The beating heart of Connaught and upcoming European Capital of Culture 2020, Galway is arguably the most atmospheric county in the Emerald Isle.
Many things spring to mind when we think of Galway – wild student nights out, traditional music acts in their thriving pubs and fantastic shopping and food. However, it is also the perfect spot for family breaks and days out, with tonnes of things to do in Galway.
There are plenty of amenities to entertain children of all ages whatever the Irish weather throws up. Here we have rounded up the top five activities for kids in the coastal county.
5. Galway Atlantaquaria
Aptly located just across from Salthill Beach, Galway Atlantaquaria is the perfect way to entertain the family for a couple of hours, especially if you are subject to the rain and wind which is a regular occurrence in any Irish coastal area.
Spread across two floors, Galway Atlantaquaria is Ireland’s largest aquarium and boasts an impressive 60 different species of fish and sea creatures. The aquarium offers a family deal of 2 adult tickets and 2 children’s tickets for €33. Your time in the centre is unlimited and patrons are free to come and go as they please.
Make sure to catch one of the daily guided tours during your visit. Highlights include the Big Fish Feeding display at 3 pm daily and the Touch Pool Tour at 5 pm every Saturday and Sunday.
Address: Galway Atlantaquaria, Toft Park, Promenade, Salt Hill
4. Pure Skill
Pure Skill is an indoor sports area which is brilliant for older children and will be sure to please the sports enthusiasts in the family. The centre is located in Knocknacarra just a stone’s throw from the city.
There are 10 different stations in the centre where family members can compete against each other in a bid to score the elusive maximum score of 100 points. Stations include soccer, hurling and the always popular baseball batting.
The facilities are kept to the highest standards and there are fully qualified members of staff on hand at all times to ensure the happiness and safety of customers.
The adult entry fee is €20 per person whilst the children’s fee is €15 per person. This fee will give you over two hours of exhilarating fun in top-notch surroundings so is certainly money well spent. Pre-booking is essential so make sure to call ahead of your visit!
Address: Pure Skill, Galway West Retail Park, Knocknacarra, Galway
3. Cappagh Road Playground
Moving on to some outdoor adventures and free family entertainment, we, of course, had to include the lovely Cappagh Road Playground. Start your adventure with a wander through the beautiful Barna Woods located just beside the playground.
After your woodland wander the kids will adore the playground with its array of attractions – think swings, slides, a climbing frame and zip wire. Pray for sunshine and pack a picnic to enjoy on the park benches and refuel your little ones after a day of fun in the large and excellently maintained Cappagh Road Playground.
Address: Cappagh Road Playground, Cappagh Road, Knocknacarra, Galway
2. Salthill Beach
Summer is in full swing so grab your towels, swimsuits, buckets and spades and hit Galway’s most famous beach with all the family! Salthill Beach is wildly popular amongst locals and tourists alike when the sun is blazing in the sky and it is simple to see why.
The beach has been awarded a blue flag and there are lifeguards on duty daily from the middle of May until September so there is really no excuse to brave the freezing Atlantic waters! If swimming is not your thing there are few things more pleasurable in life than a carefree stroll along the promenade whilst breathing in the salty tang of sea water.
There is a range of facilities just across from the beach including shops, restaurants and amusements once the family have finally tired of sandcastle building and paddling along the shoreline. Before you leave visit a local gift shop and pick up a traditional stick of rock – no trip to Galway is complete without a token stick of rock to show for it!
Address: Salthill Beach, Salthill, Co. Galway
1. Day Trip to Inis Mor
The largest of Galway’s three Aran Island, a trip to the breathtaking Inis Mor is a truly unforgettable day for the whole family.
To get there take a ferry from the port at Rossaveal – tickets are approximately €25 return for adults and €15 for children. The 40-minute ferry ride across the sea is a fantastic experience in itself and really gets kids excited for the oncoming day of adventures. Once you get there you have several options on how to explore the island. There are minibus tours and the traditional pony and trap on offer.
However, if your children are confident cyclists the very best way to drink in the breathtaking island is by bike. Bikes can be rented for the whole day for just €20 and this leaves you completely free to explore the island at your own pace.
There are beaches with stretches of white sand to stop and relax at, and even points designated for sea lion watching! There are a handful of shops and restaurants along the island to replenish your energy after a day of cycling along the winding rural roads. A trip to Inis Mor should be on every family’s bucket list and we guarantee you will leave the island with a smile on your face and itching to return.
Address: Inis Mor, Galway