By Rebecca Spelman
There is a great range of adventurous sport on offer in County Galway. Ireland is home to some unique sports through the Gaelic Athletic Association (known as the GAA) and Galway’s mountains and waterways give further access to sports you might have never tried before. Whether you’re looking for the chance to try a new activity or just want to watch, there’s lots of sporting opportunities in Galway.
Take a hike
Those who like hiking and trekking are in luck with the wide variety of routes along the Connemara Mountains. One particularly popular choice is Diamond Hill in Connemara National Park, as it’s suitable for all experience levels. If you prefer your walks to be a little flatter, there are some great walking trails in Oughterard such as The Heritage Trail and The Western Way. These walks focus less on physical exertion and more on admiring the awe-inspiring scenery.
Another fantastic activity in Oughterard is provided by Derroura Mountain Bike Hire. You can hire a bike and follow their custom-built trail along the mountains, following a tricky path featuring elevated timber boardwalks and lots of boulders. This won’t suit beginners, but is a great challenge for avid cyclists. If water sports are more your thing, there’s lots going on in the sea and in Galway’s rivers. Kayaking is very popular, with clubs across the county who are always ready to welcome new visitors, as well as several schools.
In Galway, you can take a tour along the River Corrib with Corrib Canoe Courses, who are particularly popular due to their friendly staff. If you’re by the coast, Real Adventures Connemara in Clifden offer a wide range of activities for individuals and groups. A great place for multiple activities is Killary Adventure Co., which is nestled in the heart of Killary Harbour.
You can hire a bike and follow their custom-built trail along the mountains, following a tricky path featuring elevated timber boardwalks and lots of boulders
You can attend as an individual or as a group, and visit for the day or stay for an extended period in their sustainable accommodation. They have lots of land-based and water-based activities such as a high ropes course, kayaking, archery, gorge walking, abseiling, wake boarding, waterskiing and rock climbing. This is a great choice for adventurers and families.
The traditional Irish sports in the GAA are Gaelic football and hurling (including the women’s version, camogie). These sports are incredibly unique and are a huge part of Irish culture. If you’d like to try them out, make sure to visit Experience Gaelic Games in Ballyloughane, just outside Galway city. Their experienced coaches will teach you how to play Gaelic games and get you on your feet with some fun exercises.
For people who prefer to watch than play, there are stadiums dedicated to all the most popular sports in Galway. For Gaelic football and hurling, head to Pearse Stadium in Salthill. You’ll find soccer games in Eamonn Deacy Park and rugby matches in the Galway Sportsgrounds. There’s also the Ballybrit Race Course for horse racing, and this is where thousands of people attend the Galway Races every summer.
Read more about County Galway