Subscriber OnlyYour Fitness

Co Galway: one walk, one run, one hike, one swim, one cycle, one park and one outdoor gym

Your essential, outdoor, family-friendly guide to Co Galway

When the weather is good, there is so much to do outdoors in Ireland – solo, or with family or friends. Here are seven activities - with locations, descriptions, tips and some maps for a general guide.

Below you can read John O'Dwyer's pick for a great walking path, Conor O'Keeffe on a running route, Rozanna Purcell recommends a hiking trail, Mary McCarthy on an outdoor swimming location, Ian O'Riordan picks a cycle trip, Sylvia Thompson on a family-friendly park and Fiona Alston selects a popular outdoor gym.

And remember, whatever you do and wherever you go, please be safe. And enjoy.

Name 7 Woods Walk
Distance 5km
Approximate duration 1.5 hours.
Difficulty Easy
Starting point Google Maps Coole Park Visitor Centre (grid reference M 439 049)
Amenities Parking and restaurant
Short but evocative circuit following walker-friendly terrain through the woods and by the lake made famous by the WB Yeats poem The Wild Swans at Coole.


Name: Portumna Forest Park – Rinmaher Trail
Length: 10km
Elevation: 10m
Route type: Loop
Footwear: Road or Trail Runners.
Background: The name Portumna derives from the Irish Port Omna, meaning the landing place of the oak tree. Portumna Forest Park was acquired in 1948 and covers almost 450 hectares. It was formerly owned by the Clanrickarde family. There is an old abbey, now under the care of the Office of Public Works (OPW), within the Park which dates back to the 15th century. The castle nearby, on which considerable restoration work has been carried out by the OPW, dates back to the 17th century and was the seat of the Earl of Clanrickarde.

Scattered throughout the coniferous woodland there are occasional patches of semi-natural woodland which tend to be dominated by ash and beech with silver birch frequent along the lake shore. A notable feature of the park is the presence of occasional individuals of Yew and Juniper in open woodland along the lake shore. Perhaps the most noteworthy animal species of the park is the red squirrel, which is frequently encountered in woodland areas. There is a large population of Fallow deer in the park and other animal species include fox and badger. A recent visitor is the white-tailed sea eagle that has nested and raised chicks on an island close to the forest park.

Route Information: This loop is mainly on single track narrow trails and is perfect for those looking for a good route to do their 10km runs. It begins along a two-way section of trail and covers much of the park. There are good views along the lakeshore near Rinmaher Point south towards Terryglass and east towards Portumna Bridge. Signal signs provide information about local features of fauna and flora, including red squirrel and fallow deer. Although there are multiple trails available to each runner, I feel the Rinmaher Trail offers great bang for your buck. A lovely flat looped route that us Waymarked from start to finish with amazing forest and coastal scenes to take in along the way. (Aided by: Visit Portumna)

Hike name Diamond Hill
Distance 7.2km
Elevation gain 400m
Approximate duration 2-2.5 hour
Difficulty Intermediate
Route type Loop
Starting point See AllTrails Diamond Hill Loop
Amenities Parking, toilets, cafe, information desk
Dog-friendly? Yes
Tips If you head off really early you'll have the summit to yourself and might even catch the mountain goats waking up

Name: Coral strand (Trá an Dóilin)
Location: Google Map: Carraroe
Brief description:
Small beach. The amazing coral sand is actually detached red calcified seaweed
Amenities: Toilets
Lifeguard: Summer
Water quality: Blue Flag beach
Tips: Popular swimming spot as even at low tide there is enough depth to swim. Nice little coves to shelter and get changed.

Name: The Connemarathon Loop
Start location: Lough Inagh
Route: My first experience of this route was on foot, running the Connemara International Marathon, also known as the Connemarathon, and it makes for a great ride too, from Lough Inagh up towards Killary Harbour and into Leenaun, the halfway point before the gentle climb towards Maam Cross.
Distance: 42km, or 26.2 miles
Time: 2-3 hours
Highlights: Those perfectly unique views approaching Killary Harbour.
Look out for: The possibly familiar setting for The Field on arrival into Leenaun.
Tips: Clifden serves the ideal overnight stay or start before riding out towards Lough Inagh and back again from Maam Cross.

Park name: Rinville Park, Oranmore
Amenities: Woodland trails, a small lake and big meadows in a lovely location overlooking southern Galway Bay. Also there is a children's playground and adult gym equipment.
Special features: A great place to spot wildlife such as otters or herons if you are lucky.
Access: Car park. Google Map "Rinville Park".
Dogs: Yes but must be kept on leads.
Tip: Check weather forecast in advance and bring raingear.

Name: Corribdale Park, Oughterard
Equipment: Fitness rider, walker, shoulder extension, leg press, body twist, dip bars, chest press, lat pull-down, hand cycle (wheelchair), arm stretch (wheelchair).
Location: Google Maps
Information: Beside the GAA club. Plenty of walking and running trails for a warm-up or cool-down.

Get Active Series
- 32 great walking routes in Ireland - one in each county
- 32 great hikes in Ireland
- 32 great running routes
- 32 great outdoor swim locations
- 32 great cycling routes
- 32 great parks
- 32 great outdoor gyms