Galway V Limerick: Best Walking Trails in Each County

With the All Ireland Hurling Final upon us, the eyes of the nation are pointed westward. Fans, pundits and journalists, east and west of Shannon, are currently theorising who’ll bring home Liam MacCarthy.

We’ve decided to take a closer look at the two counties and showcase the best walking trails, hikes and family-friendly walks in each county.

Read on to discover, or rediscover, some of Galway and Limerick’s best walks!

Forest Walks and Trails

When it comes to picture-perfect forest walks, which county claims the top spot?

Portumna Forest Park

Portumna, Co Galway

Famously the hometown of Galway All Star and all-round hurling legend, Joe Canning, Portumna is also known for its rich history, ancient castle and gardens and its enchanting forest walk.

Portumna Forest Park is found on the western-side of the village, near Portumna Castle & Gardens, and is the ideal location for an autumnal walk. The forest trail is suitable for both solo walkers and families looking to enjoy a relaxing Sunday walk.

Within the forest you’ll find the ruins of an ancient abbey, which is now under the protection of the Office of Public Works. The woodland is mostly populated by ash, beech and silver birch trees, with isolated groupings of yew and juniper also found making it the perfect home for the park’s native fallow deer.

Visitors have a choice of four walking or hiking trails of varying levels and distances, while cyclists can choose between two mountain bike trails. There’s also a buggy-friendly route which leaves the car park and follows a designated route down to Castle Harbour and towards Portumna.

Clare Glens

Murroe, Co. Limerick

Situated on the border between Tipperary and Limerick, but named after the Banner county, it’s difficult to know where Clare Glens’ loyalty lies. However, we’re confident it’s a firm Limerick supporter being only 6km from Murroe village and 25 km from the Treaty City.

Clare Glens is a picturesque sandstone gorge, through which the River Annagh flows. The charming area boasts a number of waterfalls and is surrounded by atmospheric woodlands.

Visitors to the Glens can walk along a sign-posted loop walk, which begins at the Limerick side of the Clare Glens. Travelling from Murroe on the R506, follow the signs for Clare Glens and drive north for approximately 5 km before reaching the designated car park.

The loop trail head starts and finishes at the car park and is fully signposted from start to finish. Walkers will walk across footbridges, climb uphill and hike through forest terrain to reach the beautiful Clare Glens waterfall, before crossing another bridge and looping back to the start.

While the trail isn’t buggy-friendly, it’s definitely a fun family activity, which showcases the best of Limerick’s stunning countryside.

And The Winner Is…

It’s a tough one! Both forest trails offer adventure and something unique, but we’ll have to give this one to Portumna Forest Park as it is buggy-friendly.

Buy the maps below to see the area in accurate detail.

City Walks

Both bustling cities on the water’s edge, but which one offers its residents the best city centre walks?

Riverbank Walk

From Guinness Bridge, Limerick City to UL Boat House, Castletroy, Co. Limerick

Riverbank Walk is one of Limerick City’s most popular walks and is used as both a walkway and cycle path. The 3.25 km fully-paved route weaves its way through a conservation area along the River Shannon, before reaching the University of Limerick’s campus.

After reaching UL’s campus, walkers can continue their walk past the boathouse and enjoy a sheltered riverside walk through the campus.

The walkway is child-friendly and boasts a range of outdoor fitness equipment for young and old to enjoy. In addition, the Riverbank Walk is fully lit and so can be walked during those dark winter evenings.

Salthill Promenade

Salthill, Galway City

The Tribal City boasts a wealth of attractions for visitors to enjoy, from the city’s bustling foodie scene to its cultural heritage there’s lots to see and do. However, if you’re looking for a recommendation for something to do, why not walk the Salthill promenade?

The promenade is found on the northern inner shore of Galway Bay and is one of the most beautiful and relaxing places in the city. On a clear day, the Aran Islands and the hills of Clare can be seen across the bay.

Stretching over 3 km, the promenade attracts thousands of walkers, joggers, and even rollerbladers each day. One of Salthill’s biggest attractions is the Blackrock diving tower, which is found at the end of the promenade.

If you’re feeling brave enough, you can dive into the icy Atlantic waters from a height of 10 metres. Alternatively, you can grab a coffee and watch the fun from afar.

And The Winner Is…

Galway and the wonderful Salthill promenade! As it stands it’s Limerick 0 Galway 2, can the Treaty City bring it back to beat its western neighbour? Read on to find out.

Buy the maps below to see the area in accurate detail.

Family Friendly Trails

When the weather is on your side, there’s no better family activity then an outdoor adventure. Check out our top picks for family friendly trails in Galway and Limerick.

Curraghchase Forest Park

Kilcornan, Co. Limerick

Curraghchase Forest Park is the ideal location for a family outing. The park encompasses 300 hectares of rolling Limerick countryside and boasts a range of historical sites, including the turrets and towers of a 19th century castle built by the Earl of Limerick.

Originally home to the De Vere family, the estate has a man-made lake, which is said to be haunted by the “Lady of the Lake”, and acres of natural forestry to explore. Today, the park has over 8 km of multi-purpose waymarked trails for visitors to enjoy, some of which are suitable for wheelchairs and buggies.

Families visiting the park can also take advantage of the park’s dedicated picnic and barbeque areas, while the kids can play in one of two playgrounds.

Rinville Park

Oranmore, Co. Galway

Situated between Oranmore and Aughrim, you’ll find the picturesque Rinville Park. The western and northern parts of the forest park back onto the banks of Galway Bay. In this part of the park, you’ll find a number of boats and vessels docked and sheltered from the harsh Atlantic waves.

Rinville Park is a fantastic amenity used by families living locally and further afield. The park,its castle ruin and vacant manor were once home to some of the most prestigious Galway families. Today, the historic walled garden is fitted with a playground and barbeque area, perfect for families who want to enjoy a relaxing picnic.

Nature enthusiasts, both big and small, should keep an eye out for ravens, grey herons and otters which all live, and hunt, in the park!

And The Winner Is…

Curraghchase! Limerick’s premier forest park is a wonderful amenity for families and boasts acres of space for little ones to roam free and explore safely.

Buy the maps below to see the area in accurate detail.

Off The Beaten Track

What better way to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, by getting off the beaten track and exploring some of Ireland’s most remote walks and trails.

Connemara National Park

Letterfrack, Co. Galway

Connemara National Park covers nearly 3,000 hectares of scenic mountains, heaths, boglands, grasslands and woodlands. The jewel in the crown of the west, the park is an oasis of calm and outstanding natural beauty.

With so much to explore, it can be hard to know where to begin. Walkers and hikers should first visit the park’s visitor centre, where they can learn more about the park and carefully plan their preferred route.

Visitors have a wealth of walking and hiking trails available to them. From hiking Ben Baun to a leisurely stroll through Kylemore Abbey’s walled gardens, there’s a trail to suit everyone, no matter what fitness level.

If you’re planning a visit the park, make sure to pack appropriate footwear and weather-resistant clothes, as the Galway weather can be unpredictable at times.

Ballyhoura Trail

Ardpatrick, Co. Limerick

Ballyhoura Trail is renowned as one of the top mountain biking destinations in the country. However, it’s also a popular walking destination, thanks to its scenic views and moderate mountainous terrain.

Starting from the main trailhead, at the Ballyhoura Trail Centre, walkers can choose from three different looped trails. The Nature Trail is the shortest of the trails, being only 2 km long, and generally takes about 40 minutes to complete, making it ideal for walkers with children.

The Greenwood Trail is 4.8 km in length and includes a delightful trek through the native forest, while hikers traverse local streams. The final, and most strenuous, walk is the Blackrock Loop, which is over 11 km long and general takes 4 to 5 hours to complete.

The loops combine forest and mountain walking with some spectacular views of the surrounding, lush Golden Vale landscape.

And The Winner Is…

Ballyhoura Trail! While there’s no doubting the beauty of Connemara National Park, there’s something magical about the Ballyhoura Trail. This hidden gem in found in the depths of Limerick’s countryside is not to be missed.

Buy the maps below to see the area in accurate detail.

Final Score!

Galway 2 : 2 Limerick

It’s a draw! It looks like we’ll have to leave to the hurlers to puck the winning point.

Have we missed your favourite walk? Comment below and tell us about your favourite hike or trail!

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