I think we can all agree that Mother Nature really outdid herself with Galway’s phenomenal landscapes, and it seems they’re all too often taken for granted. They say time spent among trees is never wasted time and when you’re surrounded by every shade of green, it’s impossible to feel anything but serene.
Whether it’s to squeeze in some steps or clear your head, here are some spots to explore in and around Galway...
MERLIN PARK WOODS
Both the oldest and largest urban woodland in Galway city, Merlin Park Woods stretches across the eastern edge of the city and contains a network of paths for you to wander down. You’ll have plenty of company on your journey as red squirrels and foxes scurry about and butterflies and birds fly by overhead. You’ll come across the ruins of Merlin Castle where we recommend you take a little break and sit in the silence, gazing around at the variety of trees and flowers that have created this urban escape.
TERRYLAND FOREST PARK
Having become fondly known as The People’s Park by some locals, Terryland Forest Park came about as a labour of love and is an incredible place to explore closeby the city centre. With hundreds of thousands of native Irish trees and a variety of flora and fauna setting the scene, we would recommend bringing along a picnic basket and a flask of tea to enjoy while you soak up the beauty of nature.
When it feels like the walls are closing in, we would recommend heading out to Quincentennial Park in Salthill and spending a little while sitting in the Circle of Life National Organ Donor Commemorative Garden. Overlooking the Galway Bay, this spot is less of a nature trail and more of a symbol of transformation, healing and hope. A celebration of the lives of organ donors, the garden incorporates ancient Irish heritage and its stone circular layout reflects the never ending cycle of life.
Out in Oranmore, Rinville Park is an incredibly picturesque woodland area with a network of trails running throughout and its fair share of flora and fauna. A great spot for bird watching, the park encircles the remains of an ancient castle and features a kiddies playground, an outdoor gym and barbeque areas for those particularly sunny days.
WESTERN WAY TRAILHEAD
If it’s a longer route you’re after, we recommend setting off on the 24 kilometre trail section from Oughterard to Maum along the Western Way. Along this route you’ll take in Lough Corrib and the many local hawks, otters, frogs and bats that call the area home. The hiking trail will lead you to some seriously scenic spots, so don’t forget to bring your camera!
The Woodlawn Nature Trail provides an idyllic setting for a wander, with birdsong echoing throughout and a whole lot of native trees providing shelter for the wildlife. Avid nature enthusiasts will find great pleasure in whiling away the hours at Woodlawn and take comfort in the tranquil energy that permeates throughout.
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