- Big city reach with small town charm

Irish Examiner - Supplement - - CONTENTS -

With soar­ing coast­lines and an­cient land­scapes through­out, the West of Ire­land of­fers one of the most scenic ar­eas in the coun­try, spread over a rel­a­tively small area. Us­ing Galway as your hub, ex­plore out into the re­gion and dis­cover an­cient ru­ins and de­serted beaches, as well as restau­rants to die for and pints that taste of more.

A cap­i­tal of cul­ture

One of Ire­land’s most vi­brant cities, Galway has ev­ery­thing a vis­i­tor could want. From a bustling shop­ping scene to a vi­brant cul­tural quar­ter, as well as some of the best restau­rants in the coun­try, it has big city reach with small town charm.

Take some time to me­an­der the cob­bled streets of the Latin Quar­ter, which rings out with the sounds of lo­cal buskers. Shop­ping mag­pies will love the range of di­verse bou­tiques, which dot the streets, and cafes and restau­rants of­fer wel­come respite from busy street life. Stop for an af­ter­noon pint in one of the many pubs and watch the world go buy from a win­dow perch.

Take a walk­ing tour of Me­dieval Galway City, and stroll down nar­row wind­ing lanes and an­cient city streets, pass­ing the old town wall and in­tact me­dieval houses, you’ll also dis­cover how Galway be­came one of the most pow­er­ful city-states in me­dieval Europe.

Of course, no trip to Galway is com­plete with­out a visit to Con­nemara Na­tional Park. Cov­er­ing 2,957 hectares of scenic moun­tains, ex­panses of bogs, heaths, grass­lands and wood­lands, the na­tional park is a play­ground for the out­doors in­clined.

There are a huge range of marked walks through­out the park, with views of the dis­tant is­lands of Inish­bofin, Inish­turk and Inishshark and Kyle­more Abbey. The park is also home to Con­nemara ponies, red deer and an enor­mous va­ri­ety of birdlife, in­clud­ing sky­larks, stonechats and pere­grine fal­cons, and dur­ing the sum­mer months, vis­i­tors can avail of free guided walks in or­der to spot them.

On the way back from Con­nemara take the Sky Road, a 12-kilo­me­tre loop from Kingston to Clif­den, which takes in the epic coast­line of this gor­geous county. It is an easy trail, so if you are feel­ing en­er­getic, it’s an ideal spot to take a bike.

Galway city

Claddagh, Co. Galway

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