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10 Breathtaking Day Trips from Galway, Ireland

Galway is a fantastic city to visit, but you’ll probably find yourself wanting to get out of the city and take a day trip around Ireland’s wild west coast. You won’t want to miss out on any of these breathtaking day trips from Galway!

After you’ve experienced all of Galway, you’ll definitely want to see the rest of the Emerald Isle. Since Ireland is a small country, it’s really easy to take a day trip to a ton of fun places. You’ll be surprised how much of Ireland you’re able to see! You may even want to combine some of your day trips from Galway, if you have enough time, just to make sure you can see it all.

If you’re looking for guided day tours, I recommend checking out Viator’s day tours from Galway.

Blarney Castle Grounds, Blarney, Ireland

Best Day Trips from Galway

Drive the Stunning Dingle Peninsula

Dingle, Ireland

Dingle Peninsula is full of some of the most stunning scenery in the west of Ireland. There’s so much I recommend seeing that you might even consider making this more than a day trip. The only problem you may run into is all the rainfall this area gets makes some sights hard to see. Here’s hoping for some great weather!

As you drive the winding coastal roads of the Dingle Peninsula, you’ll come across beehive huts, famine cottages, and rolling green hills. Be sure to stop and take a look at the beehive huts, the Kilmalkedar medieval Christian site, and the Gallarus Oratory, the only perfectly remaining example of this type of chapel.

There are tons of beaches to stop at too, like Coumeenoole Beach and Inch Beach.

The Blasket Centre is a particular favorite of mine, and if you luck out with the weather, you’ll be able to see across the Sound to the Great Blasket Island’s imposing hill.

You can find plenty to do in Dingle Town itself. You can enjoy the colorful town, pop into a pub for food and a drink, explore the shops, and go out on a boat tour to see Fungie the dolphin, Dingle’s most famous resident.

Find Dingle day tours on Viator

Be Amazed by the Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland

These cliffs high above the sea are one of the most famous tourist attraction in Ireland; it’s definitely one of the most popular day trips from Galway.

More than a million visitors come to the Cliffs of Moher each year, so you can expect them to be crowded, especially during the summer months. When the weather is overcast and rainy, the cliffs can be a little underwhelming, but when the weather is clear and sunny, oh my gosh are they beautiful!

Ranging 702 feet over the Atlantic Ocean, the Cliffs of Moher offer a view out to the Aran Islands in Galway Bay, and the Dingle Peninsula in Kerry.

Since the Cliffs of Moher are part of the Burren region, you should definitely expand your day trip to include more sights of the Burren, if you’re able.

Find Cliffs of Moher day tours on Viator

Visit the Rocky Region of the Burren

Poulnabrone Dolmen, the Burren, County Clare, Ireland

Burren, from the Irish Boireann, means “great rock”, and that’s exactly what you’ll find in the Burren. This area has a moon-like rocky landscape and a variety of flourishing plants.

Your first stop in the Burren should be the Aillwee Cave — they’re bear caves! You can take a 45 minute tour of the cave system and you can learn about the ancient bear bones found here (over 10,400 years old!).

Also in the Burren is Poulnabrone Dolmen, a portal tomb that is the oldest dated megalithic monument in Ireland. As you leave the Burren, you’ll pass Leamaneh Castle, the town of Lisdonvarna, famous for their Matchmaking Festival, and the village of Doolin, the traditional music capital of Ireland.

Find Burren day tours on Viator

Discover the Beautiful Sights of Connemara

Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, Ireland

Connemara is a breathtaking region that is strongly associated with traditional Irish culture. Your day trip from Galway to the sights of Connemara will take you through the Irish-speaking town of An Spidéal, past the Maamturk mountains and the Twelve Bens, and into Connemara National Park.

Kylemore Abbey is one of the main highlights of the Connemara region. You can tour the ground floor of this fairy tale castle; the rest of the Abbey is a private residence for the nuns that look after it. On the castle grounds, you can explore the beautiful Gothic church and the astounding walled gardens.

Depending on the tour you take, or if you are driving yourself, you can stop at Killary Fjord, Ireland’s only fjord as well as the town of Cong where the movie The Quiet Man was filmed. In Cong, you can even stand in two counties at once.

Find Connemara day tours on Viator

Enjoy a Day on the Aran Islands

Aran Islands, Ireland

The Aran Islands lay at the mouth of Galway Bay, and you’ll have to ferry there for your day trip. The islands are known for their many ruins and sacred sites, both Celtic and Christian. The islands are a Gaeltacht, or Irish-speaking community, but don’t worry, they speak English too.

I can only speak from personal experience of Inis Mór, the biggest of the islands, but the smaller islands have their own charm and sites to see.

Just past the ferry landing, I rented a bike and rode up to Dún Aonghasa, the best-known of the islands’ prehistoric stone forts, which dates back to 1100 BC. The fort is semi-circular and backs right up to the edge of the cliff, so you can carefully look over the side to steep drop to the Atlantic Ocean below.

Find Aran Island day tours on Viator

Visit the Coastal Town of Sligo

Yeats Mural, Sligo, Ireland

The busy fishing of Sligo on the northwest coast of Ireland is probably most known for its association with the poet W.B. Yeats; at least it is for literature travel nerds like me!

The Sligo Abbey is a main attraction. A fire destroyed the Abbey in the 1400s and then wars ravaged it in later years, so today you can only explore the ruins. The Abbey appears in two short stories by Yeats. The Yeats Memorial Building features an exhibit on Yeats’ life as well as a research library. And all around town, you can find fun Yeats-inspired art like a funky W.B. Yeats statue and a giant mural of the handsome poet.

For the non-literary travelers, you can explore the free Sligo County Museum, which has exhibits on the history of County Sligo, including 100-year-old bog butter. And I suggest checking out the Model, a free contemporary arts museum for visual and performance arts.

Find Sligo day tours on Viator

Kiss the Stone at Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle, Blarney, Ireland

Every year, millions of visitors come to Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone. The stone is said to give the gift of eloquence, and so for over 200 years, people have been bending over backwards (literally) to kiss it.

While the castle and the stone are the main attractions at Blarney Castle, the grounds also encompass 60 acres of sprawling parklands. There’s a lot to discover here, from the poison gardens to the Scottish baronial Blarney House to a series of escape tunnels.

You really could spend all day exploring Blarney Castle and it extensive grounds; but if you wanted to limit your time here and see more on your day trip, I’d recommend adding more castles into the mix — like Blackrock Castle, which is nearby in Cork.

Find Blarney Castle day tours on Viator

See the Stars at Blackrock Castle

Blackrock Castle, Cork, Ireland

Once used to protect the city of Cork from pirates, Blackrock Castle now is an observatory and science museum.

This beautiful fortress has a round tower built to withstand cannon fire, and now that same tower holds a telescope enclosure. The Cork Institute of Technology uses Blackrock Castle Observatory for astronomical research and as an interactive science exhibition center.

When you visit, you can learn about the castle’s defensive history as well as recent discoveries in outer space.

Find Cork day tours on Viator

Go Horseback Riding in Poulnaclough

Trekking in Poulnaclough, Ireland

The MoyCullen Riding Centre in Poulnaclough is just a 20 minute drive from Galway. This family-run riding center offers one and two hour treks along bog roads and through mountains for some amazing scenery. You can also take a beach ride along Rusheen Bay off Galway Bay.

I did a short hour trek with a horse named Twix. We traveled past a field of windmills, through the bogs, and up a hill where we could see Lough Corrib and the Burren. We had a quick photo opp, then we trotted our way back to the stables.

Find Galway horseback riding day tours on Viator

Visit the Historic Bunratty Castle

Bunratty Castle, Bunratty, Ireland

The gorgeously restored Bunratty Castle is filled with fine medieval furniture and thousands of years of Irish history.

The castle has a long history filled with the most prominent figures in Irish and English history. What stands now is the fourth reconstruction, built around 1425. After changing hands several times, the castle fell into disrepair. Luckily, in 1956 the 7th Viscount Gort and the Office of Public Works bought and restored the castle, saving it from ruin, and turned it into the tourist attraction it is today.

You can take a guided tour of all the rooms in this 15th century castle. They have excellent tour guides who are really passionate about the castle’s history. You are also free to explore the castle folk park where you’ll find reconstructions of 19th century Irish buildings, a petting zoo, a fairy trail, a walled garden, and more.

Find Bunratty Castle day tours on Viator

Read next: 6 Amazing Day Trips from Dublin, Ireland

Where to Stay in Galway

Find the perfect place to rest your head on your visit to Galway, from the top rated accommodations to unique stays you can’t get anywhere else.

More Things to Do in Galway

Explore all that Galway has to offer! Check out these posts for more Galway itineraries.

Ready to visit Galway, Ireland? Plan your trip with these tips.

  • Book your flight: Find the cheapest flights using Skyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
  • Find Accommodation: You can find top hotels in Galway using
  • Book a day trip: Find an amazing day tours that are worth your time on Viator.
  • Get a Guide Book: Check out the guide books from Fodor’sLonely Planet, or Rick Steves for in depth info about traveling to Ireland.



10 Breathtaking Day Trips from Galway, Ireland

What are your favorite day trips from Galway? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. Ireland is a huge bucket list place of mine and you’ve given me some great ideas! I’ll definitely have to check out Galway 🙂

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