While Galway is recognised worldwide as one of the leading destinations for the arts, for music, theatre and countless associated festivals, one of the city’s most welcome features is the ease with which it is possible to slip away from the contemporary, cosmopolitan, cultural quarters and back to nature.
It is this duality between the new and the old, between hustle and bustle and peace and quiet, that sees so many visitors to Galway take the 10-minute stroll from the epicentre of cool, over the River Corrib to the historic Claddagh district’s quayside, and on to the seafront South Park.
Continuing along the quayside up Nimmo’s Pier, the city is slowly left behind, the smell and the gentle sounds of the ocean fill your senses, and the horizon is opened up to distant hills over the football pitches and wide open grassy spaces of South Park. A great time to take this walk is evening, when the sun is setting over the Atlantic waves and the Aran Islands loom low in the mouth of Galway Bay.
Walking along the coastal path toward the seaside promenade at Salthill, the ultimate low-level thrill of South Park lies ahead. The walk along the narrow man-made causeway to Mutton Island is an easy challenge at just a third of a mile and one that no committed wanderer should deny themselves. Within minutes, you are almost totally surrounded by the lapping sea.
And so back to Galway centre, because after a brisk, beautiful walk you’ve officially earned yourself a drink at a friendly Galway bar!