Salthill Leisure Walk (Self Guided), Galway

If you fancy a quality break by the sea, while in Galway, you don't need to go far. The small seaside spot called Salthill is only 3km away from the downtown shops, clubs and pubs, and you can get here on foot easily.

Speaking of pubs, there's no shortage of them in Salthill either. In fact, one of the local waterholes – O'Connors – bills itself as the first singing pub in Ireland. While the veracity of its claim to be the country’s first singing pub is debatable, it can certainly win the title of the most decorated one.

Still, Salthill has many other attractions too, which draw tourists of all ages year round. Beach-goers from all over Ireland and beyond flock here to soak up the experience unique to this wonderful place. Indeed, when the sun comes out, this popular resort really comes into its own. Here are some of its notable sites worth checking out:

Galway Atlantaquaria – Ireland’s largest native species aquarium, ideally located along the Salthill Promenade. The latter, known locally as the Prom, stretches for about 3km, all the way from the Claddagh Quay to the famous Blackrock diving tower, overlooking the Bay with the nearby city harbor and the Aran Islands – ideal for a stroll or refreshing run along the seafront.

Another popular attraction, also right on the Promenade, is Leisureland. This giant leisure center features a 25-metre, 6-lane deck level pool with waterslide, an Ice skating rink during Christmas season, plus a host of children's entertainment facilities, especially useful when the weather acts the spoilsport.

Salthill Beaches – a series of small sandy or pebbled stretches, separated by rocky outcrops, are a cute place for walking, swimming and relaxing.

If you want to savor the vibrant and energetic atmosphere of the expanding “City of the Tribes”' suburb on the northern shore of Galway Bay, take this self-guided walking tour for a perfect day of recreation!
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Salthill Leisure Walk Map

Guide Name: Salthill Leisure Walk
Guide Location: Ireland » Galway (See other walking tours in Galway)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 Km or 0.9 Miles
Author: anna
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Galway Atlantaquaria
  • Micil Distillery
  • Christ the King Church
  • O'Connors Pub
  • Salthill Promenade
  • Leisureland
  • Salthill Beaches
  • Quincentennial Park
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Galway Atlantaquaria

1) Galway Atlantaquaria

The Galway Atlantaquaria was established in 1999. It is an aquarium with a focus on species from Ireland's native saltwater and freshwater environments. The accredited zoo is part of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria.

The exhibits occupy two floors that cover the Atlantic Ocean, Ireland's Wild Rivers and Tranquil Lakes. Native species at the Galway Atlantaquaria include octopus, jellyfish, lobster, seahorse, shark, cuttlefish, sea anemone, starfish and many more. The aquarium also displays a 60-foot fin whale skeleton and a Hy-Brasil boat.

One of the most famous exhibits of Galway Atlantaquaria is the Splash Tank. This tank recreates the activity and climate of Ireland's west coast. Saltwater crashes through the splash tank every 45 seconds. The aquarium's European bass live in this tank.

The aquarium is located on the Seapoint Promenade that looks over Galway Bay and the North Atlantic Ocean. It is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 AM to 5 PM and on weekends from 10 AM to 6 PM. Galway Atlantaquaria is closed on Monday and Tuesday for aquarium maintenance.
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Micil Distillery

2) Micil Distillery

Micil Distillery is a liquor distillery in Salthill Village. The distillery makes whiskeys and poitins from scratch with no automation. The process is carried out using family recipes that have been passed down over the years. All liquors are sourced from grains and herbs gathered from near Galway.

The distillery was named after Micil Mac Chearra, an ancestor of the current owners. Chearra illegally distilled poitin in 1848. It was Chearra who crafted the recipes that are in use at the Micil Distillery to this day.

Micil Distillery offers tours and tastings that are available by appointment. The distillery is open from Tuesday through Saturday. A full tour is just over an hour long. Each tour includes a tasting experience that allows guests to try the handcrafted liquors. Visitors can also take masterclasses in learning how to create cocktails from gin and poitin.

The distillery is located off of Upper Salthill Road near Galway Bay. It is only steps away from some of the most interesting places in Galway.
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Christ the King Church

3) Christ the King Church

Christ the King Church is a church in Salthill Village. Also referred to as Salthill Church, the church's history began in 1934. At that time, residents of the Salthill area gathered to raise funds to build a church for their 400 residents. Collection boxes in hotels and lodging districts helped to pay for the construction.

The site was donated by the Christian Brothers. The foundation stone was laid on June 16, 1935. Construction was carried out by Owen Larkin from a plan by W.H. Byrne who designed the church in the Lombardic Romanesque style.

The church has a 95-foot square tower with scalloped tiles. It also has a mosaic of Christ the King above the door. This is fitting as the church was dedicated to Christ the King. On the inside, the church has significant marble work, three altars, a crucifix and a sculpture of the Blessed Virgin. The first mass was celebrated in the church in 1936.

Visitors are welcome to attend mass Monday through Saturday at 10 AM. The church also holds mass on Sundays at 9:30 AM, 11 AM and 12:30 PM. Vigil is held on Saturday at 5:30 PM.
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O'Connors Pub

4) O'Connors Pub

O'Connor's Pub is a lively pub in Salthill. Though the pub was established in 1845, the current pub was opened in 1942 by Thomas O'Connor. The O'Connors have remained in ownership of the pub for three generations.

The pub bills itself as a "real Irish pub" stating that they neither serve food nor have a television on the premises. O'Connor's Pub does offer a wide variety of drinks including bottled beer, gin, vodka, whiskey, shots, wine and cocktails. The pub boasts a large number of beers on tap such as Guinness, Bluemoon, Heineken, Galway Hooker IPA, Orchard Thieves Cider and many more.

O'Connor's Pub is known for lively music with plenty of singalongs. It is also known as being the spot where Ed Sheeran recorded "Galway Girl" in 2018. Other famous guests to the pub include musician Sharon Shannon, actor Chris O'Donnell, playwright Martin McDonagh and footballer Martin Keown.
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Salthill Promenade

5) Salthill Promenade (must see)

Salthill Promenade is arguably one of the most famous spaces in Galway. The promenade runs along the coastline of Galway Bay for about two miles. It stretches from the Claddagh Quay to the Blackrock diving board. At any given time, one will see locals and visitors alike walking along the Salthill Prom.

There are a large number of attractions on the Salthill Promenade. One of these is Salthill Beach. It is comprised of several other small beaches that are separated by outcroppings of rock. Beach-goers can swim, go for a walk or just relax on the rocks and pebbles.

Another feature along the Salthill Promenade is the Circle of Life National Organ Donor Commemorative Garden. This space is a stone-sculpted national garden that was built in honor of organ donors. It is part of Quincentennial Park.

Other spots along the Salthill Promenade are Curry's Fun Park, Leisureland, the Salthill Public Park and the Galway Atlantaquaria. The Midway Point of the Wild Atlantic Way is a popular place for taking photos. A tradition that cannot be forgotten is to kick the wall at the end of the walk located next to the Blackrock diving board.

Visitors will find restaurants and shopping opportunities along with the regular tourist attractions near the promenade. However, the most beloved part of the walk is not shopping or dining but sight-seeing. Salthill Promenade offers excellent views of the hills of Burren across the bay. It is also an excellent place to watch sunsets from one of the many comfortable benches places along the walk.
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Leisureland

6) Leisureland

Leisureland is a recreational facility located directly off of the Salthill Promenade. The facility, which opened in 1973, includes three pools, a water slide, an obstacle course and a fully equipped gymnasium. Visitors will also enjoy Leisureland's nine-hole golf course that offers a lovely view of the Salthill Promenade.

Leisureland also has an events center that is used for exhibits, conferences and concerts. Lucky tourists who make their way to Leisureland during a special event might see a musician, a stand-up comedian or a sporting event at the theatre.

In addition to its indoor activities and golf course, Leisureland opened an amusement park in 2020. Curry's Fun Fair features carnival rides like ferris wheels, swings, tilt-a-whirls, bumper cars and more. There are ample rides specifically for young children who enjoy a thrill with none of the risk. The amusement park is open from spring through fall. It is only open on weekends.
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Salthill Beaches

7) Salthill Beaches (must see)

Visitors to Galway often refer to the series of beaches along Galway Bay as Salthill Beach. These beaches are actually several different ones that are separated by large outcropping of rock. Some beaches are sandy while others are rocky. Each has its own unique features and reasons to visit.

Most of the beaches are open for swimming during summer months. The water of Galway Bay remains fairly calm, which makes swimming a safe choice. Lifeguards are on duty at all beaches in the summer months from 11 AM to 7 PM.

The beaches, located steps away from the Salthill Promenade, offer benches, grassy areas, climbing rocks and public toilets. Ladies Beach has a hut that sells refreshments like coffee and ice cream. Ladies Beach is now the largest of all of the beaches. It is so-named because the nearby beach, Blackrock, only allowed men through the mid-20th century.

Blackrock Beach offers the famous diving tower. Brave divers use the 30-foot platform to splash into the waters of the Atlantic. The diving tower was put in place in the 1950s. However, it is reported that some type of diving board has been in this spot since the 1880s.
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Quincentennial Park

8) Quincentennial Park

Quincentennial Park is a public park directly accessible from the Salthill Promenade. The park is a beautiful green space with a walking path, an ornamental pond and many shade trees. The most well-known portion of Quincentennial Park is the Circle of Life, a stone garden that honors organ donors.

The garden and the park itself were designed to combine Ireland's history and heritage through representational stone work. The goal of the park, created by Strange Boat Donor Foundation and the Galway City Council, was to provide a peaceful spot that focuses on healing. The circle of stones represents the cycle of nature. The Circle of Life Garden opened in May 2014.

The park also features a heritage walk. This walkway features heritage stones from each of the five continents featured throughout the design of the park and its gardens. The purpose of the heritage walk is to convey a sense of inclusion to all visitors.

Quincentennial Park is open 24 hours.

Walking Tours in Galway, Ireland

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Galway is located on the River Corrib between Lough Corrib and Galway Bay. It was in the old Kingdom of Connacht. Galway grew from a settlement around a fortification established by the King of Connacht in 1124.

In 1484 a Charter of Mayoralty was granted to the first mayor of Galway, Peirce Lynch, by Richard III of England. Lynch was one of the "Tribes of Galway" that ruled the town...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles