With the Easter break coming to an end and the stash or hoarded sweets and Easter eggs diminishing daily, getting the whole family out for a walk might be just the trick for this weekend. Rather than heading to your usual haunts, we have a selection of walks within striking distance of the city, that you may enjoy.
Coole Park, Gort
Situated on the Galway side of Gort, Coole Park was the family estate of the Gregory family. It has a selection of walks, suitable for all abilities and ages and offers a back to nature day out for all the family.
Be sure to check out the autograph tree and sun dial in the walled garden, visit the deer in the enclosure beside the visitor centre where you can also play hunt the thimble and learn more about the history of the estate. The visitor centre also houses a café. There is free parking and toilet facilities on-site.
Diamond Hill, Connemara
Diamond Hill is situated in the Connemara National Park. It can be accessed from the national park headquarters, just after Letterfrack village. There are several trails of varying accessibility and difficulty including a Nature Trail walk of 0.5 km, a buggy-friendly 3 km-trail of Lower Diamond Hill, and the Upper Diamond Hill loop is a further 3.7 km with great views when you get to the top.
There is a fun kids playground next to the visitor centre which houses a café and toilets. Admission and parking are free.
Portumna Forest Park
Pack up a picnic, outdoor gear and kids bikes/scooters for lots of outdoor fun, including leisure and mountain cycling, the arboretum, forest park, walking trails ,and orienteering with access for all at portumna forest park situated just 1km outside the town. picnic facilities available on-site.
There are four looped trails in the park, ranging from a multi-access trail suitable for all visitors of approx 1km length, to a long multi-use trail of over 10km for walkers and cyclists. Dogs on leads are welcome. And while there, it is well worth paying a visit to Portumna Castle and walled garden, an OPW site that has reasonable rates for access.
Knockma Hill, Belclare
Situated just past the village of Belcare in East Galway, Knockma Hill offers a wealth of history including the ruins of Castlehackett and other ancient remains. In legend it is thought to be one of the possible burial places of Queen Maeve and home to Fionnbharr, King of the Connacht fairies.
There is a well established forest with a trail looping up the hill and back again, suitable for all ages and abilities. There is free parking at the base of Knockma Hill and picnic benches to stop and refuel!
Closer to home check out Terryland Forest Park, Monivea Woods, Barna Woods, Rinville Woods and the walk along the river to NUIG from Dangan. We have more information on these walks on www.mykdistime.com