children get the opportunity to pet and cuddle the farm’s friendly farmyard characters. Sit down for a lovely family picnic in their fully-fitted picnic area, and then explore the farm on the buggy and wheelchair-friendly nature trail.
Turoe House, Turoe / more here
above: photo of Turoe Pet Farm
Woodville Walled Garden
Dating back to the 18th century, the walled garden at Woodville has been beautifully restored; the gardens contain fruit trees, vegetable gardens and serene fountains. Woodville was once home to Henry Persse, brother of Lady Augusta Gregory, nee Persse of Coole Park. The museum onsite has numerous belongings of the Persse family on display, with items that date back to the early 1900s.
above: photo courtesy of Woodville Walled Garden
The Turoe Stone
Decorated in the Celtic La Tène art style, this granite stone can be viewed at the Turoe Pet Farm. The Turoe Stone is a ritual stone that dates back from the 2nd to the 3rd Century B.C. however the exact ceremonial purposes of the stone have been lost to time. If you are interested in learning more about the history of the stone tap here.
Loughrea Town Moat & Crannógs
Loughrea is home to the last functioning moat in Ireland. Founded in the 13th century by the Anglo-Norman De Burgos, there are still many medieval features that remain in Loughrea. The lake Lough Rea from which the town gets its name contains four crannógs which predate Loughrea town.
The Site of the Battle of Aughrim
Just a short 20 minute drive from Loughrea town is the site of the Battle of Aughrim. The bloodiest battle to have been fought on Irish soil, between followers of the Catholic King James - Jacobites - and followers of the Protestant King William of Orange - Williamites - at Aughrim thousands upon thousands of lives lost and countless others fleeing, or were captured. To discover more about this battle tap here.
above: photo of Loughrea Lake