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East Galway Bucket List: 14 Things Everyone Needs To Do In This Gorgeous Part Of The Country

By Brian Dillon

September 12, 2019 at 11:39am

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It’s no secret that Galway is one of the most stunning parts of the country. Beautiful nature and plenty of adventure are probably the first things that pop into your mind when you think about the place.

We’re looking at a lesser-known part of the glorious county. Why? Well, right now we're on a bit of a walking buzz. Recently we wrote about the Rinmaher Walking Trail in Portumna and told you exactly why you should pay it a visit. With its amazing scenic views, forest and lakeside walks and sixteen different species of wild fauna, it’s a super rewarding walk through the woods in Portumna Forest Park.

Situated right beside the River Shannon in South-East Galway, there are just so many things to do, sights to see, meals to eat and pints to drink in this neck of the woods.

Yes, we're talking about East Galway because we're trying to lure you to the Rinmaher Walking Trail for a short break.

But once you take our bait, we're pretty sure you won't need much more convincing...

Go glamping

Have you ever wanted to feel closer to nature, but you don't really fancy going full-on camping? Glamping is your answer.

Located in the heart of Portumna, Podumna offers visitors the option to stay in pods, huts and cabins during their few days in the area.

It's all the craic that comes with camping, just minus the poles and tent pegs.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance to the Rinmaher Walking Trail: 5 minutes

Go for a relaxing dip in Lough Derg

There are few things that will clear your head and re-energise you more than a dip in the waters of Ireland's Hidden Heartlands. It’s like the ripples literally wash away the stress.

Lough Derg Water Recreation Park is a fantastic swimming spot complete with well-kept lawns, seats and picnic tables, as well as a shallower area for small children to swim in.

When swimming in freshwater, you should always stay within your depth and beware of the potential of cold-water shock. Never swim in strong currents.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance to the Rinmaher Walking Trail: 30 minutes

Visit Athenry Heritage Centre

The town of Athenry has a rich medieval history and visitors head to Athenry Heritage Centre to learn all about it on a guided tour.

If you’re there, you may as well go all out and take part in the ‘medieval experience’, where you can dress up in medieval costumes and live like an ancient king or queen. You can also channel your inner Robin Hood by having a go at archery.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance to the Rinmaher Walking Trail: 45 minutes

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Athenry

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Go horse riding at Dartfield Equestrian Centre

Dartfield offers horse riding lessons to everyone from beginners to more seasoned riders. Located on the old Dublin to Galway Road near Loughrea, it's easily accessible from Portumna.

Set in 350 acres of parkland, visitors are also welcome to explore their walking trails and observe the farm animals, as well as have a try at the other activities available like archery, clay pigeon shooting and 4x4 off-road driving.

Darfield's indoor exhibit includes old farming machinery, carriages and an equine veterinary gallery.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance to the Rinmaher Walking Trail: 30 minutes

Browse through Portumna Country Market

Taking place every Friday from 8.30am to 12.30pm, Portumna Country Market is a great way to discover what this area has to offer in terms of food and other goods.

It takes place in Portumna Town Hall and visitors can expect to find all sorts of wholesome goodness like freshly baked cakes and bread, herbs and spices, jams and jellies, free-range eggs and handmade crafts.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance to the Rinmaher Walking Trail: 5 minutes

galway market image

Admire the beauty of Portumna Castle & Gardens

The ground floor of the castle is open to the public and houses an exhibition on the history of the building including its restoration and the De Burgo family, who built the house in the early 17th century.

You can take a tour of the castle and see the interior, gardens and kitchen, and there is also a café where you can stop off for tea, coffee and treats during your visit.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance to the Rinmaher Walking Trail: 5 minutes

Step back in time at Finnerty’s Mill Museum

This mill has been run by the same family for generations.

The museum holds several artefacts, such as the water-powered corn mill, and allows visitors to see the inner workings of an old traditional Irish mill.

Its rural location really adds to the feeling of travelling through history and seeing how people worked in a bygone era.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance to the Rinmaher Walking Trail: 20 minutes

Eat in one of Portumna’s finest restaurant

La Bouche restaurant prides itself on being Portumna's premium dining experience at a reasonable price.

This gastropub serves almost everything, including burgers, salads, seafood, steaks and vegan or vegetarian options so there's something for everyone.

Owned by David & Siobhan Avrillier-Grange, the service here is reflective of the overall feel of Portumna: warm and welcoming.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance to the Rinmaher Walking Trail: 5 minutes

Visit the chilling Irish Workhouse Centre

The workhouse in Portumna was operated for about 80 years from the early 1840s to the early 1920s. It housed families who couldn't afford to support themselves and gave them food and accommodation in return for gruelling labour.

Visitors are welcome to check out the workhouse museum and learn all about life in an Irish workhouse.

The centre is open daily from 9.30am to 5pm.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance to the Rinmaher Walking Trail: 5 minutes

Visit Coole-Garryland Nature Reserve

This nature reserve and visitor facility is jam-packed full of activities and things to discover.

You could spend hours exploring the lakes and woodlands of the area, observing the wildlife and learning about the history of the place. In the visitor centre, check out the multimedia exhibition looking at life at Coole 100 years ago and its wildlife.

The visitor centre is open daily during the summer months, with its tearooms open from 10.30am to 5pm. The gates of the nature reserve open at 8am and close at 7.30pm.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance to the Rinmaher Walking Trail: 45 minutes

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Irish Skies🌤️

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Head for a pint in Ballinasloe

Ballinasloe is known for its wide range of traditional Irish pubs and modern chic bars.

Some of the town's best-loved pubs include An Táin, Brewery Lane and Gullane’s Bar, while a more modern and contemporary option would be Canal Bar. Ballinasloe is the perfect town if you're in the mood to try a variety of bars in one night.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance to the Rinmaher Walking Trail: 35 minutes

Learn about the Ireland of yesterday at Kiltartan Gregory Museum

Originally built as a national school in 1892, Kiltartan Gregory Museum now serves as a museum of artefacts associated with Lady Augusta Gregory of Coole Park and displays items of interest from the Celtic Revival Period.

Located just 45 minutes away from Portumna, the school was closed in 1960 and was acquired by the local branch of the Irish Farmers' Association. Restorations began in 1960, and the museum was opened by former President Mary Robinson in 1996.

The museum includes an early 20th-century classroom, featuring a life-size school teacher, old furnishings and books and stationery from the time.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance to the Rinmaher Walking Trail: 45 minutes

Discover Dunguaire Castle

Ireland has many spectacular castles and Dunguaire should not be overlooked.

Dunguaire Castle is located at the picturesque shores of Galway Bay near Kinvara and dates back to the 1500s.

From mid-April until mid-August every year, the castle hosts banquets where guests can enjoy stunning four-course meals and fine wines while being entertained with music, stories and poetry.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance to the Rinmaher Walking Trail: 55 minutes

For spectacular sights, invigorating sensations and unforgettable experiences, make your next short break a walking break in Ireland's Hidden Heartland. Walking makes your break.

To find out more, check out www.irelandshiddenheartlands.com.

For more information or to plan your walking break in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, visit the Tales and Trails hub here.

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