With St. Brigid’s day just gone and St. Valentine’s right around the corner, spring and sunshine are already well on their way.
So take advantage of the lengthening days and shake yourself out of winter hibernation by exploring some of these lovely strolls! They’re just a stone’s throw from the city centre, and best of all, you can enjoy the views regardless of your relationship status.
Grab your partner/dog/friend/someone you’d like to know a little better—or even just yourself—for some gentle exercise to ease you in to spring.
5. Canal Walk
For a short amble around central Galway you can’t do much better than the path between the canal and the Corrib. Although well-traveled by both Galwegians and tourists, there is a reason people keep coming back—because it’s so darn pleasant.
Start by going through the stone arch and over the foot bridge between the salmon weir bridge and Born (Newtownsmith). Enjoy the views of the Corrib racing along to your right and the calm canal to your left. In warmer weather, ducks and swans will keep you company if you choose to picnic on the grass or simply sit and read.
Make your way down and across the Mill Street bridge to finish the walk at the Wolfe Tone bridge near the Spanish arch; or, for a small adventure, find the secret garden past the Mill Street Garda Station parking lot (also accessible through a passageway on Lower Dominick street).
4. South Park/The Swamp
A much longer walk, this one reveals the best views of Galway Bay from the Claddagh.
From the Spanish arch, walk across the Wolfe Tone bridge, turning left across from the Fisheries Watchtower. Head in to Middle arch and across the new lock. From here you can look at the boats in the Claddagh basin and also enjoy the view of the multi-coloured houses on the Long Walk across the Corrib.
Follow the path to the road (Claddagh Quay) and turn left. Turn left again at Nimmo’s pier. This is a great spot to watch kids feeding the gulls and swans—keep your eyes peeled for the black one!
Head down past the fields to find a pedestrian/cycle path that hugs the coast, taking you all the way to Mutton Island and beyond. With Galway Bay and the distant hills of the Burren on your left and the houses of the Claddagh past the sports fields on your right, you’ll feel as if you’ve left the hustle and bustle of city life behind you.
3. NUIG to Dangan
Past the Quincentennial Bridge and NUI Galway’s new engineering building is a winding gravel path that follows the banks of the Corrib all the way to Dangan.
There are pretty patches of woods to explore and views of romantic tumbledown Menlo Castle across the river. If the walk gets you too warm, you can roll up your pants and dangle your feet in the clear water.
The path ends in a sports field, but if you find your way through the woods to Dangan House Nurseries, you can reward yourself with some tea, cakes, or even curry at the Garden Centre tea rooms.
Bonus walk: on the other side of the river you can check out Terryland Castle, the ruins of a 17th century manor house belonging to the Clanricarde family, or stroll through Terryland Forest Park.
The park may be next to a busy road but it has lovely groves of trees and a beautiful view of the cathedral. It also conveniently ends near the IMC cinema on Headford Road.
2. The Long Walk
Don’t let the name fool you—this Galway classic is not as long as the last two walks. Meander through the Spanish Arch and keep going past the city museum, the restaurant Ard Bia, and the multi-coloured houses featured in Ed Sheeran’s Galway Girl video.
On a sunny day this may just be the brightest spot in the city. The views of the Corrib, the Claddagh, and Galway Bay beyond are just lovely, and since it’s practically in the city centre there are plenty of dining options not even a stone’s throw away.
If you want to turn it into a longer walk, you can continue past the docks and the Harbour Hotel and into Renmore and Dead Man’s Beach (which is much nicer than it sounds).
1. The Prom
An obvious choice; no list of lovely walks in Galway would be complete without it. But even though its stunning bay views and myriad beaches still provide one of the best promenades around, the standard Salthill route can get a bit crowded on a nice day.
On either side of the traditional Prom you can find delightful—and less congested—spots as well.
Between Mutton Island and the start of the Prom lies Celia Griffin Park and the famine ship memorial. Sitting atop a pretty, wind-swept headland, the park’s paths provide a pleasant little circuit and its grassy dunes melt into Whitestrand beach.
At the other end, past Blackrock and the kicking wall, the path continues between the golf course and the sea. With grass-covered hills on your right and Galway Bay opening out to your left, this section is probably one of the most beautiful in town.
If you have the time and the inclination (or, preferably, wheels), continue out west to explore the incomparable Barna Woods and the beach at Silver Strand. It’s amazing how quiet these gorgeous locations can be this time of year, and they’re only just outside the city!
Whether you bring someone or go alone, wandering these scenic spaces will replenish your energy and get you ready for an adventure-filled year. So what are you waiting for? Get walking!
Have we missed anything out? Let us know what you think!